Training cats may not be as popular a concept as training dogs. Cats are highly independent. Teaching them to do tricks requires a lot more patience and persistence from its owners.
However, this is not to say that the only purpose for training felines is to get them to fetch a ball. Training kittens is also a way to instill discipline. Through proper training, you can have a more well-behaved cat, and not just when you are around.
Kittens and cats don’t have the same motivations as canines. However, many of the methods used in training both species of animals are similar to each other. Here are some of the essential tools you will need to start your cat’s training.
As in dog training, punishments are not effective when applied to cats. Reprimanding your cat or doing something like spraying water won’t deter unwanted behaviour. Instead, what these do is to make your pets fear you whenever you carry a spray bottle, but once the source of fear is gone (you or the water bottle), they will go back to their old tricks.
A better alternative is to reinforce good behaviour through the use of rewards. The use of proper tools, combined with food or toys, is the recommended method by experts.
Cats love to scratch furniture. To deter cats from scratching on your sofa or wooden furniture, bring your cat to a space or area where you want it to scratch. Give your cat a treat or favourite toy whenever it manages to test its claws on the approved scratching area.
When it comes to training, food and treats are essential components in reinforcing good behaviour in your pets, not just cats. However, it is important to note that cats tend to be more picky over their food and treats. Use a cat food delivery service to order samples or small quantities of kibbles or meaty treats to see which ones your pet enjoys to eat, and to get their regular supply of cat food delivered to your home.
Playthings can also be used as a reward and as a way to keep the training fun and enjoyable for your cat. Plus, you can use toys to keep your pet focused, especially during a visit to the vet.
Similar to the process of picking food, you may need to try different types of cat toys and accessories. By presenting several types, you can see which ones your cat responds to best.
Some of the more popular types used in training include the wand and feather. You can use these types of toys to grab their attention and point them towards a specific direction or away from an object.
It is important to note that cats don’t respond to verbal praise or even petting, as dogs do. In place of petting, what you can do is play with your cat or give it a belly rub. Cats respond to games better than petting, which may be good to know during your training attempts.
A clicker is typically used to denote or reinforce good behaviour. Treats are given after a click. Once the cat understands and remembers the routine, it will associate the clicking sound with a treat.
When selecting a clicker, it is crucial to test the volume of the clicking sound. Box types are notoriously loud and may scare your cats. To slightly muffle the noise during the training process, you can wrap the clicker in a thin piece of fabric or place it inside your pocket when you press.
Training your cat is important. At some point, your pet will need to socialize and be around other felines or people, such as your neighbors, relatives, or friends, and these encounters can become more pleasant and enjoyable when a cat is on its best behaviour.
Your cat will need to get used to being around strangers as well as you may not always be around. If you are working in Dubai, for instance, and also need to travel frequently, you may need to leave your cat at a pet boarding center or with a sitter. Training makes it easy for your cat to get along well with other people and other cats.
By starting the training while they are young, you won’t feel worried about your cats destroying your home while you are away. You won’t be anxious about leaving your pets in the care of others.
So keep these tools in mind if you have a new cat or are raising kittens. You will need to start planning your training routine soon enough.
Farah Al-Khojai is the Managing Partner of Pet’s Delight. A passionate entrepreneur, Farah holds a Bsc in Government from the London School of Economics. She is always on the lookout for new opportunities to develop and grow the pet and equestrian retail and wholesale market in the UAE and beyond, and is proud to be at the helm of the first and the largest pet care provider in the market representing world-class brands including Orijen, Applaws, Hunter, Savic, Flamingo, Ruffwear and Rogz.