At the risk of sounding like a crazy cat woman, I love cats. Most cats are cute, funny, and loving companions. Not all, but most. The two that my husband and I share our home with are littermates we adopted from a local veterinary clinic. I have to say we got lucky, both Trig and Cleo are beautiful, intelligent and healthy animals.
When we first got the cats we lived in a one room, loft apartment. The only separate room in the apartment was the small restroom. This created an issue for keeping two rambunctious kittens out of dangerous and messy situations. Below are some suggestions I gained from our time in that tiny apartment.
Cat’s CAN be trained.
Most people assume that only dogs (or show animals) are easily trained. I disagree. Cats definitely aren’t as obedient as dogs but they definitely can learn basic commands. The average house cat isn’t going to have any interest in playing fetch or rolling over but they can learn “no” and “stay”.
What cats can learn.
My cats know two basic commands. The first one they learned was “Ehh” which we use as “No”. Since my husband and I don’t have kids yet I wanted to make sure the animals were trained to respond to different words than I would use for my kids. If the cat jumped up where they didn’t belong they heard “Ehh!” If they didn’t respond they got squirted with one of these:
This is your best tool for training a cat. I don’t believe in hitting animals for discipline. One hard squirt with this and the cat is off the table/counter/furniture and will think twice before getting back up. If they do get back up, squirt them again until they pick up the concept. Be consistent. If you see them do something they aren’t supposed to, discipline them. When the cat obeys, praise them. Our cats love to have their bellies rubbed so if they obey when I tell them to get down they get their bellies scratched.
You can use this same praise (and treats as well) to train a cat to come when you call. Pick one phrase to use consistently. If your cat has a nickname that you use often you might want to train them to come when you use that nickname, or you can use the classic “Here, kitty kitty”. Start off slow. Call the cat when they are already on their way to you. When they get to you, praise them, love on them, or give them a treat. The next week, try calling them when they are out of sight and see if they come. If they do, reward them. Remember, be consistent. Even though our cats are now pretty well-trained in this area we still reward them for coming to bed when we call them, just to help them remember.
Another thing: If your cat has a dangerous habit you are trying to break them of, for example, one of mine started biting my ear when I wasn’t paying enough attention to him, you might want to consider a form of physical discipline. Again, I don’t condone hitting to smacking animals but a soft “pop” on the nose does wonders. Another option I use with my cats is swatting the end of their tails. This is something cats do to each other when they are upset or offended and my cats seem to get the message that they have really messed up when I use one of these two.
One last suggestion: If your cat is having “litterbox issues” (i.e. going in the wrong place) consider having them checked medically before disciplining them too harshly. There might be an underlying issues that is causing all the syptoms. Here is a safe herbal product to help with that type of issue too.
Thanks for reading!