When your cat avoids the litter box or meows excessively, you may wonder, how do you train cats?
To understand cat training, you need to understand cat behavior.
Much of your cat’s behavior is instinctual. Cats scratch your furniture because, in the wild, they need to scratch to sharpen their claws. Cats misbehave at night because, in the wild, their prey would be awake at night. It is, however, possible (and fun!) to train your cat.
Seriously, how do you train cats?
To answer that question, we need to consider cat psychology. Cats learn by operant and classical conditioning. Operant conditioning involves rewards and punishments.
Punishments are usually not recommended for cat training because some cats learn to associate you with the punishment instead of their bad behavior. This “association” between stimulus and response is another learning technique called classical conditioning.
Spray bottle training is a popular form of punishment. Professional trainers tend to agree that it’s not a good idea. It’s too risky. Your cat could wind up resenting you, so it’s better to use a reward-based system.
We recommend the following cat training techniques:
Positive reinforcement is all about rewards. Reward your cat’s good behavior with food, toys, your love and affection, and a good visit to the scratching post.
Some things to keep in mind:
A cat training clicker is an effective cat training method that teaches the feline to associate a clicking noise with a behavior, and that behavior with a reward.
You basically use a device, called a clicker, to make a “clicking” noise when your cat does something good. After you make the clicking noise, reward kitty with treats and toys and love.
Interesting facts about clicker training:
How do you train cats? Clicker training and positive reinforcement are great starts.
Have anything to add? Share your knowledge in the comments!