Cat training: a thing of the impossibility?

Cat training

Cat education is essential for a harmonious coexistence between man and cat. There must be clear rules, which the cat also adheres to. But often it is said: "Cats can not be educated". How it can still work, you can learn here.

Basics of cat training

Of course cats have a mind of their own. That’s why they also do not like to be ordered around. They test from time to time how far they can go with master or mistress. Cats notice because of their sensitivity, however, quickly, how your mood is and whether what they are doing, you like or dislike. Whether the house tiger therefore, however, the behavior unwanted by you remains, is a completely different question.

Basically, the education of a cat differs in many respects from that of a dog. Many dog breeds possess the so-called "Will to please" (in German "Wunsch zu gefallen"). They think it’s great to follow the handler all day long and carry out his orders. Differently however with cats! They are much more independent and it does not make sense for them to obey their human permanently.

You must be aware that cats do not learn certain things, or cannot learn them, because they are simply in their nature. She doesn’t scratch furniture and walls to annoy you, she does it to trim her claws. Also the nocturnal romp is due to the fact that she is simply a nocturnal animal. In such cases punishment is useless. It is more a matter of directing the undesirable behavior in alternative ways that are acceptable to you as the owner.

The magic formula: Consistency and positive reinforcement

These three components form the basis and at the same time the heart pieces for the cat education. It must be clearly defined from the beginning what your pet is allowed to do. Changing the "rules of the game" in between confuses your cat and can lead to the fact that all previous learning successes are annulled. Once the rules are clearly defined, they must be enforced by everyone in the household consistently and without exception over the long term. This is the only way to achieve lasting success. Always remain patient! Learning successes usually need more than a few days.

Always remember what you can expect from your cat and don’t ask for too much. Let it absolutely enough free space, in order to ensure nevertheless a kind-fair cat life. If there is no room for this, you will soon find an unused, frustrated cat at home.

The last important point is the positive reinforcement. This method is much more effective than trying to train a cat through fear. In general, cats learn through associations. If desired behavior is immediately rewarded with stroking or treats, the cat will remember this and henceforth know that this behavior "brings more" to it.

Scold "properly"

Many dogs can easily learn and execute more than ten different commands, which of course also include "No" and "Off". Also with cats the introduction of the command "No" can be worthwhile itself. By the way, this special word is chosen completely arbitrarily. You might as well introduce "don’t do that" as a cease and desist command. It is important to always use the same word with similar emphasis. You should speak in a clear, well understandable voice – but there is no need to shout. Also fine "negative vibrations" in the voice will perceive your quadruped.

Particularly important when it comes to "No" is the right timing and the creation of alternatives. If your cat does something undesirable, your cease and desist command must follow immediately, otherwise he will not know what he is being reprimanded for.

For example, if your cat starts to scratch the sofa again, react immediately with a clear "No" and show him that the behavior is undesirable. Immediately after this the second step should follow – the alternative. After the "no" you take your cat up and put it on a piece of scratching furniture, for example a scratching post. If it now sharpens its claws there, the deserved praise follows.

By the way: Don’t use your cat’s name when reprimanding him! This should have exclusively positive links – she knows also so completely exactly, when she is meant.

If "no" is not enough: educational aids

Especially with young, boisterous or dominant cats, your "no" may leave them cold and the unwanted behavior may not subside. In such cases it helps to get supportive aids. Similar to dogs, cats can also be trained with a clicker, for example. the clicker can be helpful in training the cat. Also an imitation of the cat language can help with the cat education.

For example, if you blow in the cat’s face, it resembles the hissing that cats use to reprimand each other. Most of the time it is beneficial if the punishment (at least for the cat) does not come from you. Here, the use of loud noises is frequent, such as clapping hands or the rattling of a tin can filled with screws. Since cats are very sensitive to noises, these methods are usually successful.

With a further aid in the cat education we want to deal here now more intensively: The use of water. This can be done with a small water pistol, a syringe (of course without a cannula) or a flower sprayer.

As with all training methods, there are also cat owners who reject this method. Since the cat, however, by this water use, which is of course gently dosed, neither comes to harm nor is shaken up to the inside or injured, is not to be advised against it in principle. However, it is important to use this method sparingly and not let it become a habit.
If the water gun (or any other tool) is used moderately, bad behaviors can be permanently broken.

The basic idea is the following. Lie in wait and watch the cat not noticeably. If it starts to behave in an unwanted way, surprise it with sparingly dosed water splashes. If this procedure is repeated every time the action is shown, the cat will soon link the unwanted behavior with the water, which is unpleasant for him, and will refrain from doing it from now on.

As I said – make sure that the water jet is not too hard. Also, never aim at the head or ears, as damage to health can occur here.

Wrong measures& Approaches

Unfortunately, one hears again and again that the attempt of cat education backfires. To prevent this from happening to you, you should follow a few simple basic rules.

The most important one is the absolute renunciation of violence. Cats are very sensitive animals! If their caregiver beats them, it not only destroys any trust, it can also cause changes in their nature. Many cats become so intimidated that they generally view people as a threat, others react with aggression to defend themselves against the perceived attacker. So that it does not come at all to it, should be completely renounced to the raising of the hand. Cats do not forget and a single slap or blow can already irreparably damage the relationship.

Raising your voice is also like a "verbal blow", which is why you should refrain from shouting and nagging. It only provokes fear and mistrust. In addition, you should not "talk down" the cat – as I said, the right timing is an important keyword in cat training.

Last but not least, refrain from locking up the cat as a punishment. She would not understand this and does not know that her behavior was the cause of it.

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