Training your cat is something that can be very beneficial for both pet and owner without being too intrusive or demanding. Teaching your cat to come when called, recognise their name and even sit or perform minor tricks is a fantastic way to not only develop a bond of understanding between owner and pet but also helps solidify a stronger bond between you by spending more time together.
Cats should be taught one trick or behaviour at a time so as not to confuse them. It will be detrimental if you are spending half your time trying to get your cat to ‘sit’ whilst also getting them used to their name. Focussed sessions of teaching for short periods everyday can help reinforce the commands and desired traits in your cat. Utilising a treat-reward system is a great way to get your cat focussed and ready to learn – just make sure that your training sessions occur before a mealtime, as a cat will not respond as desired to a treat-reward when it is full.
The most important part of training a cat is patience. You cannot rush a cat, nor expect it to jump to demands. Work at the cat’s pace, and before long you will both be happy with the progress. Be careful not to end up being trained by the cat in return, however!
Litter training is an important aspect of owning a cat and potentially the most necessary of skills that you will need to teach your cat. If your cat is not taught and continues to go to the toilet around your house, you are risking illness or disease for yourself, your family and any visitors due to exposure to their waste.
If your cat is going to the toilet in the same spot, placing the litter tray there will cement in your cat’s mind where they are supposed to go, allowing them to associate the tray with ‘going to the toilet’. A small treat when they use the tray correctly will positively reinforce those interactions and soon have your cat understanding what the tray is for.
You may need to deter cats from other areas in your house, so using a material that your cat finds uncomfortable to lay on the floor, or an irritating odour spray or similar deterrent will divert your cat’s attention away from their usual spots and hopefully get them to start using the litter tray. Again, house training takes patience and for the best results is taught from a very early age. You could also try an automated litter tray if you’re cat requires something a bit less hands on.
To help your cat utilise their litter tray most effectively, remember to clean out any dirty litter at least once a day, and completely replace the litter every week. Whilst clearing out the litter tray each week, it is also advisable to clean the tray as well, as cats are very perceptive and have a greater sense of smell, and what appears to be a clean tray to us can be anything but to a cat. Finally, if you are pregnant, you should not handle any litter trays or deal with cat waste.