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Training your Kitten

Training your Kitten

If you would like your kitten to sit then place the treat near your kitten’s nose so they can sniff it and then raise it up from their nose and then between their ears.

It might surprise you that your kitten can in fact be trained. Many people may believe that cats can’t be trained because they don’t respond to the same training methods as dogs. Cats were specifically bought in to kill vermin and are naturally independent animals and not quite as social as dogs. Cats aren’t quite as motivated as dogs but with some creativity and patience your new kitten can be trained.
Kittens and cats need mental stimulation and activity. By beginning training as soon as possible your kitten will grow to learn to respect the boundaries of your home, learn social skills and it can really help to strengthen the bond you two develop. In addition to behavioural training you can also teach your kitten to sit, stay and come when called.
By training your kitten, you can avoids common behavioural issues you may see in untrained cats, such as:

  • Digging in the rubbish
  • Scratching at carpet or furniture
  • Jumping on benches & tables
  • Spraying and urinating
  • Avoiding the litter box
  • Stress, fear or anxiety
  • Compulsive behaviours
  • Aggression towards people or animals

1. Delicious Treats

Most kittens will respond to food rewards, so start by finding a treat that your kitten absolutely loves and simply can’t resist. There are plenty of commercial cat treats on the market, but you could also try small pieces of fresh chicken, tinned tuna or met-flavoured baby food. Once you have found treats that will motivate your kitten, use a reward based or positive reinforcement training method. For example, if you would like your kitten to sit then place the treat near your kitten’s nose so they can sniff it and then raise it up from their nose and then between their ears. Naturally they will follow this arc motion with their eyes and nose and as their chin raises up their bottom will hit the ground. Make sure as soon as your kittens bottom hits the floor you reward her both verbal praise and with a treat.

2. Toys

Toys are a great way to distract your kitten when they begin to do something that they shouldn’t be. For example, if you notice your kitten scratching at the couch, redirect them to their scratching post with a toy. By using toys, you are rewarding your kitten for avoiding bad behaviours. Providing your kitten with toys will keep them occupied both mentally and physically and may prevent them from being badly behaved.

3. Clicker Training

Clicker training as proved to be a successful way to train your kitten perform tasks and learn commands. You can purchase clickers from your local pet shop but even something as simple as a pen will suffice. Start by clicking the device and then rewarding your kitten with a treat. Once your kitten begins to associate the sound of the clicker with a treat then you can use it for training. When you see your kitten demonstrating a desired behaviour, click the clicker. To begin with you will need to use the clicker and the treat but soon enough your kitten will respond to just the clicker.

4. Do NOT Punish your kitten

Cats and kittens do not respond well to punishment. If you punish your kitten for bad behaviour this will not teach them a lesson, they will only be frightened and hide from you and your family. Punishing your kitten may in fact cause behavioural problems such as not using their litter box and compulsive grooming. Persuasion and patience, not punishment is the key to training your kitten.

Take your time with training, it will be far more successful if you work with one command at a time. Be constant and always reward your kitten enthusiastically for even the slightest glimmer she understands your command.