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How to Train a Kitten

 
By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. Updated: March 14, 2019
How to Train a Kitten

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When you adopt a kitten, you have an obligation to teach them how to behave properly. This is so that when they live with you, life is nothing but a pleasant experience and you have a well-educated and happy pet at home. It is not acceptable for them to bite or destroy your furniture. It is also important to teach them how to use the litter box.

Cats are intelligent and quickly grasp what you want to teach them. However, their playful nature and lively temperament must be controlled in a suitable and positive way. Whether they be a Siamese cat, a European cat or an unidentifiable cat, you must set boundaries for them.

Keep reading this AnimalWised article to discover how to train a kitten - the basics.

You may also be interested in: Before Adopting a Cat: How to Welcome a Kitten

When the kitten arrives home

The first hours of the first day at home together are essential. During this short period you should show lots of affection towards your little friend, so that they fully trust you and can learn to obey. Stroking and words of affection will make the kitten purr, showing their satisfaction. When they lick you, it is a sign that they already consider you family.

Another key method is to teach them where their personal objects are such as toys, their bed, food bowl, water bowl and litter box. Then they will quickly learn how to use them. They should also always have access to clean water.

How to Train a Kitten - When the kitten arrives home

Educating a cat to use their scratching post and toys

You are advised to provide a scratching post from day one, and you must ensure your cat learns how to use it. If you do this, your sofas will have 2 or 3% more added to their life span!. Your cat will learn to sharpen their nails using the scratching post when you are there, but when left alone, it's another story.

Your kitten should have toys to satisfy their need to 'hunt'. Use fabric mice, small balls, feathered rattles, as well as others. With very simple toys, many of which you can make, your cat will have a lot of fun. If you throw objects, there will come a point where they will return them to you in their mouth so you can throw them again. If you want some ideas, don't hesitate to visit our article on the 5 toys cats love the most.

How to Train a Kitten - Educating a cat to use their scratching post and toys

Teaching cats not to scratch or bite

Small cats naturally like fighting with your hands and biting your fingers.

It is better that they lose this innate behavior as soon as possible, as it could become an annoying habit. If you don't correct it, you could end up with a cat that bites and scratches people all the time. A resounding No! while you clench your hand into a fist should be enough to make them understand.

If this problem is a habitual behavior, don't hesitate to review the tricks to prevent your cat from biting you. Remember it is important to teach them right from the start.

How to Train a Kitten - Teaching cats not to scratch or bite

The prowling cat

Cats have a natural active instinct to stalk. For this reason when they are young, they like to hide and jump suddenly on your feet when you pass by.

It is a behavior that they soon lose because on more than one occasion you will unintentionally step on them, and they will suddenly realise you don't know how to the play docile victim. Unfortunately in a very painful way!

How to Train a Kitten - The prowling cat

Dangerous places

It is very important that your cat considers the kitchen as a 'taboo' area. There are several reasons for this. Most importantly, falling over in the kitchen can cause a lot of harm to you or the cat. What's more, a thieving cat may steal something tasty, or cause a mess. Fires, the oven and knives are things they don't know can do a lot of damage.

If they try to get into the kitchen, you should not say No!, because the cat will interpret that you don't want to play that kind of game at that moment. However, perhaps at another time or with another person, for example a grandmother, they will be accepted into the kitchen.

Therefore, what you should do is, in a sneaky way, wet your fingers and throw drops of water onto the cat without them noticing. This is so that it gets onto their coat. They will be unpleasantly surprised and try to see where the nasty pouring came from. They cannot realise that it was you. In time, they will associate this strange occurrence with the kitchen, despite their nice food.

This treatment is quite effective against 'scavenger' cats, who like to look in garbage bags.

How to Train a Kitten - Dangerous places

Training cats with positive reinforcement

Small cats are mischievous, and even more so when they are 'adolescents'. That's why it is very important to master effective techniques to tell your cat off without using violence. Positive reinforcement is key.

You cannot tell a cat off if it is not at the same time they commit their crime. Their nature prevents them from realising that they did something wrong five minutes ago. As they say: you have to catch them in the act!

For example: If your cat is sharpening their nails on the sofa, you should lay them down gently against the side of the sofa and give a grim and gloomy Nooo!

However, the chances are that your cat thinks that this refusal is only for that moment, or perhaps someone else, the grandmother for example, will be delighted with their feline skills; an elegant and meticulous way of destroying the sofa.

How to Train a Kitten - Training cats with positive reinforcement

Games and mental stimulation

Many people do not dedicate time to intelligence games for cats. Even the ones you can invent at home (like the three cups one ball trick) are great for your feline to start developing their mind.

Playing with your cat and making them 'think will help them a lot throughout their education. Repetition and using positive reinforcement in cats is essential to make your kitten understand what you are trying to communicate to them. Best of luck!

How to Train a Kitten - Games and mental stimulation

If you want to read similar articles to How to Train a Kitten, we recommend you visit our Basic education category.

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