Is It Possible to Train an Adult Cat?

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Is It Possible to Train an Adult Cat?

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The majority of cat owners believe that it is not possible to train an adult cat. And, if they think to train them to do some tricks or stay, sit, or bring something back like dogs do, then they are completely right. Cats are hard to train. However, there are many situations when we should train or retrain a cat that is essential for our peaceful life with these beautiful animals. Namely, in certain periods of their lives, many cats can develop bad habits such as problems with litter tray, marking or scratching furniture, or climbing on the kitchen counter. To correct cat’s misbehavior, we need to retrain the cat and help it develop different habits. It is harder to retrain the adult cat than teach a little kitten new behavior. If we want to do that successfully, feline experts point at the ways in which cats learn. Cats like routine, consistency, and comfort. They are willing to accept only those behaviors that bring them pleasure. Cats are hard to discipline, but easy to comfort. Because of that, the only approach that works with cats is by rewarding them. This method has shown as the most useful and powerful when we want to retrain the cat. To learn more about how to train an adult cat, the article “Cat Training Basics” gives us interesting tips.

Is It Possible to Train an Adult Cat?

Do’s and Don’ts (Not in That Order)

Don’t impair the all-important bond of trust between you and your cat. This bond is the key to a mutually fulfilling, long-term human-cat relationship. Training sessions should not be traumatic. Train with love.

Don’t try to make your cat do something he clearly doesn’t want to do, unless it’s necessary and unavoidable for his health and well-being, or for the safety of other members of the household (human or non-human).

Don’t overdo it. Know when to quit. For instance, when trying to get your cat to accept having his teeth brushed, if you insist on keeping your finger or the kitty toothbrush in his mouth once he’s become visibly annoyed, not only do you risk being punctured by one of his freshly-brushed canines, he’ll also be disinclined to cooperate in the future; you’ll lose ground. The idea is to have kitty like the thing you want him to do, not resent it. If kitty is growing bored or tired, or—even worse—agitated by your training efforts, call it a day. If he wanders off, let him have his space. Resume training later, perhaps modifying your style. Ideally, any training session ends on a high note, with kitty getting a reward for his accomplishments.

Don’t use fear-based or punishment-based training. Never use deprivation-based training: don’t make kitty “work” for his food or playtime or anything else he needs, including your love and support.

Do start early if possible. It’s easier to train a kitten than an adult cat. But adults can still learn. Start training a new cat soon after he gets settled in, to establish routines that are agreeable to all.

Do use rewards to incentivize kitty’s behavior. Be consistent with rewards, at least until the desired behavior becomes a habit for kitty. Rewards don’t always have to be treats—you might get a fat cat that way. A reward can be a satisfying scratch on a sturdy and rough scratching post, or an exuberant pounce on a toy darting across the floor.

Feline experts also warn us not to forget that we often reward the cat for its misbehavior completely unconsciously. That often happens when the cat wants to go out or eat early in the morning, and after persistent nudging and meowing, we finally feed them, we practically reward and encourage their misbehavior. For that reason, they experts us thinking over about the meaning of certain behavior and what we want to achieve. The common sense, consistency, and unconditional love can retrain even the most stubborn cat.

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