Trying to train your cat to stop peeing outside the litter box or scratching your favourite furniture, you should never resort to teaching them a lesson with an electric cat training collar.
Typical Cat Related Issues
Having cats might sound simple, but in practical sense there can occur a lot of small and bigger issues.
Here is a list of typical cat related issues you may be experiencing:
- cat aggression between cats
- cat aggression between you and your cat
- food aggression
- urination outside the litter box
- scratching furniture & walls/wallpaper
- Jumping upon and sitting on tables, counter tops etc.
- Begging for food when you are having dinner
There are probably many more examples of bad cat behaviour. We would all be done with one or more of these.
Sure you can teach them all sorts of tricks, but they require a lot of time and patience. How great it would be if we could simply teach them a different behaviour, by giving them a shock. One shock teaches all, right?
Training Your Cat
It is fully possible to teach your cat a new way to do things or on the opposite untrain them of doing something, but all methods are going to require a lot of time and effort.
There is something called clicker training which means so much that you use a clicker and treats to make your cat do certain things. There are also ways of teaching a cat through positive reinforcement and simply directing where certain behaviour is allowed. We will take a look at these different training methods a little later.
In any case:
Don’t Use An Electric Cat Training Collar
While it may sound tempting to some people to give shocks to a cat upon bad behaviour, it is a super bad idea for many reasons and to be honest we would report you for animal abuse.
We understand that (un)training your cat certain things can be an incredible hassle and take an enormous amount of time that you don’t have. Still, using something as shocking as an electric cat training collar is not the solution. It is really the worst idea ever actually and may very well have the exact opposite effect.
Would you give your child an electric collar and give them an electric jolt every time they go for the cookie jar, or pee in their bed?
If we cannot treat humans that way, we cannot treat animals that way either. It’s why we are advocates of treating animals and humans the same way. It is why we don’t want to call our cats animals, but rather family members.
So, while not using repercussions through electric shocks, how do you train your cat certain behaviour or teach them to stop behaving in unwanted ways? Let’s take a closer look at the actual source of the problems first.
Find The Source Of A Cat Behaviour Problem
First of all, a lot of cat behaviour and unwanted behaviour can be explained by events that have happened. Cats are creatures of habit and want things to stay in the same organised matter.
Finding out what has made your cat suddenly change behaviour, means you can possibly eliminate the problem by solving the issue at hand. No training needed here!
- marking/spraying outside litter box (cat’s stress, environmental change or new person/family member/cat)
- eliminating/peeing outside the litter box (stress or health problem)
- begging for food (no feeding other than their set times and location for their own food diet)
Stress problems can be annoying, but it is better to get to the bottom of them. Perhaps it is because of a new family member such as a new partner, a new child born into the family or just something as simple as new furniture or a new design of your living room.
Health related issues is a matter of concern and the best thing you can do is taking your cat to the veterinary. The veterinary can find out if it is a health related issue or whether you are just dealing with a stress problem. Either way, your veterinary might also have some tips and tricks to train your cat or how to deal with the new stressful situation.
As you can see, there is certain cat behaviour that can be explained and resolved by simple matters. Unfortunately there is also the type of unwanted cat behaviour, such as:
- scratching walls or furniture (its actually a cat’s need to scratch and sharpen claws, redirect)
- jumping on tables and counter tops (might be harder to redirect, but their own cat beds, cat tree might do the trick)
- cat aggression against other cats
- cat aggression against humans
- food aggression
Scratching Walls Or Furniture
Cats really need to scratch as it is a way to stretch their body and sharpen their nails. The only real thing you can do about this behaviour is redirecting it. Declawing a cat is a big no-no and while you can cut their nails, it will not actually stop their natural behaviour.
You can redirect the scratching misbehaviour by placing cat scratching poles, scratching boards or cat trees in your home. Whenever you see your cat misbehaving and scratching on the wrong location, you simply have to lift them up and put them on or next to the scratching pole/wallboard/board.
Jumping On Tables and Counter Tops
Giving your cat dedicated places to sleep and relax might possibly solve the problem of a cat jumping on counter tops and tables etc. There are some great cat trees and cat beds out there that will aid in your cats need there.
It will also help to remove anything that is interesting and attractive for your cat to come to your table or counter-top in the first place. To name a few, milk and cheese, coconut oil and certain fruits and vegetables might definitely keep your cats eyes peeled for something to get their tongue on.
As for removing your cat from a counter-top or table, make sure the cat can handle the jump between table and ground. Alternatively you can pick the cat up and put them down on the ground yourself.
While redirecting is a simple solution, it might not work and requires extensive training with you rat.
Cat Aggression Against Other Cats
Cat aggression between cats is an entirely different matter. Although it often caused by (environmental) stress, it is a much harder matter to resolve, especially when it is a matter between your own cats in the house. You do not just want to do away with one of them to resolve the problem. Ideally you want to keep all your cats in your house as family members and want them to be able to deal with each other in a peaceful manner.
Cat Aggression Against Humans
There is naturally also a possibility for aggression against their humans. This is also a type of aggression that you would want to replace by a more peaceful manner. Some positive reinforcement training might help here.
Food aggression is a different form of aggression. It is mostly seen with cats that have been a feral cat in the wild. These cats have always fought for their food and would go for the food whenever they could find it. The most obvious sign of food aggression is when they growl when you get close to their bowl when they are eating.
Different Forms Of Training
While you might think only dogs can be trained, cats can be trained as well. You just need to learn one of the following two techniques:
- Positive Reinforcement
- Clicker Training
Positive Reinforcement Training
In positive reinforcement training you will try to redirect misbehaviour into a better alternative. That way the cat can learn to use a different method of dealing with their natural behaviours.
For example, food aggression might be trained away by giving set amounts of food to each cat in the cat family at set times throughought the day. Cat aggression against your hands or legs should be redirected to a toy or a cat tree. Never play with your cat with your bare hands.
Scratching of furniture and walls should also be redirected to scratching poles and cat trees.
For clicker training you need a clicker. A clicker is a (cheap) device that makes a little clicking sound. If you do not have this device, you could also use your fingers or mouth to make the same sound.
It can often be a good idea to have a certain toy that tells your cat that it is training time. Have treats ready that your cat loves to eat, so that you can reward for good behaviour.
The idea with clicker training is to let your cat do tricks on commando. The click sound you make should indicate a treat to be received. Treats should however not become the main addiction in this training form. It should be possible to just use the clicker too after some time.
It will help to do the training about 30 minutes before their dinner time, so they can be active and out about to perform some “tricks”. It is also important to be on the ground on eye-level with your cat. That way you are not forming a direct threat to your cat.
There is tons of more information on this subject, which I will deal with in a separate article.
Have you tried any form of treatment with your cat? Please share in the comments section below!