Training cats can be very difficult. Unlike dogs, obedience is not one of the virtues genetically advanced in cats. Cats were domesticated to clear vermin on their own terms, and retain the haughtiness of their ancestors to a large degree.
Encourage, don't punishWhen it comes to cats, positive reinforcement is the way to go. Cats respond poorly to punishments, and may learn to just run away and escape the situation altogether. So, work on making the correct behavior more attractive, rather than making the misdemeanors more repulsive.
With patience and a little creativity though, training cats can be easy; some owners have gone so far as to train their cats to not just use normal toilets, but flush afterwards! Here are some helpful items that can help you train your cat.
5 Helpful Products to Train Cats
As mentioned before, cats respond much better to positive reinforcement. Clicker training, accompanied by a favorite treat, is helpful when training cats. But sometimes, a clear, persistent, and firm 'NO!' is all that is needed. Here are the 5 most helpful products in training cats.
We all know how destructive bored cats can get, and how they can wreak havoc on our poor furniture. The Pavlov's cat scratching post eliminates this behavior by reinforcing one favorite―scratching―with another―tasty treats! When cats get accustomed to receiving treats after scratching only these scratching posts, they don't have any inclination to tear apart the expensive sofa you just bought. Pavlov's Cat Scratching Posts are available for around USD 20.
Scat Mats are touch-sensitive mats that can be used to permanently or temporarily prohibit certain areas for the cat. These mats deliver a small static charge if the cat steps on it. For instance, if placed in the door to the kitchen, cats will learn to stay away from the patch. They will follow the behavior when the mat is replaced by a dummy mat that looks just like the electric version. If the cat is proving to be too stubborn, the mat can be adjusted to give more intense shocks. The mats are conspicuous and easy to sidestep, but the charge is only strong enough to startle a blindsided member of the family, and doesn't cause injury. The price of a scat mat depends on its size. Small 'strips' can cost up to USD 25, whereas sofa- or table-sized mats cost upwards of USD 100.
The hearing range of our pets is much larger than us. Ultrasonic trainers, which work on this principle, can be used to emphasize a particular verbal command. Ultrasonic trainers emit two types of sounds―an ultrasonic screech to point out negative behavior, and an audible, normal tone (accompanied by petting or a treat) to emphasize good behavior. With a combination of these two, cat training can be very easy. These devices should only be used on cats older than 6-8 months. Ultrasonic trainers can cost around USD 40-50.
Cats have a tendency to roam around their home and get into numerous problems, including speeding cars and dogs. Physical barriers are of little help when dealing with cats; these inventive critters always find a way to get over them. In-ground cat fences work on a principle similar to the Scat Mat. If the cat strays outside the limit, a receiver on its collar gives it a gentle reminder in the form of a beep. If the cat carries on farther from the boundary, it delivers a small shock that tells the cat that it's not okay to stray out of the designated limit. Such cat fences can cost upwards of USD 200, depending on the size of the cats' territory (an average backyard can cost around USD 150-200), but can be used on multiple pets, by simply attaching a receiver collar to every pet.
Cats can become a nuisance if they become stressed, and although it's probably the owner's fault for frightening or stressing out the cat, it's the latter that gets the blame. De-stressing sprays mimic natural calming pheromones that encourage the cat to abstain from urine spraying, scratching, etc. Such pheromones are naturally excreted when the cat rubs itself against various surfaces (including yourself, no doubt), marking its territory. Though the best option would be to see to the cat's temperament and be gentle with it, these sprays can be applied to important surfaces for worst-case situations. These quasi-pheromones are also available in the form of plug-ins that disperse the chemicals in the air. De-stressing sprays are available for USD 16-25, whereas electronic units cost around USD 25-30.
Disclaimer: The prices mentioned in this article may vary according to location and availability.
The intensity and strictness of training required to train pets depends entirely on the individual. Make your best to make training fun for the animals―they will actually like obeying you if it means they get to have fun.