How Do I Train my Cat?

Pet training is something that is more typically associated with canines, but this doesn’t mean that your kitty won’t benefit from learning a few things too. While you probably can’t expect her to start extending her paw for a handshake, coming when she is called, toileting in the right place and keeping her claws to specific locations are all fairly straightforward when it comes to training your feline.

Teaching your cat to come when called

Cats are well known for being aloof, independent and more likely to show you their rear end than do as they are asked, but it can be very handy to have a furry feline who does actually come when she is called! Fortunately, most cats can be trained to come when called – although whether or not she chooses to could be an entirely different matter!

Start by deciding on how you are going to call her. Hopefully you have chosen a name that is easy both to say and be heard. Then you need to help her make the association between her name and returning to you. The easiest way to do this is through bribery of course. Stand merely a meter away and call her, showing her her favorite treat. When she comes over – and hopefully she will! – reward her with the treat. Once she associates returning to you with receiving a tasty treat, you can gradually build up the distance from which you call her.

Keep training sessions short and sweet, and never scold her for failing to return when called. You will undoubtedly have to patient, and there may be times where you are sat waiting for a good few minutes before your kitty decides she is going to grace you with her presence!

Potty-training your kitty

Undoubtedly one of the first things that you will want to train your new cat to do is to use her litter box since doing so will make your home environment infinitely nicer for everyone living there! Many owners assume that using the litter box is an instinctual thing for felines. However, while some will adapt to using it themselves very quickly, others need a little more guidance.
Once your litterbox is set up, and you are confident that it is in a location your cat can tolerate, you need to introduce her to using it. To do this you will need to pick her up and put her in it when she starts to go somewhere she shouldn’t. Make a fuss of her, particularly if she then continues to do her business in the right place! Once she has been, you will need to show her how to cover her business with the litter in the tray– you might want to wear gloves for this bit!

Top tips for potty-training your cat
- Never scold her if she goes in the wrong place.
- Keep the litter topped up to at least 4cm of coverage at all times.
- If she goes somewhere she shouldn’t, clean the area thoroughly to eliminate smells. The scent of her business could draw her back to the area to ‘go’ again.
- Clean her litter box regularly. Cats won’t use one that smells bad or is too dirty, but don’t use scented products as these can put your cat off of using it.

Training your cat to use a scratching post

The need to scratch is an overwhelming instinct that your kitty won’t and shouldn’t be discouraged from. Doing so will help to keep her claws sharp but prevent them from becoming too long. However, unless you want to find claw marks in your table legs, sofas and soft furnishings, teaching your cat where she can scratch is essential. For this reason, most owners will make investing in a scratching post an early priority.
A scratching post is, as its name suggests, something designed specifically for your cat to use to scratch, stretch and just enjoy. Many cat trees have scratching posts built into them. Many felines naturally figure out what they need to do, but you may need to demonstrate for your furbaby by gently dragging her paws down the post. Once her claws catch on the fibers she will quickly get the idea! Doing this will also transfer some of her scent onto the post, which will make her feel happier about using it again.

If you would like more information on training your cat, our friendly and experienced veterinary team are on hand to help. Please do not hesitate to contact us and get in touch.