How To Train A Cat To Stop Destructive Behavior
From jumping on counters, chewing on wires and scratching everything in sight, to biting your friends and family, learn how to train a cat to stop their destructive behavior in a humane healthy way.
Cats are highly astute, mystical creatures that see and sense all that surrounds them in ways no other animal can.
Worshipped by the ancient Egyptians as vessels inhabited by the spirits of their gods, it was believed that they brought good luck to whomever dared to try and own them.
Truth be told, no one can ever really own a cat, and that is why training a cat is so very specific and different.
That element of pleasing the master who is is an animal’s entire world, which is so very common in dogs, simply went out to lunch as far as the cat, who couldn’t care less, is concerned.
Despite this, cats can be easy to train because they are highly intelligent. The trick is to understand them so that they don’t end up training you instead of the other way around.
According to Pam Johnson-Bennett, a certified behaviorist and owner of Cat Behavior Associates in Nashville, Tennessee: “understanding a cat's natural instincts can help when it comes to training in play, behavior and even travel.”
Cats can master many diverse commands including: to sit, roll over, and shake a paw, but since they like to do all things within their own feline time frame, training requires motivation, time consistently set aside and an enormous dose of patience.
Changing unwanted behavior requires discipline, but not punishment. A cat lover may have encouraged a kitten’s constant scratching, meowing or nipping and then realized that it is not acceptable behavior and wish to change it. Blame, however, must never be a part of the training equation.
A shift in perspective is required both from the cat lover and the cat, which can lovingly be accomplished with time, treats and as stated above, patience.
The following guide, with the help of our scratch protection products, will help harried cat lovers to rid their pets of destructive behaviors.
Why Do Cats Misbehave?
Many times, a cat lover may mistake bad behavior as just the animal expressing its natural instincts. In this case, helping the animal adjust to new behavior rather than meting out punishment is the key to eliminating the negative.
In other instances, a cat may have picked up a bad habit form nowhere and simply continued it everywhere. While no feline probably ever heard the words of that old Fats Waller song, “Ain’t Misbehavin’, they do understand what it means in cat language
It translates into something like: “My world is not a happy place and I am upset. I need to vent my feelings onto something that won’t fight back; namely furniture, doors, windows and carpeting… Meow.”
The Most Common Cat Behavior To Worry About
Although every animal is different, there are some general bad habits that are often found in cats.
Jumping on counters, chewing on household wires, which is not only inconvenient but can also be very dangerous, scratching everything in sight, biting humans in the household and bringing home little dead animals as gifts are among the most commonly encountered.
Last but not least, a cat’s sleeping schedule will likely not coincide with that of their caretaker’s, which means your cat or cats are ready to boogie and put on party hats just when you are either ready to go to sleep or already there.
Many of these behaviors can be curtailed with training and with the use of our scratch deterrent products, more about which will be featured below.
Do Cats Understand the Word, No?
They do not, per se, as if you didn’t know that already. But alas, all is not lost because cats do understand one important principle that can result in behavior change and that is “no” spoken in conjunction with the idea of creating a cause and effect situation.
Kitty learns to associate an unpleasant occurrence with something they are doing and then they never do it again. This can be compared to the actions of a child who accidentally touches a hot stove once.
Some Ways To Teach The Concept of No
There are ways to capture a teachable moment and one of them includes your voice and a short stop word. Whenever you see the behavior, yell that stop word, which can be “hey” or “no” at the top of your voice.
It will work if used consistently. Do not change the word, however, as it will confuse the cat (and possibly, you too).
Clapping your hands loudly can also be irritating to a cat’s ears and cause them to stop whatever they are scratching or chewing or biting.
For cats that are easily startled, this action can give them an unforgettable jolt that they associate with their behavior in that immediate moment.
Noisy cans can also help to discourage our curious kitties from climbing on top of cabinets, counters and snooping around house plants. Empty soda cans can have another purpose besides recycling.
Arrange groups of them on top of one another in those trouble spots you want your cat to avoid so that just brushing by them will cause them to wobble and fall. You may need to do this a number of times before you see results, but give it try and then recycle the cans.
Deterrent sprays can help even though they are not as effective as other products.
Anything flavored with citrus is a turnoff to cats, and there are many commercial sprays featuring this smell that can be used to keep cats away from certain areas of the home. If your cat is a chewer, spraying this on wires can make them smell unpleasant.
Spend more time playing with your cat, as a bored feline is a forecast for furniture, door and carpet disaster. Eliminating extra energy with toys and loving attention will make the animal feel more at ease and less likely to view everything in the world around them as a giant scratching post.
Do-it-yourself methods can work, but they are limited in scope.
Training Your Cat Not To Scratch Furniture And Other Items
For best protection of furniture, carpet, doors and such, our Clawguard Cat Training Strips are recommended. These adhesive strips can be installed in just a few seconds and they are simply applied by peeling off the white liner and applying them directly to trouble spots such as:carpets, rugs, sofas, drapes, screens and wooden doors.
These waterproof strips are American-made of non-toxic material and come in a package of 20. They provide a tested, safe and effective barrier between your expensive furniture and the claws on your beloved feline. Each and every roll of tape sold is guaranteed to work and if it doesn’t, the company promises a full return on the purchase price.
Our Furniture Shields provide another option to protect your furniture, and they have the added advantage of being invisible in plain sight.
They are sturdy and clear and designed specifically to withstand heavy contact and simultaneously provide hidden protection from the feline onslaught of scratching, shredding and clawing sofas, armchairs, ottomans, mattresses, curtains, screens, baskets, speakers and other items.
They are available in four sizes with two sheets in every pack.
How To Keep Cats off Counters And From Scratching Doors
For some reason known only to felines, crinkly aluminum foil is a substance with a sound and feel they dislike. It is said to deter cats from kitchen counters, but ending up with foil all over your kitchen, however temporary, can be very inconvenient and annoying.
Cats scratch doors because they like the texture, and the scratching helps them to remove the outer sheath of their nails and to mark the door with the scent glands in their paws.
Nocturnal door scratching often occurs and it most common cause is boredom. They love to play with you, and if you are sound asleep, they don’t care. They are cats.
Don’t despair, as there are some easy ways to deal with this situation; namely, our Clawguard Training Tape XL Sheets and Cat Training and Repellant Tape.
Training Tape XL Sheets are comprised of 3” X 30 yards of high quality material, and they come with a built in dispenser and are easily applied. The material does require a simple cut to the desired length and an easy peel off when ready to affix to any surface. They are safe for cats’ paws and will not cause any irritation. Odor-free and clear, your home will remain looking clean and attractive.
Our Cat Scratch Training And Repellant Tape is a best selling solution for deterring scratching and clawing on furniture and other surfaces. Cats avoid sticky surfaces and this clear, double-sided adhesive is paw-safe and super effective.
Even more, installation is very simple! Just apply to the selected surface, and it will serve as a tough barrier between claws, doors, sofas and other areas where cats like to scratch. This tape is available both as training strips and in sheet form.
While training a cat may be a more challenging process than training a dog, it can be done. It just takes patience, tenacity, a lot of treats … and of course a few of our tried, true and trusted Clawguard products!
Long live cats and the sacred sanity of their caretakers!
Photo credits: Shutterstock and Clawguard