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Training your new cat or kitten

We have all heard about training your pet dog but did you know that even cats can pick up instructions as quickly as dogs? You might not know this, but cats are pretty quick in picking up some of the cat tricks. With time, your cat will also get used to you calling them by a name. To help your pet pick up these skills, it’s important to train your kitten from an early age and as soon as possible.

The Power of Positive Reinforcement

The behaviorists at PURINA believe positive reinforcement is not only the best technique for establishing a good relationship with your dog while training, but that it’s also the most effective. Positive reinforcement consists of associating a reward with a desired behaviour. If you use positive reinforcement during training, your dog will learn to associate training time and behaving well with praise, affection or treats. Some forms of punishment training may lead to stress and anxiety for dogs and may weaken the relationship you have with your dog.

Introduction of social skills

Start with a set of basic social skills. It’ll help the little one to deal with situations with ease, rather taking them by a sense of sudden surprise or shock. Try helping them build the confidence and curiosity from an early stage. Without your help, your pet cat won’t be able to adapt to new situations and surroundings. Kittens usually become more aware after reaching 7 weeks.

Try some of the following tips to help your kitten develop even further:

  • Invite a variety of friends to your home to help your kitten get used to all sorts of different people – different ages, genders, heights, hair colour and more!
  • You can call over some kids who are gentle and love to play with cats at your place and a
  • You can even introduce your kitten to a cat-friendly dog. This way, your cat can learn how to make new friends. If you know someone who has an amiable pet dog, invite them over and watch your kitten get super excited.

How to begin kitten training?

Once your cat gets a grip of the social skills, you can come to the next important step, that is, to get a check-up done with a veterinarian. You cat may be dealing with an issue that isn’t visible to your naked eye, or they need special care and attention for their healthy growth.

  • Emphasize the spoken cue you use to teach your cat what to do (such as “sit”) by speaking clearly and confidently, and reinforcing with a positive praise – for example “sit, good, sit”.
  • You can ring a soft sounding bell whenever it’s treat time for your cat. This also helps them with sound association and easy learning of tasks!
  • The best time to train your cat is before or after their mealtime. Just make sure they are not too hungry or too full during their training session.
  • Try to eliminate background noise coming from a TV or stereo to help your cat stay focused.
  • Keep the sessions short, crisp and interesting so that your cat doesn’t get distracted too easily and bored.
  • You can always give them small tokens of rewards or treats to boost their confidence, if the training goes well.
  • Always go step by step. One skill may take time to develop. Keep your patience intact.
 

Be patient! Training is bound to take time, so encourage your pet in each session with lots of positive praise and rewards for good behavior. If your cat does something wrong, use a firm “no” before directing them to something else. For example – if they are knocking items off a surface, say “no” and dangle a toy for them to play with instead.

 

Now you know the basics of how to train your kitten or cat, you can move onto how to teach them specific tasks. Let the fun begin!

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