Congratulations on welcoming a new furry friend into your home! This is a very exciting time, but can also be very stressful. Many people assume that cats cannot be trained, and do not even bother teaching them the basic skills of obedience and well-mannered behaviors. This fact is not true because, although different from dogs, cats can be trained in a variety of different ways. Training your cat will allow them to get adjusted to your family dynamic and environment as soon as they arrive at your home.
Here are 5 kitten training tips for new parents:
Train Your Cat To Sit
As soon as your cat sits, immediately reward them for their behavior. Rewarding animals for good behavior reinforces them to continue doing that behavior in the future. It is important to reward sitting behavior from the very beginning so that your kitten knows that they will be rewarded. A food reward is best for learning these types of baseline behaviors such as canned cat food on a spoon. Also, remember to teach your cat to wait for the reward to be given to them rather than your cat jumping up for the food reward. That will prevent unwanted behavior from happening in the future.
Crate Train Your Cat
At an early age teach your cat to enjoy spending time in their crate. This can be done in a variety of different ways to start. For example, a great way to get your cat adjusted to their crate is to feed them meals while inside. Another great way to get them adjusted is to let them sleep there overnight. In the beginning, keep the crate door open so that your cat can get accustomed to the small space. The more your cat becomes comfortable spending time in their crate, the easier it will be to travel safely and stress-free.
Petting and Holding Practice
We all can probably agree that cats have a mind of their own, but it can be beneficial to prepare your cat for uncomfortable petting and holding positions. Many cats will only permit being held a certain type of way, so it is important to teach them for situations where they might be uncomfortable. To start, hold your cat in a relaxing and comfortable holding position. Then try holding your cat on its side, under its arms, on its back, etc. Also touch various body parts such as their ears, stomach, feet, etc. This will ensure that a vet visit will go more smoothly and your cat will be more relaxed than normal.
Socialize Your Cat
Many cats that are not well socialized can become fearful of new people and even hide away when you decide to invite company over. The best solution to this is to socialize your cat between two and seven weeks of age. Socializing your cat at a young age will allow your cat to get familiar with seeing other people around, besides yourself. In the beginning, pair a new experience with a reward. For example, when you invite new people over to your home, praise your cat with pets, toys, or food rewards.
Train Your Cat To Play With Toys
Playing with your cat is a great way to bond with them and develop your relationship further. When playing with your cat it is important to use toys and not your hands. If you play with your hands, your cat will think it is ok to bite and scratch even when you are not in “playtime.” Some great toys to use with your cat are feathers, balls, or string!