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Training Your Cat

27 10:30:52
Many people think that a trained cat is an oxymoron. Cats are known for their independence, which endears them to some people and makes others prefer dogs. While cats are, in many ways, more independent and self-sufficient than dogs, this does not mean that they cannot be trained. This is especially important in regard to areas of problem behavior.

Do not fall into the trap of thinking you have to either tolerate your cat's behavior -such as regarding the litter box, aggression or destroying things, or go to the extreme of parting with the cat. If you educate yourself on the subject and put forth a little effort, you can almost certainly remedy the situation and change your cat's behavior for the better.

One area of concern is the litter box. It is certainly unpleasant and unsanitary when your cat does not use its litter box properly, or at all. First of all, cats are extremely clean animals by nature, so it is not fundamentally a problem to litter train them. If your cat was previously using the litter box and has stopped, something is definitely wrong. The first thing you should do is have the cat examined by a veterinarian, to rule out medical problems.

After medical problems are ruled out, take a look at the litter box itself. Make sure it's being kept clean. It should also be in the right place, in an out-of-the-way area that is not too near the cat's water and food dishes. Cats are a little like people in preferring a private "bathroom" area. The box should also be large enough for the cat, but not so large as to not feel like an enclosed space.

Does your cat scratch or bite? This can obviously be an undesirable situation, especially if it leaves you with cuts! As with litter box issues, you should have the cat checked out physically, especially if the behavior is recent. On the other hand, if the cat has always been aggressive, it may simply be not socialized or perhaps it was a feral cat not used to being around people at all. For these situations, you will have to have some patience and realize that the cat needs to be gradually tamed and accustomed to human companionship.

Watch your cats movements and body language when it is aggressive. Learn when it is "safe" to touch him/her (until your training efforts have paid off, when it should be safe most of the time). You should also make sure your cat gets enough exercise. Make time to play with your cat, every day if possible. This both gives the cat exercise and is a bonding ritual. If your cat is not spayed, you should have it done; this will make the cat calmer and less aggressive.

These are some rather basic tips regarding some common behavior problems. If you have a difficult problem, you will probably have to further educate yourself and invest some time into training your cat. What you should keep in mind is that almost all cats, with the right attention, can be made into great pets!