Bringing a new cat home can have its benefits, as well as its challenges. What do you do when your cat is displaying bad behaviors in your home? Look here to find some fun and effective ways on how to train a cat and influence their behaviors!

1. Start with something small.

When looking to train your new pet, you want to start out with something small. Don’t expect them to learn a variety of different commands or tricks right away. If your kitten is not already house-trained, this would be a good place to start. They need to know they can’t go to the bathroom just anywhere, right? Although house-training was mentioned here, let’s use a simple example of getting your cat to stop trying to escape through the front door.

Example: Escaping

  1. Start by making the front door an unpleasant environment. This can be done by clapping your hands loudly every time they come near the door, or snapping your fingers, or even using a spray bottle around the area to make them move away (you don’t need to actually spray them, but cats don’t like the sound of it).
  2. Use a repellent. A good one that has been proven to work is “Nature’s Miracle® Just For Cats Pet Block Cat Repellent Spray”. This bottle is 8 FL. OZ. and reasonably priced at about $9. You can find this repellent spray at most pet stores, like PetSmart or Petco.
cat sitting outside

2. Be firm, but not mean.

It’s important to have a specific tone when reprimanding your cat. Cats can sense a change in tone if they are misbehaving. Sometimes, even an “Ouch” or high-pitched “Ow” can affect their behavior. Usually, cats learn how to control their biting or scratching by playing with others cats, and pay attention to the reactions of their friends, but this can be difficult when they are the only cat in the house. This is why you can make certain sounds that can mimic other cats to show your pet that their actions hurt and the behavior is not appropriate. Yelling or abusing your cat is not going to work. In some cases, it can make your pet more aggressive and it can be more difficult to change their behaviors moving forward.

cat high-fiving person's hand

3. Repetition is important.

You want to use similar phrases or commands to train your cat. Obviously they can’t understand what you are saying, but that doesn’t mean you should start changing what you say to them every time you are trying to train them. Additionally, you want to repeat certain tricks and actions to really get it in the cat’s mind. For example, if you are house-training your cat, you want to take them to the litter box at similar times throughout the day so they can understand that these are the actions they need to show. This can also be good to note for if you have a roommate around. It can be helpful to teach them some commands that you say to your cat so that if you are not home, they can continue on some light training.

4. Use rewards to encourage good behaviors.

cat receiving a treat

When rewarding good behavior, a surefire way to encourage said behavior is by using a reward. The typical reward is giving the cat a treat when they have displayed the taught behavior. In some cases, you could have a specific type of treat for when you are teaching your cat versus those that you give to them just because you love them! This way, when they do something you like they get an extra special treat, while they get just a regular treat when they’re being cute or when they come to you after having a treat thrown to them.

5. Stay consistent across guests and rooms.

One of the key aspects of training your cat is making sure you stay consistent. If they do something bad one day, and you reprimand them but they do it again the next day, you must reprimand them again. In order to effectively train your cat, they need to know that certain actions are unacceptable every single time they do them. Going with this thought, you want to do this in all rooms of your house, and whenever guests come over. Here are just some important things to note for both of these situations:

Different Rooms

Once you have tackled a behavior in one room, you want to move along to different rooms throughout the house. Cats need to be able to display good behaviors that they have been taught all around the area where they live. This is important to note because you could teach them good behaviors in the living room, and then when they go to your bedroom they continue to show the same bad behaviors as before. You want to put a stop to this before it’s too late, and ensure that you are being consistent in all rooms.

Guests

When having guests over, you don’t want to stop your training or reprimanding your pet. Your cat needs to know that their behavior is unacceptable regardless of who is around. If you are having friends or family over, and your cat is showing signs of bad behaviors, they must be reprimanded as if there were no guests around and it’s just the two of you. By showing your pet that you don’t let things go with others around, they are more likely to display good behaviors when you are home alone, and when you have people over.

cat cuddling with a person

6. Use time-out.

On some occasions, cats can get overstimulated and start running around excessively, and can even attack you. For something like this, a time-out can be extremely helpful! Sometimes, cats just need to be in a space with minimal stimulation to calm them down. This can be something as simple as a bathroom, or maybe your bedroom. There’s no need to lock them in for a long time or anything, but just place them in a small room and have them relax. It is also best to not be in this room while they are taking this time to compose themselves.

cat hiding under blanket