How To ‘Train’ Your Cat

Can you train a cat? In fact, you can! I have a friend who has a cat who will walk on a leash and who plays fetch – both of those were learned/taught behaviors. How can you train your cat?

  1. You need patience
  2. You need to know what motivates the cat – treats, praise
  3. You need to set aside snippets of time, several times a day

Many cat parents are happy to let their cats play with their toys, sleep the day away and play with one another. Some cat parents, though, have cats in their homes who: Scratch the couch, attack one another, lie in places where you simply don’t want them to.

 How Can A Cat Parent Train A Cat?

The first thing a cat parent needs to remember is: cats need to scratch. Scratching is not something your cat does to “get back at you” or “punish you” or to “be bad.” Cats scratch to remove dead skin from their pads and from the nails themselves. In the wild, cats scratch as a way to release their scent onto the object they’re scratching. If you have more than one cat in the house, the dominant cat will likely scratch something as a way to claim that object as his own.

 Provide Your Cat A Way To Release His Need To Scratch

When you have cats in the house, you need to have scratching posts in the house. The scratching posts should be in different rooms of the house. Offer your cat a variety of scratching post materials, including:

  1. A carpeted vertical pole
  2. A horizontal corrugated cardboard scratcher
  3. Sisal rope wrapped pole
  4. Sandpaper coated pole or scratching pad
  5. An actual log of wood

The way cats scratch is as unique as the cat herself. Some cats like to scratch on vertical surfaces, others like horizontal. Some cats will shy away from sisal while others will only use sisal and still another cat only wants to use a vertical corrugated cardboard scratching post.

 “Training” What To Scratch And What Not To Scratch

You’ve provided your cat with every type of scratching surface, horizonal, vertical and in various areas of the house, but he is still scratching the doorframe or the couch. What can you do!

Remember, cats will scratch their owners, too. If this happens you need to redirect that behavior toward your cat scratching on a post, not a person!

 Redirect his behavior with catnip spray.

As a cat parent you may not care about training your cat to fetch or to walk on a leash, but you really want your cat to stop destroying the furniture. Just as you’d use positive reinforcement methods to train a dog, you will do the same for a cat.

When she’s scratching the couch, don’t clap your hands, holler at her or spray her or any other method that is negative and could potentially scare her. Instead, place a scratching post (or two) by the furniture she’s scratching. When she starts to scratch on the couch, gently move her paws to the scratching post. If she scratches the post when you do that praise her and offer her a high-quality treat.

If you’ve sprayed the scratching post with catnip spray, she will be more likely to want to scratch it. Repeat this positive redirection of the scratching behavior until she always goes for the scratching post. Eventually you can slowly move the scratching post away from the couch and into an area of the room that you prefer.

Don’t forget to clean the scratched area of the couch to remove the scent she’d been spreading when she was scratching.

 What are other ways to use catnip oil spray?

  1. Keep spraying it on the scratching posts to keep your cats interested in them
  2. Refresh a much-loved catnip toy
  3. Use the catnip oil spray to attract the cat to the area you want her to sleep, for example. Get her out of the linen closet and onto the bed you’ve placed at the top of her cat tree.
  4. Catnip oil spray as an attractant can also be used as a way to get cats into an area where they are safer or away from dogs or puppies.

Remember, cats gotta scratch! Be patient and train them to scratch on appropriate surfaces – not your furniture or your house! – by using catnip spray to redirect her behavior.

Do your cats scratch the furniture? What have you done to train your cat to scratch appropriate items? If you need help or have great advice, we’d love to know! Share with us in the comments or on our Meowijuana Facebook page.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.

Curious About Catnip?

More Blog Posts & Helpful Information

The Top 10 Supplements to Give to Your Cat For Long-Term Health

The Top 10 Supplements to Give to Your Cat For Long-Term Health

As a cat parent, it's important to make sure your fur baby is receiving the nutrients they need to stay healthy and happy. While providing a well-balanced diet is crucial, supplements can be a great way to give your cat's health an extra boost. In this blog post, we'll discuss the top 10 supplements that you can feed your cat to promote long-term health.
5 Signs That Your Cat Is Sick

5 Signs That Your Cat Is Sick

Cats are known for being independent and self-sufficient. As a result, it can be easy to overlook the signs that they may be sick. It's important to pay attention to your feline friend's behavior and habits, as it may be an indication that something is wrong. In this blog post, we'll discuss five signs that your cat may be sick and what you can do to help them feel better.
Safe Solutions for Indoor Cats that Want to Go Outside

Safe Solutions for Indoor Cats that Want to Go Outside

Do you have an indoor cat that’s always dreaming of being outside? Or perhaps your cat is so curious they can't help but try to sneak outdoors when you open the door! Fortunately, with some creativity, dedication and proper preparation, it's possible to satisfy your kitty's outdoor desires while keeping them safe!
How to Keep Your Cat’s Litter Box Fresh & Odor Free

How to Keep Your Cat’s Litter Box Fresh & Odor Free

If you are like us, you love your cats, but hate the litter box. It can get smelly, messy and unhygienic if not maintained properly. Luckily, keeping your cat’s litter box fresh & odor free is easy if you follow some of these tips: