Cat Training: Most Owners Do This Wrong

Cats are the most popular pets in the world – yet they are often considered mysterious and unpredictable. Your animal world will tell you why this is not true and what you have to consider when training a cat.

Cats are more popular in Germany than any other animal species: In 2019, 14.7 million cats were kept in Germany, and almost every fourth household has a cat. That comes from the data of the industry association pet supplies.

Then we should be pretty familiar with cats by now, right? In fact, tripping hazards creep in quickly when dealing with velvet paws … Here you get an overview of the things that you should absolutely avoid when training a cat:

Punishment in Raising Cats

Your cat pees on the bed, scratches your sofa, or behaves differently than it should in any other way? Many then instinctively choose punishment as an educational measure. For example, by spraying the cat with a water gun. But why this is not the right way in cat education, cat behavior consultant Christine Hauschild explains to Tasso.

First of all, the punishment can have possible side effects, such as the following:

  • The cat becomes afraid of you, other things, or living beings;
  • Your cat doesn’t know which behavior is right;
  • The undesirable behavior is spread to other objects or rooms;
  • In order to get your attention, your cat will show undesirable behavior more often.

Instead, you should try to understand your cat’s behavior. Instead of judging them from a human point of view, you should research the needs behind them. For example, cats pee on the bed because they feel safer in elevated places and the bedding absorbs urine well.

If you know why your cat is behaving this way, you can offer them alternatives. And as close as possible to the location of the undesired occurrence. Instead of focusing on your cat’s “flaws”, it is better to praise them when they do what they want.

Praise, pats, and treats are much more promising than punishment in cat education.

Overfeed the Cat

It is tempting to just give in when the cat begs you for food with wide eyes. Even so, cat owners have to learn to be steadfast in these moments. Overweight cats can quickly develop joint problems or diabetes. So you are only doing your cat’s health good if you do not feed more than is appropriate. Finally, you want to spend as much time as possible with a healthy, happy cat.

Misinterpreting Signals From the Cat

Cats are often considered unpredictable – for example if you stroke them and they suddenly slap your hand or hiss at you. The supposedly violent reaction often doesn’t come all that suddenly. By tensing its muscles, twitching its tail, or averting its gaze, the cat signals in advance that it is currently annoyed.

However, unlike other cats, humans are often unable to correctly interpret these subtle signs. This is precisely why you should try to closely observe and analyze your cat’s behavior. Often you will also find clues in it about whether your cat is stressed or sick.

Use Products That are Not for Cats

Speaking of sick: Medicines for humans – such as aspirin – or tick repellants for dogs can be fatal for cats. Therefore only treat your cat with products that are expressly intended for cats. If in doubt, just ask your vet whether the respective product is safe.

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