Discipline and house-training your cat

The cat is a naturally clean animal who, in adult life, tends to almost ‘bust’ rather than displease. If it makes a mess for any reason other than enforced confinement, don’t delay in consulting your veterinary surgeon.

A kitten may be quickly house-trained by providing a Utter-tray filled with sand, dry earth or, better still, specially prepared cat litter available from most pet shops and chemists. Put kitty on the litter-tray after each meal and/or mistake and it will soon adopt the tray as its special toilet. But you must clean it out every day; otherwise, puss won’t use it; and, when disinfecting, don’t use carbolic, which is dangerous for cats. When puss is old enough to go out of doors the tray can be discarded. However, many flat dwellers have a litter-tray as a permanent fixture. You don’t have to have a garden to keep a cat!

Your pet must be trained not to sharpen its claws on the furniture by shouting a loud ‘NO each time it starts to do so. If it is able to get into the garden it will most likely use a tree. If you are an apartment dweller, a scratching post may be bought from a pet shop.

Incidentally, you must never, ever, smack a cat – not to be confused with a playful pat in fun. Punishment of this type may cause the pet serious injury. And it won’t serve your purpose. The cat will merely be resentful.

House Training Kittens

Having had a good meal, a short sleep and used the litter tray, the kitten will go out and about looking for trouble. This may include scratching the furniture or digging at the carpet. These bad habits should be discouraged from the outset. If necessary a short piece of wood, particularly pine with the bark still on, should be offered as a scratching post; an alternative is to tack some sacking-round a post. All misdemeanours should be dealt with by scolding rather than smacking. Kittens soon learn a disciplinary tone of voice and will respond to it. In addition, they dislike sudden noises like hand-clapping and this will often frustrate a stealthy creep towards food on the table or in the larder.

It is commonly thought that cats cannot be trained. If a kitten is taught early enough it can be made to chase balls and even retrieve them and to enjoy other games like racing along and leaping into paper bags or through encircled arms. It is not unusual, particularly on the continent of Europe, to see kittens being taught to walk on a lead attached to a collar. A collar is quite acceptable, provided that it has a section of elastic in it to allow the collar to pull over the head if it gets caught in a tree branch. A collar has the further advantage of being able to accommodate an identity tag.

Unlike that of dogs, there are very few do’s and don’ts in the training of cats. Their instinct to use a litter tray or a corner of the garden makes house training very easy. Sometimes however it is necessary to persuade a cat to avoid making holes in the vegetable garden or among favourite flowers. This is best done in the early stages by using the litter box. This should be moved nearer and nearer to the door, then put outside, and finally placed in a corner of the garden where you wish the cat to continue using the natural soil. This will get the training off to a good start and develop habits which, hopefully, will last a lifetime. It is unhappily impossible to train cats not to cross main roads as their natural curiosity overcomes even their built-in fear of strange places.

Cat Spraying

A cat may spray with urine in order to mark its territory. This is much more likely in unneutered males, though, it is not unknown for neutered cats of either sex to spray if Feeling particularly threatened – for example, when a newcomer is introduced into the home. This is one of the reasons that it is recommended that toms which are not going to be used for breeding should be neutered early in life.

Q. How can I tell if a cat has sprayed rather than urinating normally?

The cat stands up to spray, rather than crouching, so small drops of urine will be found a few centimetres from the ground – against the wall, say, or perhaps on your valuable chair.

Q. I have an entire male cat, which sprays all over the place. Will it stop if I have it neutered?

Cat SprayingOne of the reasons for neutering toms which are not intended for breeding is to prevent spraying. If they are neutered late in life, though, this may not stop them spraying, though it will not smell quite as bad! Is there anything the vet can do to stop a cat spraying? He may be able to recommend a treatment with hormones, for either neutered or entire cats.

Tile problem of a cat marking its territory by spraying urine is most common in an entire male cat. Spraying is not totally unknown, though, in neutered cats of either sex, particularly if they feel anxious or threatened. It is more common, too, in a household where there is more than one cat. Entire female cats are more likely to spray in the breeding season.

CLEANING UP

If the cat has sprayed in the house, you must clean the area thoroughly. Quite apart from dealing with the unpleasant smell (and a tomcat’s urine is the most pungent of all!), leaving it will only encourage the cat to do it again to reinforce its scent. A strong solution of biological detergent in hot water should deal with the smell, followed by alcohol or vinegar.

  • There is no known deterrent for spraying, but you can try to feed the cat as near as possible to the sprayed area because cats rarely soil close to their feeding area. You
  • might also try aversion therapy, using a water pistol. The only sure way, though, is to shut the cat out of the room until it has stopped.
  • Rubbing a cat’s nose in its sprayed urine will only encourage it to do it again.
  • An unneutered tom may spray in dozens of different places all around his territory. This is as natural to him as sneezing, and there’s nothing you can do to prevent him.
  • Tomcats get into a lot of fights, so keen are they to service all the local females and protect their territory. This can mean a lot of torn ears for the cat and vets’ bills for you.

Cat Hygiene – Training Your Cat To Be Clean

Training your cat to be clean is no that difficult as cats are clean animals by nature and most of them can be successfully house-trained by the time they are eight weeks old. Kittens are usually taught by their mothers to be clean from the age of about three weeks, but there are a number of things that you can do to offer a helping hand. Be firm, consistent and, above all, don’t punish a cat that has an ‘accident’. It won’t do any good and it may cause your cat to question its trust in you.

Cats are usually fastidiously clean. Kittens learn how to keep themselves clean from watching their mothers, but owners can introduce kittens to a litter tray once they are a few weeks old.

Cat HygieneIf kittens spent all their time outside on soft earth, they wouldn’t need toilet training. Their urge to use a customary place and to dig and bury their faeces is an inborn one. They cannot, however, do this if they have nothing in which to dig, and cats that live on hard floors, will relieve themselves anywhere.

TOILET TRAINING A CAT

Provide a litter tray in a secluded spot from the age of two and a half weeks or they will soon establish their own location – a habit which may then be hard to break. The mother cat may pick up the kittens and place them in the tray hut, failing that, you should do it. The best time is after meals.

ACCIDENTS MAY HAPPEN

If your kitten has an accident, clean the area thoroughly with hot water and disinfectant. Apply white vinegar or a special-purpose chemical from a pet shop to remove the smell, or the kitten may be attracted by its own scent and use the area again.

If the kitten is allowed outside, choose a period of dry weather and move the litter tray progressively nearer the outside. Provide and teach it how to use a cat flap so it may go in and out.

Q. My cat knows how to be clean, but since the recent arrival of a new cat she often pees on the carpet. Why?

She’s reacting to the new arrival by marking her territory. Clean the soiled area thoroughly and remove all trace of her scent. You can also try feeding her close to the soiled area as a cat will rarely soil close to where she eats.

Q. My cat consistently refuses to use her litter tray. Why?

Maybe the litter is not being changed often enough, or perhaps the tray’s location is wrong. Try moving it to a quiet spot, as cats are very keen on their privacy.

Q. Should I rub a kitten’s nose in its urine or droppings after an accident?

No. It may associate that area with the scent and come to regard it as its permanent ‘toilet’.

  • An orphaned kitten is more difficult to house train.
  • Cat litter was invented by an American, Edward Lowe, in 1947. His discovery made a huge difference for the growing number of urban cat owners.
  • Cats bury their faeces in the wild in order to conceal their presence from predators.

Cat Training – Establishing a routine for your cat

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One of of the key aspects of cat training is establishing a routine. If you get this right then a lot of the other aspects of training a cat fall into place quite easily.

It is often said that people are creatures of habit — but the same is also true of cats. The happy result of this is that it is easy to persuade your cat to adopt a fairly strict routine, which makes your life a lot easier to organise. In most cases, establishing a routine with your cat seems to work with such clockwork precision that it is hard to believe that your cat does not have a watch although, even if it did, it wouldn’t be able to tell the time!

A lot of people have a builtin-clock and are therefore not particularly surprised when their cat displays a similarly good sense of time.

What is perhaps more surprising is that cats seem to be able to keep track of a time period longer than 24 hours. In the majority of households, their owners get up early on Monday to Friday, when they have to go to work, but sleep in at the weekends. Many cats appear to be able to deal with this change in routine, and are able to allow their owners an hour or two extra before they demand their breakfast. However, on Monday morning, it’s back to the week’s normal routine.

Cats have a remarkably efficient sense of time, with the result that they seem to know when it’s time to get up, when it’s time for breakfast, when it’s time to go out, when it’s time to come home, when it’s time to have supper, when it’s time to go to bed, and so on.

Many cats even know when it’s time for their owner to come home from work and will be sitting on the doorstep, waiting, when they return.

CREATURES OF HABIT

Cats are, in fact, remarkably keen on regularity in their lives. A cat that roams free will visit its favourite places in a set order, hunting at particular times and sleeping at others. It is hardly surprising, then, that a house cat will accept the schedules that are imposed on it by its owner so readily, nor that it is so keen for those schedules to be maintained.

FELINE ALARM CLOCK

This will be a familiar situation to every cat owner, who will most probably confirm that, since they have had a cat, they no longer need an alarm clock. If Tiddles is accustomed to being fed at 7.30am, he will be scratching on the bedroom door at 7.00am.

Cats seem to be able to count. A mother cat will notice if one of her kittens is missing, rather like a schoolteacher checking that all her charges are present.

If a cat is used to sleeping on its owner’s bed, it may come and `fetch’ its owner at what it considers to be its usual bedtime.

Cats’ schedules do not change at different times of the year, so it is the time, rather than whether it is dark or light, that dictates their behaviour.

Considering cats can be insistent about routines, it’ll make life easier if you have a cat flap so that they can come and go at the appropriate times.

Cat Training – Cats Living Together

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Cat training is vital when introducing new cats. Not such a problem when cats that have been raised together from a young age — particularly siblings — are more likely to be happy growing up together. Bear in mind that not all cats like the company of other cats.

People often think it’s a good idea to get two cats so that they can keep each other company, especially if they are out all day.

Cats are sociable animals, but they are also very territorial. You need to be careful if you plan to introduce a new cat into the home where one is already in residence. Bear in mind the ages of the cats involved. An older cat that is well established in the home, for example, may not take kindly to a playful kitten as a companion.

Some cat owners feel it is a good idea to keep two cats, so that they can keep each other company. People are especially likely to decide that this is best if they are out at work for most of the day and they feel sorry for their cat. If you introduce a new cat into the home when you already have an established pet cat, there may well be problems. It is possible that two cats can learn to tolerate each other under these circumstances, though they may not be the best of friends. In fact, cats are far more likely to get on together if they are raised with each other or if they are siblings.

FELINE LONERS?

It is a commonly held view that cats are solitary, selfish animals, coming together only to fight and mate. This is fairly true of cats in the wild, but is not exactly true of domestic cats. Unlike dogs, cats are not pack animals, although they do organise themselves into social groups. Whereas they can enjoy the companionship of other cats, they are also highly territorial animals. Once a cat has become a pet in a home it will naturally feel territorial about its environment and its owners. It will not necessarily take kindly to suddenly having to share its home and its owner with another strange cat. It is better to have two siblings, or raise two kittens together; they stand the best chance of accepting one another’s rights, and of forming a lasting relationship.

One of the advantages for a cat living together with another feline is that if they ever have to be boarded out at a cattery, they will at least have a familiar cat with them. Being boarded out at a cattery can be a very stressful experience, and a companion they are used to may ease the strain.

Unrelated cats grow up happily if they are introduced at a young age.

Cats generally prefer to avoid each other and thus keep out of trouble.

The Lion is the only truly social wild cat, living in packs called prides.

The only lasting relationship that occurs naturally between cats is that between a mother cat and her kittens, though even this is not long lasting and doesn’t usually last beyond puberty. If you have a problem cat, click here.