Training Tuesday

Marv came with some bad habits that we have been working on. I grew up with cats and over the years raising cats and kids, I learned how to get cats to not scratch the furniture, pee in my plants or not use the litter box. Nellie was the worst cat ever and if these worked to  turn Nellie from the worst cat EVER, to a mostly pleasant friend, I am sure they will work on Marv.

TrainingTuesday

To correct your pet’s behavior, You can’t yell at or physically punish your cat. This does not work. In fact, hitting your cat or yelling at them makes them more afraid to be around you and even likely to be fearful around you and other people. You cat can get downright aggressive and scratch and bite. They will continue the behavior that you don’t like as they know nothing will happen when you are not around.

I use remote correction. This method works by having the cat associate an unpleasant texture, smell, taste, or sound with a certain bad behavior (or behaviors) to stop your cat from doing them. There are quite a few things you can do without having to buy expensive sprays,

  1. Texture: You can put sticky paper, aluminum foil, or heavy plastic carpet runners on areas that you would like your cat to avoid. Cats generally dislike walking on any of these textures. To stop Nellie from using the fig tree pot as a litter box, we put aluminum foil in the pot on top of the dirt. When summer came around and we could drag the pot outside and repot the tree –putting in all new dirt that had not cat smell, we did not have to put foil back in – at least until Jo Jo came along…then we had to start over.
  2. Smell: Citronella, perfume, air freshener, citrus, aloe, eucalyptus oil, and oil of wintergreen are all smells that cats don’t like. Using cotton balls soaked in the areas where you don’t want the cats. We put them in the cupboard under the sink, on the mantelpiece and the top of the cupboards. You may need to periodically replace these – no matter how often we put them on top of the kitchen cupboards, Nellie would wait for the smell to die down and then head up there.
  3. Taste:  This may seem a little strange, but if you put bitter apple, citrus products, hot sauces, cayenne pepper, or aloe gel on the places where the cat likes to scratch, over time, they stop. After they scratch, they clean their paws, and after a while, they associate the bad taste with the object or surface and avoid it. With Nellie, we tried Bitter apple, Orange oil, and cayenne pepper before we finally sprayed a watered down hot sauce on the box spring.
  4. Sound: Yes, its hard not to yell, when you catch your cat in the act of peeing on the carpet or scratching the sofa, but there are more effective  solutions. You can use noises to startle your cat to stop from doing a behavior or going on a surface. Try blowing a whistle, ringing a bell, clapping your hands or shaking a can with some coins inside. These will work more effectively than your yelling. If you use the sound, instead of your voice, to startle him just as he is about to do something you consider bad behavior, soon the cat will associate the behavior with a negative sound. Nellie hated “the whistle”. It was the most effective means of stopping her from clawing the sofa.

With Marv, I’ve found clapping my hands loudly is an effective deterrent but he’s still a work in progress.

Do you do something that is effective?

25 thoughts on “Training Tuesday

  1. My human is SO lucky with us! We are basically well-behaved, and any behavior she considers “bad” isn’t bad enough to get her to try things to make us stop.

    Yes, even Binga. Although she and Sparkle did destroy the underneath part of the box springs of the old bed. Nobody touched the new (now 8 years old) bed, though.

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  2. Hari OM
    I had my angel Jasper as a kitten and used a couple of these tricks in his early months; the citronella and the taste. Worked great and he was one of those exceptionally bright cats who learned lessons once and once only! Have had other cats with less ability and who ignored even quite painful lessons. Two of those landed up under moving cars because they just wouldn’t learn… YAM xx

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  3. Angel Sammy wanted to scratch the furniture but we used the two sided sticky patches and that stopped it – in all of his years he never did a bad/inappropriate thing – he really was just a big old sweetie. Teddy has no bad behaviors – needless to say we’re thrilled about that. I think it must be tougher when you adopt a cat that’s a few years old and has been exposed to other situations – Sammy was only 6 weeks old when we got him from the shelter and Teddy was 11 months. I hope Marv will cooperate in his “re-training” – sure makes things easier when they just settle down and enjoy their environment – I think Marv is still figuring things out!! LOL

    Love, Pam

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  4. Nothing too bad here, just some scratching by me, Leia. Unfortunately Toby just can’t stretch high like he once did, due to arthritis, so his scratching is much more limited these days. Good luck with Marv.

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  5. Wow, those are some fantastic suggestions to do. The main one we have here, is peeing in different places other than the litter box. Thanks for this great post. You all have a fine day.

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  6. So far the worst I have with Katie is carpet clawing despite the MULTIPLE scratch pads and posts around here.

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    1. I bought Patzy a Ripple Rug from Chewy.com and she runs into and under it daily – scatches, plays, brings her toys in there. It is made out of recycled plastic bottles and she loves it. That and a cardboard scratcher on the floor and she doesn’t scratch anything else

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  7. Those are all great ideas/tips! Having the patience of a saint also helps ;p Which our Mama, by the way, does not have! We have a child’s upholstered antique chair that has been in the family forever that the cats have scratched to smithereens. Our Mama tried everything but nothing worked , so now she calls it a cat scratcher! ;D

    the critters in the cottage xo

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  8. I love Bear – but he’s a challenge. His misbehavior is more guided by boredom or to prove a point – I’m pretty sure he knows EXACTLY what he’s not to do – which is why he does it. I work from home – and he gets more attention from me than most people who work outside the home. Giving him dedicated play time with me every day helps. When I can, ignoring his misbehavior also seems to help – not getting the attention makes the behavior pointless. Then again, sometimes it’s a game where he keeps upping the stakes until I have to respond (like when he used to stick his paw in the toaster).

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  9. Now you did it. You gave TW ideas she didn’t already have. Nicky was terified of when she used to snap a plastic bag from the store to open it. The guy who lived upstairs from TW used to put incense sticks in plants to keep the cats out. TW is trying to break me of the habit of jumping on the table when they eat. I love anything that’s spicy so that wouldn’t work. Good luck with that. The spray bottle comes out every once in a while. Keep the faith, Marv.

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  10. My mommy tells me she is so lucky that I am a good cat. Except for me yelling at her, that is. Hahaha.

    She never has to yell at me – she just shows me something better to do before I can do the bad thing and it usually works. She just gives me plenty of toys. I swear she misplaces them though. One day I’ll have my nip nanner and cigar and the next day they have been replaced with other “new” toys. Do you think she is tricking me? Hmmm…

    Anyway, she says to pay attention (lots) to your kitty when you are home, play with them, talk to them (don’t yell) and mis-direct them to a new activity if they start being bad! My mommy is gone for 10 or more hours a day and I am not bored at all. In fact I’m pretty darn happy!

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