Can you train a cat not to . . . (fill in the blank)?

Like all animals, cats are more likely to repeat positive experiences than negative ones. However, if what they enjoy is raking their claws down your expensive couch, some different kinds of positive reinforcement need to come into play.

Catching your kitten in the act of doing something she’s not supposed to is tricky. Cats often know when they are misbehaving. Reprimanding after the fact is unlikely to produce change, because your cat will not associate her bad behavior with your punishment. Instead, she might just learn to distrust you.

Here are some tips from the experts to (cat)nip bad behavior in the bud:

  • Creating a nurturing environment is the first step towards changing misbehavior problems. Be sure to couple that with rewards every time you catch your kitten doing something good. Changing your reward patterns can help change your cat’s behavior.
  • Sometimes cats will misbehave when they feel neglected, so set aside play time every day for you and your kitten. That daily interaction can clear up a whole host of troubles.
  • A bored kitten will find ways to entertain herself. So make sure your cat has plenty of alternatives to clawing the couch or climbing the drapes. Set out different toys each day, and put others away for another time.

What kind of activities do you do with your cat to distract it from clawing your couch?

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