5 Tips For Training Your Cat That Actually Work & Won’t Make Them Hate You

by Brittany Bennett
Chris McGrath/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Cats are an independent species. They're like teenagers all the time and just want to be given space, brood in their bedroom, and have their own phone line. So it might seem counter intuitive to try and train your feline friend. But there some good tips and tricks for training your cat that actually work. Whether you want your cat to come to you when you call them (good luck) or if you just need your cat to stop scratching up your sofa, there's a way to train it to act accordingly.

Let's be real, Fuffy is not likely to sit, stay, and roll over. Cats do not have a talent show-worthy repertoire of tricks they can (or even want) showcase to an amused audience. For the most part — or at least in my experience of cat friendship — Fluffy isn't looking to be included in a show. But that doesn't mean that bad behavior has to be tolerated.

If you're concerned about the way your cat is acting and feel the need to correct it, you should first consider taking your feline friend to the doctor to rule out any medical issues that might be inspiring its need to scratch up ~every~ piece of precious furniture that you love. If everything is checking out on the medical front, it could be time to train your cat to change its behaviors. Here are a few tips for how:

Clicker Training

If your cat has an attitude problem, you might want to look into clicker training. According to Karen Pryor Clicker Training, the practice is science-based, and reinforces positive behavior with the clicking sound. (Your voice, apparently, can mean many things to a cat. A clicker is more straightforward.) The process of training your cat with a clicker is a time investment, but it's well worth it. You can read more on how to begin your clicking sessions with your cat at Karen Pryor Clicking Training.

Treats Work

I mean, I would also do things for a treat. Isn't that how our parents got most of us to complete our homework on time? Being rewarded with a treat reinforces positive behaviors.

Refrain From Punishing

Raising your voice at your cat when they've been bad will not help with training. Your cat will be confused, and learn only to fear you, which will lead to more obstacles when you attempt to train them in the future. If you're getting frustrated, take a deep breath, and approach the situation calmly.

Litterbox Training

Litterboxes. They're a thing. Some cats will let themselves outside to relieve themselves, but other cats enjoy the cozy abode of the home you've provided them with. So if your cat is all "what is this thing" when you introduce the litterbox to them, you may need to lead the way for your feline pal. According to Vet Babble, "if your cat ‘goes’ outside of the box, place the waste in the litterbox. (Sorry – needs to be done! The smell of the waste may encourage the cat to start using the box.)"

Cats are fairly hygienic creatures, so this is something they'll probably pick up on quickly.

Invest In Cat Scratchers

Stock up on them. If your cat is scratching up everything and your house looks like a scratch marked Jackson Pollock painting, you might want to simply provide your cat with things that are OK to scratch (and that is completely theirs). It can be as simple as that!