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Simple Training Techniques for Your Cat

Litter Box Training – Cats are naturally clean animals and will learn to use the box very quickly. When you first bring your cat home, put her/him in a long-term confinement area, outfitted with a comfortable bed, fresh water, a litter box, a scratching post and toys. Once your cat has become accustomed to its new playroom, you can allow her/him to begin to explore. It is important that you supervise your cat’s freedom initially. Once s/he has learned where to eliminate and what is OK to scratch, you can give the cat full run of the house. Click here for more information on litter box training.
Scratch Post Training – Scratch post training begins in your cat’s long-term confinement area. Draw your kitty to the post by sprinkling it with catnip and hanging toys or stuffed Kongs on it. There are also several types of flat scratching pads with attached toys to draw the cat to the pad. When your kitty first comes out of her/his long-term confinement area, you should supervise its scratching and reward your cat for using the post. If you catch your cat scratching something other than the post or pad, gently carry her/him to the correct scratching place and reward her/him when s/he scratches there.
Biting and Scratching – Rough play involving biting and scratching you is common in a cat under two years of age, especially in an only cat. Use toys – not hands – to teach your kitty the correct way to play with humans. If the cat is playing too roughly, redirect her/his attention to a toy (wrestling toys are particularly important in single-cat households). Rub the toy gently against your cat’s belly to encourage it to wrestle. If s/he continues to play roughly with you after you have redirected her/him to the toy, withdraw your attention from the cat – simply leave the room. If you pick your cat up when s/he’s misbehaving, your attention rewards the behavior. Removing yourself is the most effective way to stop misbehavior. By taking yourself out of the picture, you instantly stop the fun.
Nail Clipping – Gently handle your cat’s paws on a regular basis to prepare her/him for claw clipping. With clipper in hand, slowly massage the cat’s pad, and present a tasty treat. When your cat becomes comfortable with you handling its paw, place your thumb on the back of the paw, your index finger on the pad, and squeeze the pad gently. This causes the cat to reveal its claws. Clip the sharp tips of the nails, being careful to avoid the pink quick. Don’t forget to give a treat.
Recall Training – Even your indoor cat should come to you when you call. With a tasty treat in hand, summon your cat. Have her/him follow you from room to room before presenting the treat.
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