There are many people who say that they prefer to have a dog instead of a cat because they say that they are smarter and can be trained. Dog training may be easier than cat training, but this is mainly due to the fact that many people instinctively know how to train a dog, be it from watching television or from having dogs. Since people do not normally train kittens, we think of it as hard. Cats are, in fact, easily trainable and very smart. You just need to know how to speak their language.
Everybody has heard the saying “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks”. This isn’t 100% true. You can teach an old dog new tricks, it is just more difficult and take longer. Similarly, you can also teach an old cat tricks, you just need to have the patience to do so.
As an example, if you have taken in a stray, older cat, you may need to train it to use the litter box. This will be much more difficult to do then as the kitty has been allowed to go as it pleases for its entire life. A kitten is normally trained within the first couple weeks of their life. If this is what you want to do then:
- Position the litter box in your bathroom, or wherever you plan on keeping it-preferably a small room
- Remove any soft surfaces from the floor-like carpets. The cats will always prefer to pee on this!
- Also make sure there is nothing in the bathroom which will pick up the cat’s scent
- Bring the kitty to the litter box and place her in it, you may also wish to scratch her paws into the litter to let her know what it is for
- It may take multiple times in order to get the cat to actually use the box
- Once the kitty has used the box, be sure to praise her and give her cat treats as a reward
Another training hurdle you may need to face with an older cat training is introducing them to a new cat or kitten. Older kitties can get easily annoyed by the energy and curiosity of a young kitten. While the older cat is getting used to having another kitty around, it is essential that you spend time with both of them. Cats may become jealous easily. To minimize the jealousy, you can provide them with separate litter boxes and separate feeding bowls. They may wish to try each other’s food and litter, as long as one isn’t on a special diet, this is okay.
Other things you may need for adult cat training is: