Your Cats Claws and Teeth
Your cat has sharp claws and sharp teeth. They can do a great deal of damage in a very short period of time, and of course, they can also inflict a great deal of pain. You can’t pull your cats teeth out – he needs them and declawing is inhumane. Cat Training 101 : Using Associations
Instead, your cat must learn when it is and is not appropriate to use his claws and his teeth, and again, this is often learned by association. Unfortunately, many cat owners don’t apply the association technique in the right way, and training your cat not to chew or scratch the furniture, you or other surfaces often fails.
Cat Training 101 : Associations
Let’s look at some of the techniques used. First, there is the famous spray bottle. The idea is that when your cat scratches the furniture – or does anything else that you don’t like – you squirt him with water. Cat Training 101 : Using Associations
Think about association for just a moment. Did the couch squirt the cat with water, or did you do that? If you did that, and the cat knows that you did that, he associates the water squirting with you, and not the couch. You have accomplished nothing other than making your cat more wary of you.The only way that this technique works is if you do it in a way where the cat believes the water squirting (negative result) actually came from the surface he was scratching or chewing
You must provide some means for the cat to associate this scratching, chewing, or biting with something negative. At the same time, however, you must realize that these are natural instincts for the cat. He needs these activities for his well being. This means that while you provide a negative outcome for scratching and chewing some surfaces, you need to provide a positive outcome for scratching or chewing other surfaces…such as a scratching pad or scratching post.
First, let’s look at how you can make your leather couch unattractive to your cat. You can cover it with foil or plastic. You also can put double sided tape on it. Attach inflated balloons to the area. Spray your furniture with a cat deterrent.
There are many cat deterrent sprays on the market. They include bitter apple, bitter orange, or Cayenne Pepper all work very well. Cats hate these things, and will try to avoid those smells. You, of course, will also have to live with the smells in your furniture, at least until the cat knows where he is supposed to scratch and chew.
Now that you’ve made some areas unattractive for the cat, you must make other areas more pleasing, so that his natural instincts can be satisfied without aggravating you or destroying your things. Cat Training 101 : Using Associations
Just as there are smells and tastes that are not pleasing to your cat, there are also smells and tastes that he absolutely adores. Grass and catnip are favorites, and these are often used as a substitute for plant chewing. Rubbing catnip on surfaces where you want your cat to scratch is also recommended.
Cats also have preferences when it comes to textures. Just as they hate tape, plastic, and foil, they also hate plush carpeting. They like smoother surfaces – which is why they are so attracted to your leather couch. They also like surfaces that they can scratch, without getting their nails caught in the fabric.
Noise is also beneficial. There are some noises that attract cats, like jingling bells, but there are other noises that scare them. Any loud, sudden noise can scare a cat, and for drapes, you can use a door knob alarm that emits a loud sound when the curtain or drape moves – like it does when your cat is climbing up it. This works for some favorite furniture scratching points as well.
Cat Training 101 : Using Associations
The important thing to remember here is that for everything you don’t want your cat to do, there must be something that he can do. It’s a give and take kind of situation if that helps to clarify it in your mind. If you take something away, you must give him an alternative in return. Otherwise, he isn’t getting what he naturally needs from the environment that you have put him in. Cat Training 101 : Using Associations
Using Associations To Your Advantage
A special problem is your cat using you as a scratching post or a chew toy. He simply likes the way that you smell, and the way that you taste. It’s an odor and a taste that he associates with something good – he loves you. There is a good side and a bad side to this, however.
The good side is that when you want your cat to scratch and chew in a particular spot, you should scratch it yourself and make sure that you get your scent all over it. He will come behind you to mingle his scent with yours…because he loves you.
The bad side, however, is that it hurts when he chews and scratches you. Here, you want him to associate his action with pain – not his pain…your pain. Experts suggest to make the same sound that a cat makes when he gets hurt. It’s a sharp, short, loud meow or yowl. This will scare him to the point where he stops what he is doing, but it will also let him know – in cat speak – that he is hurting you, and believe it or not, that is never his intention. Cat Training 101 : Using Associations
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