According to folklore, cats have been favorite pets since ancient Egyptians created a catlike, folklore god, Atum-Ra. At times cats were treated like members of the Egyptian royal family and have been used for temple guards. Many cat lovers believe cats still have that “Guardian of the Temple” attitude.
Can Cats Be Trained?
Cats can be trained to be happy members of your family, but you will have to learn how cats think and what governs their behavior. First, you have to abandon the practices you used when training your dog. The same training techniques will not work on a cat.
Cat behavior problems are often not so much a “problem”, but their way of telling you that they need something. They might stop using their litter box, start biting you, or begin scratching all your furniture. Even more dangerous activities could include chewing cords and eating your plants.
Yelling or hitting your cat will only train them to fear you and your family members. Who can blame them? No one likes to be yelled at or hit.
Cats, however, will associate positive reactions with positive behavior and avoid those behaviors that generate loud anger or scary actions from you. Never forget that some natural cat behavior is instinctive to them and not the result of willful behavior. Your task is to either provide positive options to end the errant behavior, or to take measures that protect your cat and stop the behavior.
Litter Box Problems
Cats and their litter boxes can attract a lot of behavior-modifying attention from you. When cats skip their litter box to urinate, they are notifying you that there is a problem. While you may have heard that your reaction should be to rub the cat’s nose in the misplaced urine, this will only terrify the cat. Consider moving the litter box, or changing the litter more often, or getting a different brand. Some litter box products can actually hurt a cat’s feet or may smell strange to them.
It Could Be Fear
Your cat might seem fearless to you, but they are often afraid of strange objects, dogs or other cats and small children. Watch their body language for crouching. Scared cats will tuck their tail in or flatten it against their body. Their ears will be laid back. In order to head off some misbehavior on your cat’s part, remove whatever scared him. Leave him alone and he will find you when he has regained his composure.
Watch for Body Language
The obvious message for you here is to watch your cat and notice the signals of approaching “bad” behavior. When cats are bothered by something you are doing to them, even if you mean it to be positive, their tail will start to twitch and their ears will either lay back or start flicking. When you see these signals, stop what you are doing because these are warnings that your cat is about to bite you.
When cats “misbehave”, it is often a language problem between you and your cat. For the most part, they really do want to please you. Learning what they are trying to say can be a big help.