Cat Training Tips

Read these 27 Cat Training Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Cat tips and hundreds of other topics.

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What is a home formula for removing pet odors?

Odor removing tips

One of the most effective formulas I've found for removing ANY odor was from Popular Science Magazine.
Mix 1 quart of Hydrogen Peroxide, with 1/4 cup of Baking Soda, and one tablespoon of liquid dishwashing soap. Saturate the affected area, rinse thoroughly with clean water, and the smell is gone. This is non-toxic and safe for your animals and children, and those with allergies. This is especially helpful for removing skunk odor from your outdoor animals.
As always, test a small portion of fabric for color fastness, before treating a large area.

   
My cat is going everywhere, how do I stop him?

Steps to Re-Train Kitty

Kitty has decided to use something other than the box for his 'business.' Don't throw him outside, just take some steps to retrain him.
1. Try to find out why he stopped using the box, or began using other places. Is he stressed out over a major change in the home? Does he have a urinary infection? Is he spraying or urinating? (He will squat to urinate. If he is standing up to 'urinate,' he is spraying/marking his territory. There are other tips to cover this.) Whatever the reason, you must take steps to remove the stressor, or help Kitty manage his stress.
1a. With urinary infections, you will need to follow your vet's instructions, but also ask about UI Maintenance foods, your water quality, and any other things you should do to help your Kitty recover.
2. NEVER DISCIPLINE A CAT FOR MISTAKES. This will lead to other behavior problems. Instead, work on retraining him.
3. Clean all of the accidents with more than plain soap and water. Check Odor Removers Section for better formulas and products to clean pet stains.
4. Add another sand box to the household in a place different than the other boxes. Show Kitty this new box, and praise him for investigating it, but don't expect him to use it right then.
5. Replace the old sandbox and sand. Kitty may have stopped using the old sandbox, not because you couldn't keep it clean, but because the plastic box retains odors.
6. Give your Kitty lots of praise and affection around the new boxes, so he will want to please you, by using the boxes.
7. If he continues to use one particular spot, place a sandbox in that spot and slowly move it to a location you can be satisfied with. This is a last resort measure, because it could take several months to move the box.

   
How do I stop my kitty from ´going´ in the same spot on the carpet?

Gentle Behavior Modification

Kitty keeps returning to the scene of an 'accident' to do her buisness. The first step to retraining her is to clean the area with an Odor Removing Formula from the other tips section. The second step is to change her attitude about that area.
Try storing her toys on top of the 'accident spot.' Cats don't like to soil their whole home, and by putting her toys on the accident area, she will instinctively not use this area.
Thanks to member Callie for this tip.

   
What can I use to help remove urine smells?

Urine odor

To remove the smell of urine from just about anything, first clean it with some sort of soap or kitchen cleaner. Then clean it with lemon juice. If you dont like the smell of lemon juice follow it up with a little bit of vanilla extract.

   
My kitty seems to be tinkling everywhere, what´s wrong with him?

He's going everywhere!

If your cat seems to be tinkling anywhere and everywhere, this could be more of a health problem than discipline. (Cat's squat to urinate; they stand up to spray/mark their territory.) Urinary infections in cats are very similar to humans: they need to go more often-sometimes so suddenly that they can't get to the sandbox. Another indication of UI is discolored urine, indicating blood in the urine. One last indication of UI is a very strong, acrid smelling urine.
Take your kitty to the vet if you suspect UI, it is easily treated.

   
How should I correct a misbehaving kitty?

Correcting a Bad Kitty

Yelling and screaming at the cat is the worst way to correct bad behavior.

The best way to correct bad behavior is to eliminate the factor that motivates or initates the behavior. If the cat enjoys playing with some particular item, hide it for several weeks. If he is curious about something, explore it with him so you can control his reactions.

If he continues to misbehave, use a specific loud noise to startle him. I mimic the sound of a game show buzzer. I have read that a low growl from you will turn your kitty around. Although that would work for me, our cats ignored my husband. As a last resort, a water gun, or spray bottle will deter bad behavior. NOTE: Use these sparingly, or they will cease to have their effectiveness. Eliminating the behavior motivitator is the better answer.

   
How do I stop my cat from soiling a chair/bed?

Change her attitude about a spot

Kitty got mad at someone in the house and soiled a chair or a bed. The first thing to do is clean the
spot(s) with an Odor Removing Formula. The next step is to change her attitude about that area.
Start giving Kitty lots of attention and affection in the area she soiled. Cats don't like to soil their entire home, and by giving her attention in a soiled spot, you are convincing her that this is not a sand box replacement area.
Thanks to Callie for this wonderful tip.

   
How should I correct a misbehaving kitty?

Misbehaving

If your cat is doing something it shouldn't be doing, you can use a spray mist bottle filled with cold water to "mist" them.

I recommend being several feet away so that your cat does not associate the spray with you, rather it should associate the spray with the plant or whatever it was messing with.

   
How do I retrain my cat to use the litter box?

Rug Protectors

This idea is from one of our members-Callie. Although I've never used it, I believe it is a good tip.
Kitty has chosen a spot (outside his box) to do his buisness. You've cleaned the spot with an Odor Remover Formula (found in the other tips section), now you need to retrain him to use the box. One step is to place an office rug protector (plastic mat with little knob/spikes on the bottom) upside down over Kitty's spot. The knobs will be uncomfortable on his paws and deter him from using his old spot.

   
What is the first step in litter box training a kitten?

Sand Box Training 101

When training kittens for the sandbox: be consistent, and constantly alert. Take the kitten to the sandbox at these times: after they wake up from a nap and several minutes after they start playing, after every meal, and every couple of hours through the day. Kittens are much like children, they don't know they need to 'go' until the opportunity is presented to them. If you consistantly take the kitten to the sandbox, the kitten will learn that you want them to use this particular box for their business.

   
How do you train a cat to walk on a leash?

Training to use a Leash/Lead

The only people I've ever heard of that trained a cat to walk on a leash either started the training when they were very young kittens; or they were at home all the time to work extensively with the adult cat.

I don't recommend using a 'dog' collar and leash on a cat; due to their physiology and muscle structure, I recommend a full body harness.

The first thing you must do is to desensitize your kitty to the harness and leash by first playing with kitty using the harness and leash. Leave the harness out for several days/weeks so that Kitty is not afraid of it.

The next step is to put the harness on kitty, but he/she won't like that so you must slowly increase the time you leave the harness on to desensitize Kitty to this 'unnatural' feeling. Start with just a few seconds, then increase the time a few seconds a day until Kitty doesn't think anything of the harness. Always follow 'harness training' with a food treat, so Kitty will associate a good thing with wearing the harness.

Once Kitty will wear the harness with out too many complaints, you can start the same process with the leash as you used the harness. Slowly increase the time the leash is attached to the harness until Kitty is fairly nonchalant with the leash. Always follow a leash/harness training session with a food treat to reinforce a positive reaction with the training.

Once Kitty is comfortable with both the harness and the leash, then you can take Kitty outside for the first walk.

I don't recommend trying to use the harness and leash until Kitty is completely trained, otherwise Kitty could panic and try to escape. The leash could get caught on something and cause even more panic, which is when most kitties can get seriously injured.

   
How do I train my cat to use the Pet Door?

Kitty still cries to be let out/in

Kitty has learned how to use the Pet Door, but still cries to be let in or out, from time to time.
That could be a signal your Kitty wants some attention from you.
When Kitty cries to be let in or out, ALWAYS, pop open the Pet Door to judge his reaction.
If he refuses to go out, then pick him up and give him affection, but do not open the big door.
If he refuses to come in by the Pet Door, peak out to make certain he isn't hurt or unable to use the door. Then pop open the Pet Door and encourage him to use it. When he is inside, give him praise and affection for using the door.
I stress this again, don't use corrective measures if your cat doesn't use the Pet Door. Positive re-inforcement is a much better means for this type of behavior modification.

   
How do I train my cat to use the toilet?

Training Kitty to use the Toilet

There are kits available to train your cat to use the toilet, as opposed to a litter box, and I suggest that you try the major pet store chains, and online.

This training can be acheived, but it will require much more patience, persistance, and consistency on your part, because you will be training two different actions to coincide with each other. If you have more than one cat, you have to do this with multiple cats, who will all respond differently to the training.

It works best if you have more than one bathroom, one for the humans, and one for the cats.

The kit consists of a plastic tray that you fit over the porcelain lip of the toilet, and lower the seat over the tray. You fill the tray with cat sand and follow all my regular Litter Box Training tips. Then you gradually stop filling it with sand, and then remove the tray completely.

At the same time, you must start restricting the availability of your kitty's regular litter box. And you CANNOT use corrective measures on your cats for missing a litter box, since you have restricted their access to it. Corrective measures will only confuse your cat, or worse, destroy his desire to please you.

   
What all should I use to litter box train a kitten?

Sandbox Training 103

If possible, when you choose your new kitten, ask the previous owner for a couple spoonfuls of dirty sand from the sandbox. You can carry it in an old plastic butter tub, or something similar. The sanitary unpleasantness of this is overshadowed by the ease of training for your new kitten to it's new sandbox. If the kitten smells familiar dirty sand in it's new box, she will not hesitate to use the box.

   
I´ve washed the pet stain, and my pet still uses that spot, why?

What Won't Work....

There are many home remedies for treating pet stains and odors, and let me stress that most of them are not too bad as far as removing odors for humans' noses.
Vinegar, amonia, baking soda, laundry detergents, lemon juice, fabric softeners, and commercial strength pet stain removers are all great for removing the odors that humans can smell.
HOWEVER; you will need more to remove the odor for your cat's nose. An enzymatic cleaner is the best answer, but it is slow and may take more than one application. (Nature's Miracle is one of them.)
The Hydrogen Peroxide/Baking Soda combo is fast, but can alter the colors of some fabrics.
In the end, you must decide which application is best for your situation.

   
How do I train my cat to use the Pet Door?

Pet Door Exit and Entry Training

Once you introduced Kitty to the Pet Door, put him on the opposite side of the pet door and rattle his food bowl, run the can opener, shake the bag of crunchy cat food... what ever sound he responds to when you feed him.
Place some food near the pet door, so he can smell it. After he starts talking to let him in, pop open the pet door so he can see there is an opening for him to get to his food.
Always give him plenty of praise and affection for doing the things you want him to do during this early phase of training.
Don't use corrective measures-of any kind-in reference to your Kitty's reluctance to use the Pet Door. This is one instance where positive re-inforcement for good behaviors will go much farther to acheiving positive results.

   
How can I involve my pets in work?

Taking your pet to work

If you are interested in taking your pet to work, some companies do allow that and it works fairly well. They are mostly small companies, and the employees and customers enjoy the interaction with the animals. Plus the pets are more relaxed, being with their humans, rather than being alone at home all day. Talk to your employer to see if it can be arranged. If not all week, maybe they would consider one day a week.

   
My cat is going everywhere, how do I stop him?

He's stopped using the box!

A cat's sense of smell is highly sensitive. Although they return to the same place they have been before to eliminate their waste, they will find a new place if the old one smells too strong.
Plastic can retain odors; your cat can smell those odors even if you can't. If Kitty has stopped using the box, even if you keep it clean, it could be that he can smell the odors from the box. You can try to clean the box with the Odor Removing formula from the other Tips sections, or you can try purchasing a new box. Remember that the cat can smell things you can't so most cleaners will be too strong for your cat's nose, causing him to turn away from the box.

   
How should I correct a misbehaving kitty?

Imposing Discipline

Ensure your cat is well behaved by disciplining it as a kitten: if discipline is left until adulthood,
it will be a much more difficult task.
You should never try to discipline your cat using pain, or humiliation (rubbing it's nose in an accident).

One method of correcting behavior is with a spray bottle; one other is a gentle tap on the nose.

   
How do I switch my cat from an indoor litter box to outdoors?

From Indoor to Outdoor

Some Cat-tips users have asked how to train a kitty who is Litter Box Trained, to go outside to do their business. This is what I recommend.

1. Put a second litter box outside by your back door, so Kitty has her choice of boxes. (understand, though, that once you put a litter box outside, other kitties will use it to mark their territory. so you will need to change that one a little more often.) Add some dirt to the litter in this box, to encourage her to use the 'dirt' for a litter box as well.
2. Scoop up some of her 'dirty litter' and solid waste from her old box, and put in in the new box, so she will understand what it is for. Introduce her to the new box, and give her lots of praise and affection for investigating the new box. Don't expect her to use it in front of you, just let her check it out and back away.
3. Leave her current indoor box in place. You don't want her to have accidents on the carpet during the training phase. And you may want to leave a box there all the time anyway. Potty Training is a delicate operation, and once they have learned to use a box, then you don't want to tinker with that training or it could set up a whole new set of problems. So, for now, leave her indoor box in place.
4. After a couple of weeks, start putting citrus rinds in her indoor box. Lemon, orange, grapefruit, lime: put those types of fresh rinds in her indoor box, to discourage her from using it. Cats don't like the smell of citrus rinds. BUT YOU MUST BE THERE ALL THE TIME TO HEAR HER CRIES TO GO OUTSIDE.
5. After a few more weeks, and you notice that she doesn't use her indoor box at all, then you can take it away.

But my best suggestion is to leave an indoor Litter Box in place. I respect the distaste of the odors it causes, but Litter Box Training is very critical and trying to tinker with that training could set up more disasters.

I've had much better results with the scoopable litter and enclosed boxes. I put mine under the bathroom sinks to control the odor, but I've also used covered litter boxes with good results. You can prop the door under the sink open, or install a petdoor (see my section on Litter Box Blues for other details.)

My thoughts are that this indoor box is a much better choice for Kitty than boarding her when you must be gone overnight. And if you were to leave her outside while you must be gone overnight, this will encourage her to leave permanently since YOU left her behind.

I am most concerned about vacations, and weekend trips. With an indoor box, you can leave Kitty in the house and have a Kitty sitter come over for a couple hours a day. Much cheaper, and easier on Kitty, than Boarding her while you are away. And if you take Kitty with you while you travel, you need to re-enforce the use of the indoor litter box. So, either way, I don't recommend eliminating the indoor litter box.

   
I´ve washed the pet stain, and my pet still uses that spot, why?

The Best Method for removing odors

Even if you clean a pet stain with soap and water certain micro-organisms remain behind and your pet can smell them. Enzymatic Cleaners are designed to completely eliminate the source of the odor by using enzymes to eat away the micro-organisms that cause the odor. The one draw back to these cleaners is that they are slow; it could take several weeks for them to completely elimiate an odor.
Enzymantic Cleaners are available at most pet stores, organic/natural/health food stores, and even some hardware stores. You can also ask your vet for suppliers.

   
What is the first step in litter box training a kitten?

Sandbox Training 102

When raising or introducing a new kitten to a home, limit the area available to the kitten (when she is unspervised), then gradually expand her horizons to include the whole house. Your home will seem very large to a small kitten, and if she can't see the sandbox, she will think it is lost. Keeping the kitten confined to one room of your home while she is unsupervised, will give her time to explore and learn where the sandbox is in reference to where she is at that time. When you can supervise her play time in other areas of the house, periodically take her back to her sandbox, so she can learn where to go.

   
How can I involve my pets in work?

Jobs involving pets

If you are interested in employment opportunities involving your pets, some ideas to consider are service pets, therapy pets, walking other peoples pets, pet sitting, performing pets, photography subjects, cat or dog treat tester for a pet treat store, exercise competition coordinator. Make a list of all possibilities and the ideal opportunity just may jump out at you!

   
Should I wash my hands after cleaning the cat box?

Wash your hands!

This may seem like a simple procedure, but it is an important one. WASH YOUR HANDS WITH SOAP AND HOT WATER, after cleaning your cat's sandbox.
There are some illnesses and problems that will transfer from felines to humans, and almost all of them are transmitted through the feces or urine.
So, despite the precautions you may take when cleaning the cat's litter box, always wash your hands afterwards to prevent any problems.

   
My cat is going everywhere, how do I stop him?

Sandbox Training 101

NEVER CORRECT A NEW CAT/KITTEN FOR INAPPROPRIATELY MISSING THE SANDBOX. You don't spank a baby for dirtying it's diapers, don't correct your cat until she knows where the sandbox is and what it is for.
INSTEAD, pick up the solid waste, or mop up the urine with a paper towel, then place it in the sandbox. Take the cat/kitten to the box with it's excrement or urine soaked paper towel inside. Encourage the animal with positive words and lots of loving. Your cat will smell the items in the box and bury them. Give the animal a couple of weeks to learn where the sandbox is before you get too concerned. If you still have problems after that, consult the vet for possible problems with the animal's urinary tract.

   
How do I retrain my cat to use the litter box?

Conflicting advice about litter box training

Retraining your cat isn't impossible, but it does require patience and persistance. However, what works for one cat, may not work for another. Just like people, cats each have their own identity and personality. Plus, there are times when reverse psychology is good, but then there are others when plain old retraining is the only answer.

You just need to decide which method seems to fit your pet's motivation for misbehaving, and which one you can follow through with. Also, you can use a combination of tips and advice to find the method that your pet will respond to.

   
How do I train my cat to use the Pet Door?

Pet Door Introduction

You have a new Pet Door and want Kitty to use this, instead of howling for you to let him in or out.
To introduce Kitty to the door, play with your him through the pet door.
Prop open the pet door slightly, so he can see beyond the door. Now use a string, or feather or a favorite toy to dangle/move it on the opposite side of the door from him. That will encourage him to investigate the door and see that he can pass through it.
Always give praise and affection, plus treats for doing the things you want him to do during this early phase of training.
Don't use corrective measures-of any kind-in reference to your Kitty's reluctance to use the Pet Door. This is one instance where positive re-inforcement for good behaviors will go much farther to acheiving positive results.

   
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