Most people think of a cat as an extremely independent animal that is impossible to train. However, contrary to popular belief, it is possible to make a cat understand that what he does is wrong, or on the contrary to congratulate him, whatever his age. The only thing is to know how to do it at the right time, and in the right way.
Rewarding a cat: the right way
While a dog can easily be praised, whether it’s by a caress, by congratulations in a soft voice, or by a treat, the cat will require a little more precise way of doing it so that he can understand that you are satisfied with his behavior.
First of all, it is essential to reward the cat at the right time. In fact, you should make sure that you reward him precisely when he does what you expect him to do, such as getting down from a table when you ask him to, or if he comes to you after you call him.
If the reward or praise doesn’t arrive until five minutes after the action, the cat won’t associate the action with the gift you’re giving, and she won’t be especially motivated to obey you the next time you try to give her the same command.
What to reward it with.
Now that you know the right time to reward the cat, the next question is what to reward it with.
Generally speaking, you can reward a cat the same way you reward a dog, i.e. with a pat, with your voice or with a little treat, but with our feline friends, much more than with dogs, it’s the treat that will make them understand their good deed.
However, avoid rewarding him with the same kibble or the same food as his usual meals, which could make him wrongly understand that he is entitled to more meals than usual during the day, and thus make him ask for more.
So prefer to give him adapted treats, available in any supermarket or pet shop, more caloric than their meals, but also more appetizing. However, be careful not to overdo it so that your cat doesn’t become too fat, which would be detrimental to his health.
Punishing a cat: be careful not to overdo it
Everyone knows that cats, although they know very well how to soften us, can also be real little pests, stealing everything they can, and settling in places that we do not always like, such as our closets or our bed, doing what they want. It is possible to teach a cat not to do certain things, but it requires patience, rigor, and especially know-how, because a cat does not punish itself just anyhow.
First of all, you should know that you should never use violence with our feline friends. Indeed, they have a very good memory and they are very resentful. So, after a punishment that is too violent, they could become suspicious or even afraid of the person concerned.
The best way to punish a cat will be to act at the right time, as for the reward, that is to say just when he does the bad action, and not five minutes after, when he would not understand what he did wrong.
As for the method to be used, it is very simple, it will be enough to frighten him. A “no” said in a loud voice, by clapping your hands for example, will be very effective. This will make the cat run away for sure, and it will associate its action with an unpleasant sensation, in this case, a noise that will have frightened it.
If the cat is a repeat offender, the ultimate solution is also quite simple: water. Cats hate to get wet, as we all know. So, put a spray bottle filled with water in the places where the cat is likely to do something stupid, and spray it as soon as it does: it will immediately run away. A needle-less syringe filled with water can also do the trick, but it will make your home wetter!
Now you know how to reward or punish a cat. These methods may very well contribute to his education as a kitten, but it will take more time than the dog to really understand what he can and cannot do. It will be necessary to be patient, and above all, understanding towards his behavior, to act in the right way according to the situation.