4 Effective Cat Training Tools

Though it hasn't received the publicity of dog training, kitten training is an effective way of teaching your kitten how you would like him to behave. Kittens may not be motivated by the same things puppies are, but the training methods are remarkably similar.

1. Rewards

The biggest difference between puppy training and kitten training is that punishments are even less effective with cats than dogs. You can try a shake can or water bottle, but they probably won't teach your cat not to scratch the couch. Instead, those tools will teach your cat to fear you and flee every time you have it with you. Then, when you're gone, the couch is toast.

Instead, teach your cat what you want him to do by rewarding him for appropriate behavior. Show your cat where to scratch and reward him for doing so.

The other difference between dogs and cats is that cats are more picky about their rewards. It doesn't matter how much you spend on treats if your kitten won't eat them. Try wet food, tuna or meaty treats, since cats are carnivores.

Your kitten also may be rewarded by playing with toys, so select some fun toys with which you can interact with him. Rewarding with a game can also be effective.

Praise and petting may not be effective rewards, as they are with dogs, as cats tend to be more independent and unresponsive to petting. However, if your kitten loves a good belly rub, use that for a reward as well.

2. Clicker

Clicker training works with every animal, including cats. First, get your kitten used to the clicker by clicking it and giving him his favorite reward. Repeat until he comes running when he sees you pull out the clicker. Then, start making him work for his rewards.

A great way to use the clicker is to wait for your cat to offer you a desirable behavior. This will teach your cat to think. However, you can also use treat lures as you do with dogs to mold your cat into the position you would like.

3. Pheromone Sprays

Nervous cats can be greatly aided by pheromone sprays, which can be included in colors, sprays or wall plug-ins. These sprays release calming pheromones that only your cat can smell, and soothe him when stressed.

If you need to train alternative behaviors to fear, these can be invaluable in helping your cat calm down enough to be receptive to training.

4. Deterrent Sprays

Though aversives often don't work with cats, you can use sprays on your furniture to teach your cat to avoid it. Cats have a strong sense of smell and will begin to avoid areas which have been sprayed with these aversive sprays. Remember to reapply regularly while training and remember that your kitten may begin to avoid this entire area to avoid the smell.

When training your kitten, however, remember that he has instincts you can't understand. If a problem continues, make sure you have provided a healthy environment for your pet. Cats need to scratch, so provide a scratch post. If they don't like the location of the litter box, change it. If you have a happy cat, he will be much easier to train.