Controlling Bad Cat Behavior

Bad cat behavior is exhibited by pets when they become agitated in new situations, when faced by other animals or due to environmental stimulants such as thunder. Cats that are agitated scratch furniture, urinate out of the litter box, meow excessively and create havoc at home. In order to train cats to stop inappropriate behavior, pet owners should learn techniques to control and change bad behavior. Although this may be a challenging task that's accomplished over time, it's important to start disciplining pets at an early age to prevent aggression in the future.

Training Cats

Pet owners should understand that cat scratching is normal feline behavior. However, since scratching furniture or curtains is inappropriate, cats should be given a scratching post. The scratching post may be enhanced with catnip to lure cats towards it. The most important feature of changing cat behavior or training pets to behave appropriately is reinforcement of good behavior and making bad behavior an unpleasant experience. However, this doesn't mean reprimanding pets in a way that would cause them pain. A useful tool that helps alter bad behavior is a clicker.

Clicker Training

Clicker training uses the sound of a clicker and associates it with good behavior followed by a treat. This technique is known as conditioning. Eventually the behavior will be shaped in order to obtain appropriate responses. Once the cat associates food or treats with the click and exhibits appropriate behavior, the treats or food should be withdrawn from further training.

Rewarding Good Behavior

In order to prevent cats from urinating out of the litter box, it's best to take the pet for a vet check to determine if the cat is suffering from urinary tract disease or bowel disorders. Cats that are healthy should be trained to use the litter box by rewarding them for using it and praising them with affection. Reward and praise work effectively in comparison with punishment as punishing the cat for bad behavior only aggravates the pet and increases the frequency of bad behavior.

Tips to Control Bad Behavior:

  • The cat should be disciplined with a sharp "No" in order to stop any bad behavior.
  • Pet owners may use bubble wrap or sticky tape around furniture or curtains that the cat targets, as the cat will dislike the stickiness of the tape or the pop of the bubble wrap.
  • Kittens should also be trained at a young age by tapping them on the nose to discourage bad behavior like biting.
  • Often, cats exhibit bad behavior due to boredom and lack of exercise. Pet owners should ensure play time with the cat and provide cats with attention and affection.
  • Although calming medications aren't necessary for all pets, cats suffering from stress or trauma may require calming treatments to reduce aggression.
  • Pet owners should also keep the cat's nails trimmed in order to prevent excessive scratching.

Pet owners should understand that a change in cat behavior takes time. It's important to be patient and follow simple techniques to reinforce desirable behavior.