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Cat Training Can You Do IT
|General Cat Care #1: Before You Bring Your Cat Home|
|You will need food, food dish, water bowl, interactive toys, brush, comb, safety cat collar, scratching post, litter and litter box.|
|General Cat Care #2: Feeding|
|An adult cat should be fed one large or two smaller meals each day. Kittens from 6 to 12 weeks need to be fed four times a day. Kittens from three to six months need to be fed three times a day. You can either feed specific meals, throwing away any leftover canned food after 30 minutes or free-feed dry food (keeping food out all the time).|
Feed your cat a high-quality, brand-name kitten or cat food (avoid generic brands) two to three times a day. Kittens can be fed human baby food for a short time if they won’t eat kitten food softened by soaking in warm water. Use turkey or chicken baby food made for children six months and older. Gradually mix with cat food. Cow’s milk is not necessary and can cause diarrhea in kittens and cats. Provide fresh, clean water at all times. Wash and refill water bowls daily.
HOW TO TRAIN A CAT Training anyone to do anything whether human or animal consists largely of modifying behavior. The idea is that either you want a behavior to take place or you want a behavior to stop. If you want a certain behavior to recur whenever that behavior does occur, the subject should be immediately rewarded. There needs to be an association with doing a particular thing and feeling good. Generally speaking a household pet can learn what it is that they are not allowed to do. In terms of cats it may be easiest to keep their training at this level. Co-existing with a well behaved cat entails the cat knowing which behaviors you disapprove of and which behaviors are ok. This should be conveyed through tone of voice. A little reinforcement either positive or negative just helps things along. Another example might be that every time your cat does something you like, you scratch him in a way that you know is appreciated or you feed him immediately. You close off the room to the cat when you are not there. When you are there with the water bottle by your side you let the cat into that room. Every time that the cat begins to scratch the furniture you spray water ta the cat. He or she will eventually associate scratching that couch with being sprayed with water. If a behavior is wished to be stopped there must be a negative reinforcement. It is not necessary that the negative reinforcement consist of pain but it should be unpleasant. It can be something irritating, annoying or even shocking. For example if you want to train your cat not to scratch furniture, you could keep a spray water bottle near the couch.
|General Cat Care #3: Grooming|
|Most cats stay relatively clean and rarely need a bath, but they do need to be brushed or combed. Frequent brushing helps keep your cat’s coat clean, reduces the amount of shedding and cuts down on the incidence of hairballs|
|General Cat Care #4: Handling|
|To pick up your cat, place one hand behind the front legs and another under the hindquarters. Lift gently. Never pick up a cat by the scruff of the neck (behind the ears) or by the front legs without supporting the rear end.|
|General Cat Care #5: Housing|
|Cats should have a clean, dry place of their own in the house. Line your cat’s bed with a soft, warm blanket or towel. Be sure to wash the bedding often. Please keep your cat indoors. If your companion animal is allowed outside, he can contract diseases, get ticks or parasites, become lost or get hit by a car, hurt in a fight or poisoned. Also, cats prey on wildlife.|
CAN DOMESTIC CATS BE TRAINED? Cats are always being compared to dogs. Cats are often perceived to be independent wild creatures while dogs have a reputation of being eager to please and trainable. It is true that all animals can be trained to do circus tricks with enough positive and negative reinforcements. Whether or not this is ethical is another story. Training an animal to do certain things at home can be done much the same way that a circus animal is taught. However training an animal not to scratch furniture is much less extreme than training it to jump through hoops of fire so the conditioning required is less extreme. MAKING A CAT DO SOMETHING IT DOES NOT WANT TO DO Unlike dogs, cats are not pack animals. They hunt independently and as a result act more independent. They do not have the social hierarchy that dogs have therefore do not care about being submissive and pleasing the alpha dog. In the cat world there is no alpha “top dog.” The natural way for cats is that they all take care of themselves. Because of this a cat will not want to rely on his owner for security. If an aggressive dog approaches, he will not trust that a human can protect him and will not look to his master for protection. The claws will come out, he might growl, he'll make himself look bigger than he is but he will not run behind his master. This characteristic shows how the cat thinks that he knows best. In the dog world the alpha dog gets that position because it is the smartest. The other dogs look for the message about what they should do from him. A cat does not come from this system and therefore will never look to someone else to be told what to do. A cat will always make up its own mind. So if you have succeeded to train a cat to do certain things, you can be sure that it has been the cat's decision that this is worth while doing. The cat must obviously think that the reward is worth it and he has decided to do it. This is why the term dog training is heard so much more than cat training.
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|General Cat Care #6: Identification|
|If allowed outdoors (again, we caution against it!), your cat needs to wear a safety collar and an ID tag. A safety collar with an elastic panel will allow your cat to break loose if the collar gets caught on something. An ID tag or an implanted microchip can help insure that your cat is returned if he or she becomes lost.|
|General Cat Care #7: Litter Box|
|All indoor cats need a litter box, which should be placed in a quiet, accessible location. A bathroom or utility room is a good place for your cat’s box. In a multi-level home, one box per floor is recommended. Avoid moving the box unless absolutely necessary. Then do so slowly, a few inches a day. Cats won’t use a messy, SMELLY litter box. Scoop solids out of the box at least once a day. Dump everything, wash with a mild detergent (don’t use ammonia) and refill at least once a week, less frequently if using clumping litter. Don’t use deodorants or scents in the litter or litter box (especially avoid lemon scent).|