Not every cat’s behavior is innate. Many individual habits and personal traits are the results of past experiences. A cat kept as a pet is most affected by its owner. That person should encourage good behavior and unlearn bad habits. Contrary to popular belief, cats can learn something very quickly.
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Not only can you teach them unwanted behavior (such as scribbling on furniture), but you can also teach them certain skills (such as operating a bell).
Basic principles when training
Before setting up a training program, it is useful to keep in mind what the cat likes and dislikes. These are good to use. For example, most cats love food, warmth, and company and hate cold, water, and loud noises. Every animal has different things that he likes or dislikes. So you can use this.
The relationship between cat and owner is always very sensitive and can be undermined by improper punishment. A cat will not want to learn anything under duress. In a cat, it is more effective to buy favors through persuasion and reward.
Of course, you will have to punish the cat every now and then. However, try to dress this up so that the cat doesn’t see you as the culprit. As a result, a well-aimed wad of paper or a well-directed jet of water often has the desired effect. The cat sees the object as the culprit and not you.
An advantage of this “impersonal” punishment is that the cat is taught a new behavioral pattern for all occasions and that the cat does not only show itself from the best side when the owner is around.
Constantly and consistently rewarding will quickly produce the desired behavior. However, problems can arise if not consistently rewarded. If a certain action is sometimes rewarded and sometimes not rewarded, it means that the animal takes longer to learn. The advantage of this approach is that the cat is less likely to forget this.
A cat learns the following behavior:
- Begging at the table
- Scribble at the window to be let in
- Hunt mice and birds
These actions will only yield results once. This means that if you want to unlearn such things, you don’t achieve anything by, for example, not feeding. Next time he will just do it again. In such cases, punishment is the only option (wad of paper, water, scared by loud noise). This teaches him how to react to this behavior.
Another general rule is not to try everything at once, but to approach the learning step by step.
If you want to unlearn a certain habit or learn a complicated action, it is best to analyze the desired behavioral pattern in simple successive steps. You will then learn these steps in the correct order. If a particular step fails, go back to the step that did. This method requires good observation skills and a good dose of patience.
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