Anyone who has owned a cat will be familiar with the battle of wills that can ensue when trying to train a member of the feline family

Anyone who has owned a cat will be familiar with the battle of wills that can ensue when trying to train a member of the feline family. Owners must accept that cats are not like their canine counterparts, a cat does what pleases itself, which is often the exact opposite of what pleases you. However, there are ways to modify a cat’s behavior and ensure that he, or she, does not wreak havoc in your home.

Keeping a cat away from a kitchen counter is not simply a matter of hygiene, but also a matter of safety. When you are preparing food, a cat can easily injure itself by jumping up onto a knife, or other sharp utensil. Therefore, it is in everybody’s best interests for your feline companion to stay away from kitchen work surfaces.

Is Your Cat Getting Enough Exercise?

Often cats will be inclined to jump onto tables and counters if they do not have enough to stimulate them. In other words, it is important, especially for a cat that is kept indoors, to have plenty of mental and physical stimulation. Subsequently, toys are essentially, especially toys that offer a chance to jump and climb, such as a cat tree, cat gymnasium or a specifically designed cat shelf.

If your cat is not getting enough mental or physical stimulation, he, or she, is likely to make mischief elsewhere.

How to Train a Cat With Negative Reinforcement

As the name suggests, negative reinforcement does the opposite of the typical positive reinforcement method of training. There are two reasons why positive reinforcement will be ineffectual in teaching your cat that kitchen counters are ‘no-go areas’. Firstly, the aim is to discourage, rather than encourage a behavior. Secondly, as already mentioned cats are not naturally inclined to please their owner.

Usually cat owners have two techniques for negative reinforcement training: a loud noise or a squirt with some water. It is up to each individual to decide which method will be most effective with their cat. However, if you choose to use water, ensure that you do not squirt the cat directly in the face.

Loud noises can be created very simply, with an empty can filled with coins. Some cats find noises more distressing than others do, so it is wise to ensure that your cat is not becoming too anxious by your means of negative reinforcement.

Negative reinforcement is very simple, all you need to do is make the noise or squirt the water whenever your cat jumps onto the kitchen counter. It will not take long for the cat to associate his, or her, action with the unpleasant consequence.

Training Tips

It is always a good idea to keep your training consistent. Therefore, if you do not want your cat on a countertop, ensure that from the moment your pet enters the house, it is not permitted to climb around in the kitchen. Many owners are very soft with a new pet and later find themselves trying to eliminate bad habits that they have allowed in the past.

Although it is easier said than done, the training works best if the cat does not realize that you are responsible for the noise/water.

Watch your cat’s reaction carefully. If you feel that he, or she, is becoming too distressed, then you may need to try a different approach.

Never yell at your cat. Not only will this not achieve the desired result, but it will also distress the cat.

Remember, any behavioral problem, from scratching to climbing over your kitchen surfaces, should be dealt with first by asking yourself whether you supply your pet with ample stimulus. Many issues with cats can be resolved simply by keeping them mentally and physically active.

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