Cat Training Problems
We should ask ourselves if cat training problems are, in fact, human expectation problems. What do we want and expect from our companion cat? I know I am out on a limb here in respect of a lot of peoples’ views of living with a cat but the whole concept of training a cat needs to be carefully looked at.
Sure, sometimes training can be very useful such as leash training. But this is really just getting our cat used to wearing a leash. A lot of the time we are seeking to train the cat to fit in with what we want to cat to do and how to behave. And those objectives are colored by our personal taste in respect to the behavior of other people. In other words some of us want our cat to behave like a well mannered person.
But the problem with that mentality is this. A cat is not a person. A companion cat is very well behaved normally, discreet and fits in well. But they are cats and we should expect them to behave like cats. Otherwise what is the point of living with a cat? And that means we need, in my opinion, to be more accepting of the cat’s characteristics and not try and train them out.
Looking at it from a different perspective. We could, in an ideal world, solve cat training problems by retraining ourselves to accept our cat exactly as she or he is. That process would eliminate, at a stroke, any cat training problems that we thought existed.
Take a classic example, scratched furniture. Cats need to slough off the outer “skin” of their claws and stretch. They might do this on the furniture. It can be tricky and bothersome to train a cat to use something else. And declawing is out of the question. So the best answer, if we are totally on the side of the cat, (and if we adopt a cat I say we need to adapt to the cat) we should downgrade our expectations as to the state of our furniture. Keep a piece that can be scratched. The others could be leather (which cats don’t like scratching usually). We adapt, we train, ourselves to fit in with the cat (which is easier, frankly) rather than training the cat and encountering cat training problems.
Cat training problems can be dealt with through people training. Training to reduce or modify expectations as to how we are to live with our companion cat and the best time to do that is before we get a cat. Start right and it will work beautifully.