Contrary to popular belief cats are very trainable (they don’t just learn the connection between the refrigerator and food from nowhere!) and you can train your cats as to which places in the house are off-limits. Try some of the tips below and with some time and patience you may have your feline trained better than any dog you know! Note: If you are trying to stop spraying, litterbox problems, scratching, or marking please visit those sections first for specific advice.
- Give your cat a firm ‘no’ when he or she does the unwanted behavior. Never ‘punish’ your cat or overly scream or scare your cat. This can make your cat learn that you are a very scary being whom he/she should stay away from and dislike. If you are not home very often this method may not work very well as you won’t catch your cat in the act very often and thus your cat won’t get a constant aversion message.
- Use a spray bottle to spritz your cat every time he/she does the unwanted behavior. The down side of this approach is that your cat may link you to the nasty squirt he/she receives as well.
- Throw an object (lightly! you are just trying to let your cat know that his behavior is wrong, you don’t want to overly scare your cat or hurt him) like a sock near the cat. This will mildly frighten your cat and help him/her realize that the behavior they just exhibited is a no-no. This method also allows the cat to connect the bap on the head with the sock and not you.
- Place double-sided sticky tape on the area. Your cat will hate how this feels on his/her paws and soon stop going there.
- Place aluminum foil on the area. Most cats hate this feeling on their feet.
- Place upside down mouse traps on the area and then put a piece of wax paper over that (some pet stores even have an official version of this old home-made trick called the Snappy Trainer®). When your cat walks on the wax paper it will get an unsuspecting scare. After a while your cat will learn that this area is more trouble than it is worth. This method can be tricky so be careful that your cat doesn’t accidentally get him/herself caught in a trap.
- Place plastic liners bottom side up (with the little pokey parts facing up). Your cat will not like how that feels on his/her paws at all.
- Purchase a cat aversion mechanism from your local pet store. Now-a-days pet stores offer a variety of products from motion sensors that make a very loud noise to devices that emit ultrasonic waves when your cat goes near it. If all else fails you may consider such a device to help train your cat.
- Purchase a cat repellant spray at your local pet store.
- Thoroughly clean the area with a special odor-neutralizing solution (if you are trying to keep your cat away from a place he/she has urinated/sprayed/marked). This will get rid of all traces of odor in that spot.
- Use a pheromone based product such as Feliway® to help curb spraying and marking behaviors.
By using some of the above tricks your cat should stop going to the off-limits area in about 4-6 weeks. If these methods do not work for you you may want to consult a behaviorist or your veterinarian for further assistance.