Getting a new cat means taking on the responsibility of training your pet. A properly trained cat can provide companionship and joy, but a poorly trained cat can lead to hours of frustration. Follow these suggestions to ensure you and your cat have a happy life together.

Getting Your Cat to Use a Litter Box

This may be the simplest aspect to training your cat, because cats are clean creatures by their nature. As such, they like to bury their waste, so the litter box is an ideal situation for them. To begin, select an enclosed room and place a clean and prepared litter box in the room. Next, place the cat in the litter box, which should not have an enclosure. If the cat steps outside the box to relieve itself, pick up the waste and place it inside the box. Once the cat sees you place the waste in the litter box, confine the cat in that room. Within a couple of days, your new cat should be trained to use the litter box independently.

Behavioral Modification

The best way to train a cat to stop the destructive behavior is through positive reinforcement. Smacking the cat for clawing the furniture, for instance, will only confuse the animal. He or she will have difficulty understanding what the punishment was for, because sharpening its claws is just a natural act. Instead, get the cat an object that it can claw, such as a scratching post. Try demonstrating to the cat what you want it to do and, when it does use the scratching post, be sure to reward it. This may take several attempts, but, eventually, the cat will learn.

Eliminate Aggression

You can also train your cat to stop aggressive behavior. If he or she claws and bites when playing, make a loud noise to startle the animal. A loud hiss or a bang on a table may do the trick. Once the cat has been startled, walk away and stop playing. After a few times, your cat will get the hint.

While these are the best methods for training your cat, they won’t always work. A stubborn cat may take more time and effort in training away bad behavior. If you feel as though you’ve made the extra effort and have seen no results, consult your veterinarian. He may be able to recommend other methods or may refer you to a professional trainer who can help.