The argument of cats vs dogs is always a lively debate between the two populations. No secret to my friends and family, I’m a cat person through and through. Why are cats awesome? Well, they don’t bark, jump on you, track mud through the house (my cats are indoor cats) and generally smell better, no one ever said “that smells like a wet cat,” amongst other things. One of my favorite rebuttals is “you can’t train a cat!”
To that I would had to admit defeat. They seem to be trained when they hear the refrigerator open or the crack of the cat food can opening but other than that I struggled with some ongoing behavioral issues. Tinkerbell, my first and fabulous kitty (and you’ll notice, my sole problem child) had a bag of tricks that I couldn’t break her of. Some of her favorite antics: scratching the couch and walking on the counters despite knowing only she found this acceptable.
After YEARS of cohabiting with my furry darlings, I have pain painstakingly tried a number of behavior modification tactics.
Tried (and failed) cat training strategies:
- Repetition. Where I say “no” (without yelling because that apparently hurts a cat’s ego and makes them act out more) and to stop the unwanted behavior. Result: A LOT of effort on my part, not a lot of results.
- Water bottle. After sweet, sweet Tinkerbell was well on her way to destroying couch #1, I tried spraying her with water. Result: This worked exactly three times, after that she sat there and let me spray her with water. There was also the constant worry that I may accidentally spray her face or eyes.
- Deterrent sprays. There are products out there that use scents to deter cats from scratching your furniture. I sprayed this on my couch. Result: Money wasted.
- Tin foil. This was used to keep adorable Tinkerbell from walking on the counter. I would line the edge of the counter with foil. Result: She would jump over the tin foiled area. So unless I was willing to live in a tin foil kitchen, this was not helping anything.
- Loud Noises. I read that making loud noises will act as a deterrent. Result: You can’t believe everything you read.
Then one day, while I was at work, on the phone with a coworker whose spouse is an animal behaviorist, she tells me that there is a gadget that is motion activated and will give out a puff of air when the cat jumps on the counter. This supposedly scares the cat. I think, is it really that simple? My cats do not like when I clean my keyboard or my husband lets air out of his bicycle tire. Will a regular can of air work?
Successful cat training strategy:
Can of air. Whenever my kitties are acting out, I pick up a can of air and shoot air into… well, the air. Result: They immediately stop, drop and disperse. This has been a life changer in our house. I can use this tactic regardless of behavior, scratching, counter walking, in fighting and not worry about shooting water at their eyes, all my furniture smelling weird or covering all exposed surfaces in foil. I don’t have to yell or be disruptive or rush over to stop them, I just calmly pick up a can of air (which I have a half dozen strategically placed throughout the house) and press the nozzle. It has become so effective that most of the time I just pick up the can and they stop, proving that you can, after all, train a cat.