Cats are independent, sometimes fiercely so, but not always. Some cats will decide to become clingy and needy, neurotic beasts, usually at the very worst possible second for them to do so. There is nothing worse than a poorly behaved cat, especially one that has decided that he does in fact own the entire house and that he does not need to follow any rules at all. Cats that have taken over will bite, scratch, steal food and worse, stop using their litter box until you get too fed up that you consider taken Mr. Puss to the shelter. Before you let your feline friend get you to the end of your rope, by all means, take some time to establish a few facts, including whose house is whose and what the basic rules are. Some cats take to training with great ease, some will need a little more time to make the adjustment, but with a little patience, all cats can gain some control and some basic manners.
Start with your cat’s training as soon as possible. It does not matter whether you have a new kitten or an older cat, from the first day, make sure that you set clear guidelines. Do not confuse your cat, keep your expectations clear and consistent, and make sure the rules do not change from day to day. Try to set up the litter box in one spot that will not have to be changed. You can expect a new kitten to get the hang of going potty if he cannot find the right spot, after all. Do not allow your cat to hop on the counter one day and then shout at him the next day- he will assume that shouting is just something that people do and will ignore it. Surely you do not mean him when you cuddled him for the exact same thing yesterday morning!
Using treats and rewards can be effective with cats, as long as they get them immediately after the behavior. The only problem with cats and treats might be that they are less likely to accept such mundane prizes for doing something that they feel is beneath them. Most cats will not debase themselves for mere kitty morsels. Another cat training option is the clicker- a loud noise that will get their attention and allow you to redirect your furry friend to a better behavior choice. The cat learns to avoid the action that makes the clicking sound and will instead do whatever it was that made him get a treat. In this method, it is not the treat that motivates him; it is the intolerance of the clicking sound that gets his attention.
No matter what method you use, keep in mind that not all cats will allow themselves to be molded into perfect behavioral models. They will rebel at times, or plot their escapes, but as long as they do not pee in the fichus or chew on your Aunt Mabel, then you should be happy.