Teaching your kitten to be well behaved is an important part of her education. The following article looks at how you can teach your kitten good manners from an early age.
Learning through association
Your kitten will learn her behavior through association. This means that if you reward her when she has been good, she'll associate her good behavior with a reward. This is called positive reinforcement. When you train your kitten in this way, you are encouraging her to display good behaviors and ignoring her when she displays bad behaviors. Therefore, when your kitten uses her litter box as she should she will be praised and rewarded immediately. If, however, your kitten has an accident on your carpet she will be ignored. Your kitten will soon associate the praise and reward with the correct action and will stop behaving in a manner that gets her no attention.
What behavior do you want from your kitten?
As you think about training, decide what you want your kitten to do, why she should want to do it and when you will reward her for good behavior. Kittens tend to be solely motivated by food, but, unfortunately, this only works when they're hungry! However, it is helpful if you find a treat or a toy your kitten particularly loves to help you with your training.
Training a cat is very different from training a dog. For example, you won't be asking your kitten to perform a range of actions that you might ask your dog to perform, such as "Sit" or "Heel." However, you can teach your kitten to understand certain rules, for example, that she is not allowed to climb up the curtains or jump on the kitchen counters.
Every time your kitten behaves how you want her to, reward and praise her. Every time you find her on the kitchen counter, or climbing the curtains, lift her down and walk away from her. She'll soon realize that keeping four feet on the floor means praise while unwanted climbing means that she gets ignored.
If you begin training your kitten from an early age she will grow into a well-mannered cat and will be a pleasure to look after. However, training your kitten is an ongoing process and one that should be continued well into her adult life.