Training a cat is nothing like training a dog, in fact, many people aren’t even certain that training a cat is possible, but it is. Cats tend to have an almost aloof attitude towards their owners at times. They don’t listen as well as dogs, and some cat owners aren’t certain that their felines even understand basic commands. So, do cats understand no? They do, but whether or not they respond to it is a whole other matter.
Key Takeaway: Understanding your cat’s behaviors and why they do what they do can help make the training process much easier. With the right tools, such as a cat tree, you can easily prevent many unwanted behaviors. With consistency, it’s possible to teach your cat the meaning of the word no, just as long as you enforce it and praise your feline when they respond accordingly.
The Nature of the House Cat
Teaching a cat the word no can be important, not only when it comes to saving your furniture from your feline’s sharp nails, but it’s also important if you notice your cat displaying dangerous or potentially harmful behavior, such as chewing on houseplants, (many of which are poisonous to cats) or climbing in dangerous places such as rafters or high windowsills.
The best first time cat owner tips often involves teaching a cat the meaning of the word no and following through with it each and every time. If you’ve brought home a kitten, they’ll need to learn a lot during those first few months in your home, but the meaning behind the word no is one of the most important.
Once a kitten has been littered trained and has acclimated to their new environment, you can take their training up a notch and focus on eliminating any bad behaviors before those behaviors become a habit. A kitten will find new and fun ways to get into trouble, going where they shouldn’t and chewing and scratching where they shouldn’t.
Why Do Cats Claw the Furniture?
During this time, it’s important that your cat learns what types of behaviors are acceptable, in addition to what areas of the home are off limits. You want to discourage any behaviors and habits that can be harmful to the cat or damaging to your property. As an example, if your cat begins clawing the furniture you must strongly discourage this type of behavior immediately in order to prevent your new cat from visiting the same area and scratching over and over again. Tell them firmly no and redirect them to a scratching area that’s appropriate.
A cat’s nails can grow dangerously long and can snag on clothing and furniture if they’re not properly filed down. When you tell your cat no, you must provide them with a scratching friendly area, otherwise, they will choose a new area on their own.
Cat trees such as the Kitty Mansions Cat Tree not only offer an appropriate place for your cat to play and climb, but it also features scratching posts, providing your cat with the perfect spot to file down their nails.
To learn more, click here to read our cat tree buyer’s guide to check out five of the leading models on the market and learn what you should look for in a new cat tree for your favorite feline.
The word no, when used loudly and often, when your cat displays unsafe or undesirable behavior is pretty easy for your cat to recognize and understand. Your cat should be taught to associate that word with things they are not allowed to do or places they are not allowed to go. Keep in mind that simply saying no is not going to provide the immediate results you’re hoping for. Your cat must first learn that no means they must immediately stop what they’re doing.
As an example, if your cat begins climbing the curtains or scratching the living room sofa, now it the time to react. In a loud and firm voice say “no!”. Next, pick up the cat and say “no” two or three more times. Redirect the cat to a safe scratching option, such as their cat tree.
As we mentioned earlier, scratching is a totally natural cat behavior and it allows the cat to polish, file, and clean their claws. Place the cat tree in a spot near the area where the cat has been scratching, such as next to the sofa, putting the approved option clearly in their view.
It will be your job to repeat this process each and every time you catch the cat scratching the furniture or clawing at the curtains. If you ignore this behavior you’re failing to establish the boundaries needed to teach your cat what is and isn’t acceptable. When you tell your cat no, make sure you don’t sound angry or aggressive. Be firm. If you sound angry you will only succeed in scaring the cat. Cat’s with anxiety can display an entirely new set of unwanted behaviors such as excessive meowing, grooming, or even spraying.
Do cats understand “no”? They do, but only after their owner has consistently taught them what this word means. Failure to correct unwanted behaviors by using the word no when your cat is scratching at the sofa a few times in a row and then yelling no when they do it again will only succeed in confusing your cat and causing anxiety.
As their teacher, it will be your job to train your cat using a firm “no!” consistently, each and every time they’re displaying unwanted behaviors.
Some cats will catch on quicker than others, but most cat owners have reported success after a matter of three to four weeks. If you find that your cat is struggling to learn, try reinforcing good behaviors, such as rewarding your cat with a small treat each time they use their cat tree instead of the living room sofa to file their nails.