5 Ways to Use Positive Reinforcement for Good Cat Behavior

5 Ways to Use Positive Reinforcement for Good Cat Behavior

My feline friends always listen to me with unconcern and secret amusement. It always seems like they are giving me murderous side looks as they begin to devour cat food from their little trays. You know how sometimes cats can be the masters of their own world, even though you have this whole concept of cat-love in your mind.

However, I love my cats and they are extremely well-behaved. I often wonder why people come up with questions about cat training. In my personal opinion, if you think about cats, they have everything under control. For instance, they meow, and you give them food. They jump on your lap when some petting is required. In entirety, they know exactly how to get everything from their owners. But guess what? Sometimes you need to turn the tables and use positive reinforcement to keep the positive behavior intact. And here’s what I mean by training your cat for positive behavior.

What is positive reinforcement for cats’ good behavior?

Usually, the concept of positive reinforcement is used to help your cat repeat good behavior. So, I am talking about tricks here. Mostly tricks that can be used to encourage good behavior in your cat. Many people perceive scratching as bad behavior, but most bad behavior in cats arises from biological needs. For instance, urinating, defecating, climbing, scratching, etc. If you are not paving a good way for your cat to express those needs, then your cat might evolve bad habits as suited to their environment. Eventually, it becomes difficult to switch them from an environment, they are already used to.

The most important thing that you need to keep in mind is that you have to find something that motivates your cat to display good behavior. Once you figure out this puzzle, you are good to use that as a reward. Luckily, most cats are food-driven, so you can use that as a reward. But if the food doesn’t work for your cats reward them with something they most desire. Basically, you have to indirectly tell your cat that you have something she wants.

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How can you apply positive reinforcement

Here are a few ways to apply positive reinforcement to inculcate good behavior in your cat. You can apply these on your cat but positive reinforcement can be applied to any behavior you think needs a change or encouragement.

Utilize a scratch post

Every time your cat feels the need to scratch things, ensure that you keep a scratch post nearby. Encourage your cat or cats to use the post and reward them each time they use the post for scratching. If you reward them, they will think that the post is a good thing and on its usage rewards are distributed.

Use rewards for calm behavior

Let’s face it, sometimes cats show aggression and yowl for no reason. If you have these issues with your cat then reward them each time they are quietly sitting in their favorite corner. You can also give them nice treats or use play as a reward. The choice is yours, but make sure you pay attention to the amount of vocal noises your feline friend is making. Excessive vocalization is not a good sign and in this case, you have to be quick with your rewards. For instance, if your cat has stopped yowling a minute before, immediately treat them with something that keeps them motivated.

Be supportive of your cats’ social behavior

Cats are shy and they hate social gatherings. My cat usually hides herself whenever I have guests at my house. There are two ways to go about this behavior. First, you can leave the cat to her own device because mixing with various people is not a cat’s cup of tea. Second, you can reward her with treats every time she shows herself amidst a group of people. You can also encourage your cat by petting her or showing your affection in the best ways possible. If your cat is rubbing up against you or licking you that is a sign of affection as well. You may wonder why does my cat lick me? It is usually a sign of affection, but sometimes it can mean other things such as being anxious or wanting attention.

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Keep a few tricks up your sleeves

You can teach your cat little tricks using positive reinforcement. For example, lay down, up, down, go back, jump, come, sit, etc. You can also find cat tricks like these on YouTube or in cat books. All these tricks are amazing and work best when you use them for positive reinforcement.

Teach them to eat and drink from their own trays

A few years ago my cat used to drink water from the same cup as mine. I always wondered what was so amusing about the water cup, but she liked drinking from my cup with her paw drenched in the water. So, I decided to teach her how to drink water from her own up. I used to move her away from my cup and take her towards her own cup. Soon after she started drinking water from her own cup I regularly rewarded her for a week. You can try the same and help your cat eats food from her own tray.

A word of caution

Rewarding the correct behavior is more vital than teaching your cat to do a specific thing. Even if your cat comes under the category of an emotional support animal you have to make sure that you are rewarding the right kind of behavior. In other words, a cat’s good behavior should be associated with the reward. As far as bad behavior improvement is concerned, you can redirect your cat and then use the reward. A cat will never appreciate punishments so avoid punishing your cat as much as possible.

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