Although cats were once worshiped as gods, neglecting to teach Tails that you're the boss can result in scratched furniture, soiled carpets and aggressive behavior. To make him respect you as the top cat, teach him right from wrong, and before you know it, you'll be an exceptional match.
Setting boundaries is essential if you want to establish a good relationship with your cat. Ideally, teach Tails as a kitten what he can and can't do, and he'll grow into a well-behaved cat. Don't expect him to be perfect the moment you bring him home, because he can't read your mind. If he's not allowed on your bed or on the kitchen counter, remove him each time he jumps on it and place him on his own bed or in his cat tree. With consistency, he'll get the message and respect your wishes.
To give Tails the impression that you're the top cat, put yourself in charge of his care and develop a daily routine for all activities. Talk to him, play with him and feed, groom and train him. This will make Tails dependent on you and he'll start looking at you as the person in charge -- the parent figure. Allow your furry friend to be around you when you watch television or work on the computer, because the more he's around you, the more his trust in you will increase.
Just like raising a child, raising a cat sometimes means dealing with bad behavior. Look at these times as opportunities to show your pet companion that he has to respect you and your home. To nip bad behavior in the bud, shake a can of coins or squirt him with water when you catch him in the act. Also, lavish him with praise and treats when he displays good behavior, such as scratching a scratching post instead of the couch. The positive experience will make him want to keep up the good work.
In addition to teaching your cat who's in charge, training him helps enhance the bond you have with him. Just like a dog, cats can learn how to sit, lie down and come on command. Training should be pleasant and reward-based so your pet companion stays motivated. Avoid physically punishing your cat, because this will only make him fear you. Eventually, Tails will start looking at you for instructions. He'll be less stressed and you'll be able to better control your cat.
- Your Cat: The Owner's Manual; Dr. Marty Becker
- Planet Cat; Sandra Choron et al.
- Corell University: Maddie's Shelter Medicine Program: Correcting Unwanted Behavior in Your Cat
Kimberly Caines is a well traveled model, writer and licensed physical fitness trainer who was first published in 1997. Her work has appeared in the Dutch newspaper "De Overschiese Krant" and on various websites. Caines holds a degree in journalism from Mercurius College in Holland and is writing her first novel.