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How to train your new cat / kitten

Updated on September 8, 2012

So your new kitty needs a little help...

Not all cats are perfect when you get them from the shelter or store. Here are some tips to train your kitty:

Come when called

Using food or a kind voice are good ways to get a cat to come. They respond best to positive reinforcement. Start training at feeding time; call his or her name and add "come." Do this every mealtime and after a week or so, your cat will come automatically.

Using the litter box

Most cats and kitten should be trained, but if not, all you have to do is take her when you first can once it's home, put her in the box, and run her forepaws in the litter. Ensure the box is in an accessible and quiet location; cats are finicky aboutu cleanliness.

Make sure it uses the box in the first few hours. If it does, praise it! If it won't use the box, it might have a health problem.

Using a scratching post

My Koloa kitty was declawed by her former owners, so I don't have to worry about this one :(

Put your kitty's paws up on the post and move them up and down so they can see what it feels like. If you see them scratching elsewhere, like furniture, clap your hands and say, "No!" then put the kitty back on the post. Praise it when it uses it.


Cats naturally love to play and pretend to hunt. You might want to wear a glove if you interfere with their play.

"Scooping fish" is a game they like to play in which they take an object on the floor, use their paw to "scoop" it over their shoulder, then turn in the air and try to catch it or pounce on it.

"Prey pounce" is when they stalk their "prey," stop for a few moments, they pouce. My kitty does this a lot.

The "bird swat" is when they swat with one paw until they think the object is "dead." This is the most fun game for a person to play with a cat; use a toy on the end of a string and you can dangle it or drag it along the ground.

They might outgrow really rough play soon.


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    • profile image

      miller 3 years ago

      i have a black kitten and she was a house hold then when I got on this websit and saw the video and these steps and tried I on her .she started being a good kitten and a playful kitten . oh yeah her name is bissy

    • profile image

      Aleesha 4 years ago

      dat was very useful and a nice cat

      i am looking forward 2 getting my cat tomorrow


    • profile image

      dave 6 years ago

      i enjoy your tips now i am really excited about getting one!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • profile image

      sandra 6 years ago

      we have a kitten that goes outside with doors. But she has gone three different times on the beds. Out of the blue. It's a mess. What can I do?????

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      sara 6 years ago

      my kitten is alove bug sits on me and plays with me follows me everywhere but every now and then she naps and scratching me adn people really bad i tons of scratchign posts and she use them but still gets me and my friends

    • profile image

      Erin 6 years ago


      I know that you have probably done it by now as it has been 8 months but I would strongly recommend that you not get her de - clawed, or at least research it before you do. A cats claws are not like nails they are actually a part of the bone and have tendons attached to them that allows them to retract. By removing them the vet has to actually amputate a bit of the cats toes. A lot of vets won't do it because it is considered inhumane. It has been known to change a cats temperament because part their defense system has been taken away. It also changes how they move when they walk.

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      Sugerlover! 7 years ago

      thanks she still bites toes and scratches hands! oh well some things in life you just have to live with. she completely sleeps through the night now! we are getting her a harness and a lesh so we can take her walking this summer. is that a good idea? my friend also has a cat and i am trying to talk her into walking it with me!:D

    • glassvisage profile image

      glassvisage 7 years ago from Northern California

      A lot of times, animals may bite or scratch if they have not been handled enough when they're young. Make sure to show your cat lots of affection when you can. Sometimes these habits stay and it's just a part of a cat's personality - my cat is a toe-attacker :)

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      Sugerlover! 7 years ago

      omg i got a cat for christmas and she is so cute! but she bites and claws the funature. she also isn't very loving. she is only 8 weeks and will be nine on wendsday. i hope she grows to like us! she is so playful and stuff but she gets into stuff and hides in the smallest holes she can fit into. I named her suger because when she starts to play she gets very hyper. Also because she was so sweet when it took her out of the cage on Christmas. Shelikes to sleep on and begind pillows and climb up the back of the couch. We are going to get her fixed and declawed so she doesn't rip our funature. If you sre asleep and sleep wants to play, she will bite your toes to wake you up. Then she will go all nija kitty on your nose when you sit up! have any tips that will help me?

    • profile image

      Nana 7 years ago

      I'm ganna get a kitten soon, and tha's my first one, i have no experience on how to treat it or to deal with it and i'm afraid i wouldn't know how to train it, so how can i deal with my new kitten when i first bring her home ?

    • profile image

      Madison 7 years ago

      im gonna get a kitten soon but i aready have a 1 year old cat and she is really aggressive to other animals and cats because shes really shy i dont know if the kitten will be safe around my older female cat

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      Adam 8 years ago

      Looking for a good way to train AND help your cats play? Take a look at the emery cat review at

    • glassvisage profile image

      glassvisage 8 years ago from Northern California

      Thank you all for your comments! Dave, that's a great method that I should try... My cats constantly lay on top of me :)

    • profile image

      David H 8 years ago

      Actually, I do it differently than all the 'experts' out there. Almost every cat at some point wants attention, and when they do, you say their name. When my cats are laying on me, purring and being generally happy, I repeat their name as I pet them. I don't have to do anything else, when I say their name they come.

      This is a better way for guys; women have higher pitched voices which cats take better. Guys with low voices like me, this seems to work better for. When I raise my voice, it's not pretty. It's not just cats, but even pitbulls and humans think I'm angry.

      This isn't necessarily the truth, it's just that I have a very deep, harsh voice, and when I raise it, it comes across a certain way.

      So, if you're a guy with a deep or strong voice, the best thing is to get your pets used to it. Say their name repeatedly while they are at their happiest.

      That's all I do, I don't do clicker training, my babies could care less about treats usually, all they want is affection. But: they all come when I call.

      This is a very important training, by the way. The simple fact is, what if there's a fire, or something else. You want to have them trained to respond to come to you.

      I know nobody wants to think about a bad situation, but you need to be prepared. Have your pets trained to come to your voice, also have notices in your windows so firemen can see that you have a certain number and type of pets in the place.

      Anyway, this turned out to be longer and more of a lecture than I intended, but it's very important (and not very hard) to train your animals to answer to their names.

      I apologize for my long-windedness.


    • Ms Chievous profile image

      Tina 8 years ago from Wv

      Hey Glassvisage,

      I just adpoted a cat not to long ago ( actually she adopted us!) She does not want ot use that scratching post at all! My four year old is trying to teach it how to play football..that is fun to watch (Check out her pics in my hub about Figaro if you want!)

    • stephanie mclain profile image

      Stephanie 8 years ago from Texas

      Great info! I'm trying to teach mine about the scratching post. He's doing really well for a beginner! He just seems to like my couch more for now, but I'm sure he'll learn soon.

      Thanks for the tips. :)

    • glassvisage profile image

      glassvisage 8 years ago from Northern California

      Thanks everyone! Jum, just make sure that you don't let your cat get away with biting... but don't punish it either!

    • profile image

      jum 8 years ago

      i just gt a kitten. it bites like crazy but its learning...i hope things workout

    • patm7 profile image

      patm7 9 years ago from Bradenton FL

      It's amazing how quickly they figure it out, isn't it?

      My sister-in-law actually trained her cat to go in the toilet. I never could master that one, though I've had many cats over the years.

      Nice job!


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      Christopher 9 years ago

      I love cats I am a really big fan of cats.You have a great hub.Good info.