MAINE COON CAT TRAINING PRINCIPLES
- Maine Coons like food. Anything that likes food can be trained to do just about anything.
- Training empowers your Maine Coon. When your cat learns what it needs to do to get a reward, it will try to get that reward every chance it gets. Training not only teaches your cat an effective way of communicating with you, it also mutually strengthens the bond you have with your cat.
- Cats love routine. When you start a new behavior with a cat, it will catch on. You have to be patient and predictable. It’s easy for a cat to get used to something when it happens exactly the same way every time.
- Cats aren’t capable of acting out of spite. I KNOW that cats can seem like spiteful little monsters sometimes, but spite requires a higher brain function that cats actually don’t have.
- Yelling is bad. Yelling is scary and all it does is make your cat uneasy and afraid, which is not the goal when you’re trying to change a behavior.
- Getting mad is ineffective. It’s not that your cat doesn’t care that you’re mad, it’s that your cat doesn’t understand why you’re mad. It doesn’t have the slightest idea why you would become angry after it pushes your grandmother’s vase off the counter, except that maybe it made a loud noise. But your cat didn’t make the noise, the vase made the noise, so why are you mad at the cat? To your cat, it was a cool trick. If you haven’t noticed, cats are pretty obsessed with using gravity to influence the locations of objects. They really don’t understand that the end result was absolutely caused by them. Sure, your cat started it, but then it was all the vase. And what’s the big deal anyway? The noise only lasted for a couple of seconds.
HOW TO STOP YOUR CAT FROM BEGGING WHILE YOU EAT
You have to view begging from a “rewards” standpoint. Food is a reward. Your cat knows it will get a reward if it meows at you while you’re eating. If you stop rewarding your cat when it begs, it will stop begging. It’s going to take time for your cat to learn that begging no longer causes food to appear, so be patient. The more predictable you are, the faster your cat will catch on. Follow these guidelines to help:
- Feed cat food only. Don’t feed your cats human foods. Cat food has all the nutrients they need, and it’s healthier.
- Create a special feeding area. Ideally, this will be physically separated from human food prep and eating areas, such as the laundry room or a special corner of the kitchen. Avoid using the kitchen counter or table to prepare cat food.
- Distinguish feeding times. Separate their feeding time from your food prep and eating times.
- Establish a routine. Feed your cat at exactly the same time every day. Your cat will learn to expect food at this time. If your schedule is irregular, get an automated feeder.
- Practice patient firmness. Don’t allow your cat to sniff or come near your plate. If your cat tries to butt in while you’re eating, hold your hand up in front of the cat’s face as a physical block and say, “No”. Don’t yell or get mad, just be firm and consistent.
- Treats are special. Only give treats after interacting with your cat, such as during or after a play or training session, or when your cat exhibits a behavior that you like.
- Permanent change. These feeding parameters aren’t temporary – they’re forever. If you switch back to the old ways of lax feeding times, sharing food and giving in to begging, your cat won’t learn to stop begging.