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Question
Hi, I have a 3 1/2 month old male kitten named Match.  And I have having a lot of problems in training him; pretty much everywhere I look he is getting into trouble (climbing on stuff he is not supposed to, chewing on stuff he is not supposed to, etc.).  I have tried a lot of methods that have been told to me (never hitting him) and I am running out of options.  I think it could be the other cats that he is with or maybe there are just too many people telling him what to do and he is confused (I live with another family that has 5 cats)...I don't know; all I do know is that I need help!

Answer
Gayle,

Training a cat is a bit tricky under the best circumstances. However, when there are other cats around it makes it nearly impossible unless they have been trained to the same behaviors.

Training with cats works best if you use positive reinforcement techniques, i.e. reward for desired behaviors.  Also, cats learn better and are more cooperative if they think it is their idea to do this.

Some people have had remarkable success with a technique called "clicker training" which embodies these ideas (See http://www.clickertraining.com).

Besides, what is the kitten chewing, where is he going and what is he getting into that getting up on things is a problem?

We found that "cat proofing" an area often works best. You also need to understand that cats like to operate in all 3 dimensions, so getting up on things is a very natural instinct for cats.

Another place which may have some suggestions is http://jacksongalaxy.com/category/cat-behavior-and-care/behavioral-issues/

Let me know what you find out, please.

Best regards... Norm.

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Norman Auspitz

Expertise

I can answer most non-veterinary questions about cats. My particular expertise is pedigree cats, breeding and showing. However, I am versed in feline behavior, cat breeds and their characteristics, general feline husbandry, and the like.

Experience

I judged for the Canadian Cat Association from 1975 until 1982. I am currently an approved allbreed judge for the Cat Fanciers'' Association (the world''s largets cat registry), and have been judging for them since 1991. I have been breeding pedigreed cats since 1971 and have been exhibiting pedigreed cats in shows since 1970. I obtained my first pedigreed cat in 1970 and have never looked back. In 1971, I obtained my first Abyssinian which has become my primary breed. In addition, I have bred Manx and Persians. Currently, besides the Abyssinians, I am also breeding Maine Coons.


Organizations
Cat Fanciers'' Association, inc. (CFA) and the Manx, Maine Coon, and Abyssinian breed councils. I am currently Abyssinian breed council secretary.

Publications
Cat Fancy Magazine, The Abyssinian Chapter in The Cat Fanciers'' Association Complete Cat Book, and Articles for various editions of The Cat Fanciers'' Association Yearbook

Education/Credentials
I received a B.S. from Drexel University in 1968, a M.Math from University of Waterloo, in 1970, a Ph.D. from University of Waterloo in 1975, and a MBA from McMaster University in 1980. I received my approved allbreed judging status in the Cat Fanciers'' Association in 1999.

Awards and Honors
We have produced a number of Cat Fanciers'' Association (CFA) National winning Abyssinian and Maine Coons. We have produced a number of Abyssinian and Maine Coon Distinguished Merit females (an award for a top producing cat), including the first Distinguished Merit Abyssinian in the red (sorrel) color. I am the CFA Abyssinian breed council secretary and belong and/or hold office in a number of cat clubs. I am also a member of the CFA Judges Association.

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