How to teach a kitten to use the cat tree

How to teach a kitten to use the cat tree

You can teach a kitten to use the scratching post. The best way is to start as early as possible. Here you will find tips and advice about kittens, their learning behaviour and scratching posts. 

It is often said that you can’t teach cats anything. But that is absolutely not true. Yes, cats are stubborn. But they are also very clever. Cats know very well what is nice and what is not. And what dangerous things they should better not do. Do you want to teach your cat something? Then start early, because kittens are very eager to learn.  

In this blog we will explain how cats learn so that you can better understand their learning behaviour. And we will give you some tips on how to teach your kitten to use the scratching post. Are you reading (and learning)?

Or would you like to see all cat trees for kittens at once?

This is how a cat learns:

Congenital behaviour

Much of the behaviour of cats is innate. This means that they acquire some character traits and instincts at birth. When a kitten is about four weeks old, it already knows, for example, that it has to dig a hole in a soft surface and that it can pee in it.

Learning by watching

A small kitten also learns by watching its mother’s behaviour. So the little cat will copy what its mother does. But a kitten also learns from other cats in the house. If, for example, you already have a quiet adult cat in the house who is relaxed with people, the kitten will copy this behaviour.

Learning through practice

Kittens are curious and learn by practising a lot. For example, if a kitten climbs on the couch once and falls off, it will keep trying until it gets better at it and finally succeeds. This way kittens find out for themselves what works and what doesn’t.

So a kitten learns itself all sorts of things. But what should you do if you want to teach your cat something?

Unlearning a cat (through conditioning)

Cats are great animals. But they also sometimes do things you don’t like. Here is an example. Suppose you are petting your kitten and it bites your hand. And that, of course, is not allowed. Stop this behaviour immediately after the bite and walk away.

Your kitten will notice two things now.

1: You have stopped petting and that is not nice.

2: It doesn’t get any more attention and that’s not nice either.

If you continue to react in this way, after a few times your kitten will understand the consequences of biting and will stop doing it – after all, it doesn’t do any good.

Important: punishing a cat never works. You will make your cat very nervous.

Teaching your cat (by rewarding good behaviour)

Kittens (and cats) are smart and good at making connections. The most effective way to teach a kitten something is to reward it. This can be done with a nice treat. But if your kitten doesn’t care about that, a caress or playing together is a nice reward as well.

After reading all this, you will have a better understanding of how cats learn. And how you can teach them or unteach them things. But now the big question is: how do you teach a kitten to use the scratching post? We will show you in a few easy steps below.

How to teach a kitten to use the scratching post

Kittens also need to scratch things. Scratching makes them happy and keeps their muscles supple. Always make sure you have one or more scratching posts in your home. There’s a big chance your kitten will use the scratching post on his own. Is this not the case? Then try this:

  • Place a scratching post suitable for kittens and small cats.
  • Place the scratching post where your kitten often walks by.
  • Play with your kitten near the scratching post several times a day.
  • Reward your kitten when it uses the scratching post.
  • Does your kitten scratch your furniture? Pick up your fluffy toy quietly and put it down by the scratching post.
  • Reward it immediately when it scratches the scratching post.
  • Is your kitten still not using the scratching post often enough after a few weeks? Spray some liquid catnip on the scratching post. Pay attention: always read the instructions on the bottle first.

And finally, a useful tip

It is always better to have more than one scratching post in the house. Place a scratching post in every room where your cat spends a lot of time. Want to know more about cats and scratching posts? Here you can read all about scratching behaviour, the ideal place for a scratching post and the best scratching post to buy.

Disclaimer: Petrebels does not consist of veterinarians or behavioral experts: all content, information and tips on this blog are intended to inspire and inform you. Does your cat have complaints or problems and do you have doubts about your cat’s health? Then always go to the vet or a behavioral expert.

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Katten slapen gemiddeld 16 uur per dag en doen dat vol overgave: er wordt gerekt, gestrekt en schaamteloos gegaapt. Heerlijk. De Luie Rebel is er wel héél goed in. Die laat rennen en spelen liever aan een ander over en ploft met gemak overal neer voor een overheerlijk dutje. Maar het liefst ligt deze Rebel in een lekker zacht mandje of hangmatje.

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Katten hebben van nature de behoefte om hun nagels te scherpen. Ze markeren daarmee hun territorium en worden er ontspannen en blij van. De Krabbel Rebel weet van geen ophouden als het om krabbelen gaat. Maak van je huis daarom een feestje voor deze Rebel en zet één (of meer) goede krabpalen neer.

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Buitenkatten houden van hun vrijheid en van avontuur. Ze verstoppen zich vaak in struiken en houden de hele buurt in de gaten. Ze kunnen zich uren vermaken met rondvliegende insecten en nemen – als het even meezit – een echte muis voor je mee naar huis. De Outdoor Rebel komt thuis om gezellig met de baasjes te kroelen en rustig te eten. En stelt het op prijs als er een fijn plekje is om uit te rusten voor het volgende avontuur.

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Sommige katten blijven liever binnen. Of het baasje wil dit graag. Indoor Rebels vinden het heerlijk om naar buiten te kijken – naar al het spannends wat zich daar afspeelt. Je maakt deze katten blij door het binnen net zo spannend te maken als buiten. Prikkel hun instincten met speeltjes en krabmeubels waar ze lekker in kunnen klimmen, want dan blijven ze gelukkig en gezond.

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Cats sleep up to 16 hours a day with full commitment: lots of stretching and shameless yawning… Mhmm, delicious. The lazy Rebel masters this trait like no other and prefers to leave the running and playing to someone else. This lazy napper is able to lie down anywhere to take a well-deserved rest, but they prefer a nice and soft hammock or basket.

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Cats naturally have the need to sharpen their nails. This way they mark their territory. It also makes them relaxed and happy. The scratching Rebel will never stop when it comes to this. Transform your house into a “scratching paradise” for this Rebel and supply it with one or several good cat trees.

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Outdoor cats love adventure and freedom. They often hide in bushes to keep an eye on their surroundings. They can entertain themselves for hours with bugs flying around and they might even take home a real mouse for you! The outdoor Rebel will come home to cuddle with its owner and to eat peacefully. This adventurer would appreciate it if there is a nice spot in your house to rest before the next adventure.

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Some cats prefer to stay inside, this can also be a decision made by the owner. Indoor Rebels enjoy watching the outside world – and everything exciting that happens there. You can make these cats happy by making the indoor world just as exciting as the outdoor world. Stimulate their senses with toys and cat furniture in which they can climb. This way they remain healthy and happy.

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Katzen schlafen durchschnittlich 16 Stunden pro Tag und tun dies voller Hingabe. Sie strecken sich, dehnen sich und gähnen unverhohlen. Herrlich! Der faule Rebell ist sehr gut darin. Er überlässt das Toben und Spielen am liebsten jemand anderem und macht stattdessen lieber ein kleines Nickerchen. Am liebsten bevorzugt dieser Schläfer ein weiches Sofa oder ein gepolsterte Liegefläche.

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Katzen haben von Natur aus das Bedürfnis, ihre Nägel zu schärfen. Damit markieren sie zum einen ihr Territorium und verhindern zum anderen, dass die Nägel zu lang werden und einwachsen. Kratzen, wetzen und schärfen macht sie entspannt und glücklich. Der Kratz-Rebell kennt dann auch kein Halten mehr, wenn es ums Wetzen und Kratzen geht. Mach dein Zuhause also zu einer Partyzone für diesen Rebellen und stelle einen (oder mehrere) gute Kratzbäume mit viel Wetzmöglichkeiten auf.

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Freigängerkatzen lieben die Freiheit und das Abenteuer. Oft verstecken sie sich im Gebüsch und behalten die ganze Nachbarschaft im Auge. Sie können sich stundenlang mit fliegenden Insekten vergnügen, streunen herum und bringen im schlimmsten Fall eine Maus als Geschenk mit nach Hause. Der Outdoor-Rebell kommt nur nach Hause, um mit den Besitzern eventuell zu kuscheln und sich sein Fressen servieren zu lassen. Und er schätzt es über alle Maßen, wenn er einen schönen, gemütlichen Platz am liebsten auf einem Kratzbaum zum Ausruhen für das nächste Abenteuer angeboten bekommt.

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Einige Katzen sind reine Indoor-Rebellen. Entweder, weil sie es vorziehen in einem warmen und gefahrlosen Zuhause zu leben oder weil der Besitzer dies so möchte. Indoor-Rebellen lieben es nach draußen zu schauen – und das aufregende Leben draußen aus sicherer Entfernung zu beobachten. Diese Katzen sind glücklich, wenn man drinnen die gleichen Abenteuer simuliert, die sie draußen beobachten können. Stimuliere deren Instinkte mit Spielzeug und Kratzmöbeln, in denen sie herumklettern und toben können, damit sie gesund, agil und glücklich bleiben.

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