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How to Train Your Cat to Stay Off the Furniture

Learn to teach your cat to stay off furniture.

Some people love sharing the couch or a favorite chair with their cuddly kitty while others would prefer their cat to keep all four paws on the floor.

If you're in the latter group, that's perfectly okay. Still, it can be a bit of a trick to convince your cat to stay off the furniture.

Use Positive Reinforcement for Cat Training

Whenever you train your cat to do or not do something, focus on positive reinforcement. That means you should show your cat what you do want him to do and reward him for doing it. This technique is in opposition to negative reinforcement techniques, which punish a cat for doing what you don't want him to do.

Negative reinforcement like yelling, spraying with water, or swatting can damage the delicate bond you have with your cat, causing him to fear you. Also, it doesn't work as well as positive reinforcement because it can seem "out of the blue" to your kitty, and he might have a hard time connecting the dots.

In contrast, showing your cat what you want him to do in various situations and giving him big rewards when he does it is a clear statement to him, like a neon sign, of what you want. And it lets him know that doing what you want is more rewarding for him too.

So How Do You Use Positive Reinforcement for Furniture Jumping?

In the case of teaching your cat to stay off the furniture, you must first have acceptable alternatives available for him. That means lots of cozy cat beds, scratching posts, and perches all over your home, especially near furniture that he likes to jump on. Additionally, putting these things near areas where you tend to sit is helpful.

It also means that your cat needs to have ample attention from you that he gets without having to jump up next to you on the furniture. You'll need to sit on the floor to pet and play with him multiple times a day to ensure he's getting what he needs from you.

Interactive playtime and catnip toys that stay on the floor are great ways to teach your cat that keeping his paws off your furniture is more rewarding than getting on it.

Try a Clicker and Treats or Toys

If your cat begins to jump on the furniture and you're there, gently push him off and use a clicker or say "yes" or "good" when all four paws are on the ground. Give praise and a treat or playtime when he's on the floor.

Learn more about clicker training: "Clicker Training for Cats: An Overview."

Be as consistent as possible, but always show your kitty what you do want him to do after you correct him for getting on the furniture. That might mean leading him to his own furniture and giving her praise for using it.

It Can Help to Make the Furniture Unattractive

Sometimes, it can speed up your training to do what you can to make the furniture unattractive to your cat for jumping on. You can place tin foil on it, which is easy to move when you want to sit down. You can also use a Scat Mat, Ssscat Pet Control System, or citrus spray (tested on an inconspicuous area first).

Remember, training your cat to stay off the furniture takes time and patience.

To learn how to keep your cat off the kitchen counter, check here: "Training Your Cat to Stay Off the Kitchen Counter."

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