As an owner of six cats, we’ve tried virtually every cat training tool or gadget at one point or another. One really worthwhile cat gadget is a cat training alarm – a must-have for all cat owners who are trying to keep a cat off the table, counter, bed, or any other undesirable location.
Training a Cat to Stay Off the Kitchen Counter and Other Surfaces
Cat paws carry all sorts of bacteria and germs. After all, cats do make frequent trips to the litter box, and that bacteria can be transferred from your cat’s paws onto your kitchen counters, tables, and any other surface where a cat decides to wander. But teaching or training a cat to keep off the counter, table or other surfaces can be quite difficult.
To effectively and quickly train an animal to stop a particular behavior, the trainer must provide appropriate negative feedback each and every time the behavior occurs. But this isn’t usually possible for cat owners who are trying to teach a cat to stay off the kitchen counter – unless you have someone in the household stand guard with a water bottle 24/7. This is part of what makes it so difficult to train cats to stay off objects like tables, chairs, counters, etc. Occasional negative feedback on inappropriate behavior sends a confusing message to the cat. So instead of understanding that “I should stay off the kitchen counter at all times” the cat learns “I should stay off the kitchen counter only when mom is around.”
Using Cat Training Alarms to Solve Cat Behavior Problems
A cat training alarm solves the cat training dilemma that most pet owners encounter when trying to teach a cat to stay away from certain areas in the home.
Cat training alarms are available at most larger pet supply stores and via various online pet websites for between $20 USD and $40 USD.
Cat training alarms are battery powered alarms, about the size of a the palm of your hand. They have a motion detector that’s triggered by nearby movement When triggered, the alarm will emit a high-pitched sound. In fact, a few cat training alarms feature an extremely high-pitched alarm that’s beyond the human’s hearing range, so humans hear nothing, but the alarm is heard by the cat – along the same lines of a dog whistle.
Cat training alarms are effective because they provide consistent negative feedback when the cat jumps up onto an undesirable surface. Usually, the cat will be completely trained to avoid the countertop or other location within a few days, but cat owners should leave the alarm in place for a few weeks to provide the cat with reinforcement.
A Few More Tips for Using Cat Training Alarms
Cat training alarms can be startling to the cat, especially when this feline training tool is first introduced. This means the cat may run away very suddenly, possibly knocking over nearby objects in the process. So to avoid damage to vases, salt and pepper shakers or any other breakable items, remove these items from the surface or secure the items
One great way to secure breakable items to a hard surface is to use a bit of poster putty to temporarily adhere the breakable item to the surface.
For scratchable surfaces, like a wooden tabletop, cover the surface with a thick tablecloth. This will prevent the cat’s nails from scratching and damaging the surface if he startles and suddenly takes off running.
In addition, pet owners who also have dogs in the household should monitor their reaction to the cat training alarm. Most dogs do not react adversely, but a few dogs – particularly dogs with a history of abuse, neglect or anxiety disorders – may be especially sensitive to loud noises like a cat alarm.
Cat alarms can come in especially handy when putting up holiday decorations around the house. Check out my Hazards for Pets article for advice on how to pet-proof your home this holiday season.