Being a cat owner can be a very rewarding thing, but many people are discouraged from owning a cat because they hear horror stories about cats misbehaving. It is true that many cats have behavioral problems, but it isn't because they are unintelligent or just simply naughty by nature. Cats are very independent creatures and unless they are properly trained, they are probably going to have behavior issues.
We have all heard the expression "curiosity killed the cat." Cats are very curious by nature and this is important to remember when your cat is "misbehaving." Just like humans, cats get bored and are likely to be very attracted to unknown objects. Keep this in mind when your cat decides to play with the picture frames on the wall or knock your jewelry off your dresser. They aren't doing these things to intentionally upset you, they don't understand what they are doing is considered a bad behavior. Successful cat behavior training involves positive reinforcement, meaning encouraging your cat to behave properly, rather than punishing them for behaving badly. Don't ever hit or scold them.
In the case of your cat getting on your dresser, instead of yelling at them or throwing something to scare them off, nicely pick your cat up and put them back on the floor. Continue to do this until they figure out they aren't supposed to be up there, and then reward them with a treat or affection each time they jump off on their own or when they eventually just stop jumping up all together.
The difficulty with cat behavior training is that people don't ever think about it until they own a cat that has behavior issues, which is only natural. It is important for people considering getting a cat to do research on common cat behavior problems and educate themselves on how to fix them. Knowing what to possibly expect and educating yourself on how to deal with the problem will help you get a head start before you bring your new cat home. Once you have the new cat, start training them immediately. It is never too early to start behavior training your cat.
Not all cats are going to have behavior problems. Each cat has a unique personality, just as humans, and some cat owners never have an issue with their cat's behavior, others will have to train theirs. Don't let the possibility of having to train your cat keep you from having one as a pet. They are very loving animals and you can develop a great relationship if you put in the time and effort it takes.
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