How to Make a Cat Know You’re Boss (Fully Explained)

Most cat parents have struggled with the issue of how to make a cat know you’re the boss!

The boss is the animal’s friend.

With cats, it can be especially tricky since they’re so independent.

However, it’s not too late in the game if you haven’t succeeded in this in the past.

Cats are naturally relatively independent creatures, which is what makes them so darned cute, but it can also be a major challenge if you’re trying to train them.

The good news is that there are a number of ways to get your cat on the right track and have him/her understand who’s in charge.

Things you can do to get your cat to respect your dominance.

YOU Must Remember who’s in charge!

Whatever you do, don’t give your cat the impression that he/she is the boss.

Make sure they know who’s in charge, or they’ll take advantage of you, and be sure to always make them understand that they are acting out of line.

Realize that they’re afraid.

Everyone knows that cats are independent and able to take care of themselves.

However, when you bring them into a new home, it feels a bit like a cage to them.

They’re used to having their own space and now that’s not possible.

Cats can feel quite vulnerable in this situation, so you’ll need to make them feel safe.

Get to know their needs.

It might seem weird at first, but learn how to read your cat.

They have a lot of preferences and desires that they’ll let you know once they come around to trusting you.

You can then use these as a basis for rewards and punishments. For example, if they’re being particularly affectionate with you, try giving them a treat.

Coax them into learning respect.

This can be a long and drawn-out process, but it’s really not that difficult.

The key is consistency and patience, which is easier said than done.

Just remember that your cat is only acting like this because he/she doesn’t know any better, and if you’re consistent in making him/her understand that these actions are unacceptable, they’ll soon get the message.

Make the right rewards dramatic.

If you want them to respect you, you need to pay attention to what your cat wants.

If your cat is constantly pawing around your feet, give them the things they really enjoy.

A snuggle or a game of retrieve can be used as bribery or reward.

Just remember to never give them something they really don’t like. It will hurt your cause.

Positive reinforcement works best.

Make sure you always reward positive behavior with affection and petting, even if it’s just a little bit at first.

You can never go wrong with that.

If you want to be extra effective, though, make the rewards dramatic. It’s like dangling a string in front of a kitten.

That’s what you do with your cat. Make the rewards more attractive than whatever it is your cat is doing.

Also, cats respond better to rewards they are unaware of so try not to overuse them.

Use a clicker.

A clicker is a very good tool to use. It will help your cat associate the command or behavior with a treat or toy, or some other reward.

You can use one to get them used to responding to you, and then start using it on things they enjoy.

Yelling at them will only get them to tune you out, so be patient and wait for the clicker to do all the work.

If your cat is stubborn, or just really difficult to train, don’t lose heart.

You can train your cat. If you want to be really effective, though, you need to realize that most cats are stubborn.

You need to stay persistent, and it will take a lot of time and energy.

What not to do.

  •  Don’t bribe them with food or praise. They will trick you and make it unpleasant for you and for them. If you do this, you risk being punished yourself
  •  Don’t force them to do something they don’t want to. Never punish them.
  •  Don’t yell at them or harshly punish them for wrongs that aren’t really their fault, just the way they were raised. This will only confuse them and make things worse.
  • Don’t scream, beat, or scare them. You will need to assert yourself as the dominant one but you don’t want to spend all your time fighting with your cat. Let them know you’re in charge in a gentle manner.
  • Don’t train them with treats that they don’t specifically like, or at random times. In other words, don’t bribe them into doing what you want.
  • Don’t assume anything. Be sure you know what your cat wants and that they know what you want. Speak their language and encourage positive behavior.
  • Don’t use the same training method with your adult cat as you did when they were a kitten.
  • Don’t try to force your cat to change his/her behavior, as it is something they can’t be taught unless they’re raised with a cat that already understands how to be a good kitty.
  • Don’t make them train you, make them learn who’s in charge.
  • Remember, cats are animals, not people. They are looking for dominance, not love.
  • Don’t get discouraged if they don’t get it right away. Be patient and consistent.
  • Don’t train them more than you’ve got time for. You may want to master cat commands but that doesn’t mean your cat does too.
  • Don’t neglect to reward positive behavior. They need to know that they’re doing the right thing and that they’re not in trouble.

Know what your cat wants and give it to them!

Cats respond better to rewards they are unaware of so try not to overuse them.

Make it a positive experience, and always supervise your cat while they’re being active.

Final Thoughts

No matter how many times you tell them no, cats will often do things they know are bad because they simply don’t know any better.

Just have faith that as you continue to train them to behave better, they may eventually come around.

That’s all there is to it, just be consistent and patient as you train your cat into becoming a better companion.

In the meantime, watch out for those claws. They’re sharp!


Battersea Cat’s Home

National Geographic

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