We love our cats, but we may not always love their behavior. Unfortunately, cats prove harder to train than dogs because of the lower motivation for food. Your furry feline can meet his own survival needs, so training him to stop jumping on you can prove tricky. Luckily, we will show you six easy ways to train your cat so that he stops this painful behavior.
Trick #1: Become a Cat Psychologist
Many people report their cat jumping on their back or on their chest before they go to feed them. Most of the time, when your cat jumps on you, he wants your undivided attention. Your cat may have learned early on that when he performs this action, he creates an interaction with you that keeps your attention on him and gives him what he wants.
If he jumps on you before mealtime, he may do it as a way of showing you that he wants food. Many people talk about this problem at mealtime when they only feed their cat once a day. Your cat may feel starving and desperate for more food. As a result, he leaps onto your back or chest as a way of showing you what he wants.
Understand the motivations of your cat and take away his reason for doing it. If your cat jumps on you during mealtime, give him multiple meals per day. Cats often eat many small meals per day out in the wild. You will want to feed him at least twice per day to mitigate some of this unwanted behavior.
Animals continue with specific behaviors because of how it gives them what they want. Change your own behavior and avoid giving your cat what he wants to see if it resolves the problem.
Trick #2: Use Positive Reinforcement
You could define positive reinforcement as giving your cat a reward for desirable behavior. This increases the likelihood that he will continue with those actions in the future especially if you do it enough times. Understand how stopping your cat from jumping on you will take time. You must make it a gradual shift for the cat to adjust to new habits.
Some of the possible rewards to give your cat include:
- Yummy treats
Cats learn best through positive reinforcement, which will make the behavior more quickly ingrained. Especially with one where your cat leaps on your back full of claws, you want to stop this painful behavior as soon as possible. Unfortunately, there’s no quick road, but trying some of these easy tricks can help you to figure out how to best stop him from the behavior.
Jackson Galaxy has a great video here on how to train your cat using a clicker. Check out the video here:
In case, you found the clicker video interesting, you can buy one here. It comes with a kit that shows you how to use it, and you can use it to stop the unwanted jumping from your cat.
Trick #3: Interrupt the Unwanted Jumping with a Clicker
One of the ways where you might do this in an environment where your cat jumps on you is by interrupting him before he has the chance to do it. For example, leave the room and enter again, and as you see him preparing, use the clicker. This will hopefully stop him enough to wonder about the noise. Feed him the treat to distract him from the idea of jumping on you.
Keep in mind, you don’t reward him if he jumps on you because it will reinforce negative behavior.
Once your cat becomes used to this new routine, you will want to reward him only if he acts calmly before you feed him. Never reward a cat for unwanted behavior before because he will do it more often.
Trick #4: Promote an Environment Where He Won’t Want to Jump on You
You want to make his jumping on your back seem like an undesirable thing to do. Make it so that instead of it giving him what he wants, it will do the exact opposite.
Expert Information: They call creating an environment that punishes unwanted behavior a remote correction. It has the extra benefit of removing you from the equation as the bad guy. Many times when a cat experiences an unpleasant consequence, it will avoid the behavior in the future to prevent the same thing from happening.
Let’s take an example of where this may prove effective because it may have less of an effect in cases where he feels hungry.
Your cat has taken to leaping onto your back and up onto your shoulders to climb onto the refrigerator. Cats love to be up high because it protects them in the wild from predators. While cats are predators, they are also an animal of prey. Being up high allows them to see the potential dangers in their environment.
How do you stop a cat from using you to climb up to the refrigerator? You provide him with a more attractive alternative. Take what he already wants but shift it in a way that will be less destructive and painful for you. For example, you might put a cat tree nearby where he can see everything from up there. Hopefully, this will make the effort of climbing less desirable because he can do what he wants more easily.
Redirecting your cat’s energies is often the more effective route over trying to change what he wants.
Trick #5: Keep His Nails Short
You want to clip your cat’s nails every week-and-a-half to two weeks. The shorter nails will prevent scratches and make it less painful when he engages in this behavior. Unfortunately, stopping a cat from jumping on you in its entirety can prove difficult. You must first understand why he does it and make it less attractive to do. It takes longer to train a cat than a dog.
Expert Advice: Clipping your cat’s nails differs greatly from having him declawed. Declawing a cat is an inhumane practice that amputates the first joint of your cat’s toes. You should never declaw a cat for any reason, not even if he’s jumping on you. Many health problems can arise over the practice like tissue necrosis, lameness and infection. He also can’t climb to defend himself from predators or scratch with them, making him feel insecure. Clipping his nails, on the other hand, is like if you were to trim your own nails.
Keeping your cat’s nails short will keep his jumping on you less painful. At the same time, it helps in cases where you’re cuddling with him. I have a cat where when I cuddle with him, he likes to knead with his claws. I keep his nails short to make them less noticeable.
Trick #6: Know the Situational Triggers—Avoid Them
One guaranteed trick to stop your cat from jumping on you is to understand when it happens. If you can’t stop him from doing it—I offer you a guaranteed alternative. Let’s say that your cat likes to jump on your right before mealtime as the excitement becomes too much for him.
I’m not saying don’t feed your cat. Instead, change the way that you do it. Take your cat and put it inside another room beforehand closing the door. Fill his food bowl and bring him to his bowl once you have filled up his food. You will never suffer from your cat jumping on you again if he does it for this reason. At the same time, you can try feeding him the normal way later to see if it changed the bad habit.
In other cases, you have to figure out when he jumps on you and avoid those situations. Let’s take another example where you use the bathroom sink to wash your hair. During this time, your cat likes to leap onto your back and scale up to your shoulders. Close the bathroom door to prevent him from getting in during the time that he would like to perform this behavior.
Easy Tricks Summed Up
I put together this easy summary of the tricks outlined in the article with a recommendation when to use it so that you can more easily figure out where to start:
|Tricks||When to Use It|
|Trick #1: Pay Attention—Become a Cat Psychologist||Good all-around advice to stop the unwanted jumping. Use it everywhere.|
|Trick #2: Use Positive Reinforcement||Good for jumping when he’s trying to get your attention. Less powerful for motivational reasons.|
|Trick #3: Interrupt the Unwanted Behavior with a Clicker||Great to use when you want to change a cat’s behavior through motivation|
|Trick #4: Promote an Environment Where He Won’t Want to Jump on You||Useful in cases where the environment is the trigger|
|Trick #5: Keep His Nails Short||Good practice to follow every one-and-half to two weeks.|
|Trick #6: Know the Situational Triggers and Avoid Them||Good practice in general, but especially helpful when all else has failed. Guaranteed to work when done right.|
Reasons for Optimism
As your cat ages, he may grow out of this behavior. Many times, kittens are the most prone to this or climbing up your legs. If you’d like to learn more about how to stop a kitten from climbing up your legs, check out this article here. The enthusiasm of youth often leaves your kitten climbing your legs in search of adventure to the dismay of their cat parents.
How Do I Stop My Cat from Jumping on Me at Night?
Perhaps one of the more annoying ways that your cat could jump on you, he waits until you fall asleep to walk over the top of you. This wakes you up in the middle of the night and has led to insomnia in some cases. He may also leap from the furniture onto you during these escapades. What can you do to stop this behavior? Usually, your cat does this because he wants your attention.
Cats are nocturnal, and they will often sleep during the day to hunt at night. Especially if you don’t give him enough activity during the day, he will be full of energy and ready to play at night. This may prompt him to jump on your while you’re sleeping. Stimulate him more during the day to prevent this unwanted behavior. You could also close your bedroom door at night to stop him from coming in—especially if you’re a light sleeper who can’t fall back asleep easily, a quality night’s rest matters.
None of these tricks to stop your cat from jumping on you require too much effort on your part. In most cases, you can do them easily. Cats do prove harder to train than dogs, but you can still train them on basic things like this or using the litterbox. The other thing that I love about cats is that they’re far less maintenance than other pets.
One of the things that might annoy the owners of a kitten is when he likes to climb and explore the furniture. I wrote an article about how to stop a kitten from climbing the furniture here.