College Town Cat

Training

The great thing about cats is that they are very self-sufficient. But, as with most pets, basic training can help break bad habits and encourage good behavior. Above, Marcos Mendoza, a 23-year-old Biology major at UF, does some of the tricks he has taught his 18 month old cat, Pietro. He says the best way to train a pet is to start at a young age. According to Mendoza, he slowly worked on small training exercises when Pietro was only a few months old, finally building to intricate tricks. He simply used treats, he said, to reward Pietro with good behavior. He follows this training expertise over into the behavioristic training of Pietro as well, rewarding him for good behavior and vocally commanding him when he misbehaves.

Exercise

Pietro in his college-themed obstacle course.

Especially in a small apartment, it is important for cats to get exercise daily. Numerous health problems, such as diabetes, heart diesease and liver disease, can be caused by a sedentary lifestyle. In a 2008 study by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, it was found that around 57% of American cats are overweight, according to this Web MD Pets article. Not only can exercise help reduce health problems, but according to Animal Planet, play stimulates cats mentally, alleviating boredom and therefore behavioral problems. Cats love snake or bird-like toys--the more interactive, the better. Another cheap idea is to set up boxes or bags to create a sort of "obstacle course" around your apartment.