Train Your American Shorthair: Tips and Tricks


Welcoming a new American Shorthair cat into your home can be an exciting but challenging experience. As a cat owner, it is important to understand that American Shorthairs are intelligent, curious and independent cats that require proper training to develop good behavior habits and maintain a healthy lifestyle. In this article, we will provide you with helpful tips and tricks to train your American Shorthair, from litter box training to addressing common behavioral issues. By following these training methods, you will be able to bond with your furry pal while creating a well-behaved feline companion that is a joy to be around. Let’s get started!

About American Shorthair Cats

One of the most popular breeds in the United States, the American Shorthair cat is beloved for its playful demeanor and adaptability. American Shorthairs are medium to large cats that have broad faces, robust bodies, and short, dense fur that comes in a variety of colors and patterns.

These cats are known for their friendly and affectionate personalities, making them great pets for families with children or other pets. They are also relatively low maintenance and adaptable to different environments.

American Shorthairs have a long and interesting history in the United States. They are descended from the cats brought over by European settlers in the 17th century, who used them as working cats to control pests like rats and mice. Over time, these cats evolved into the American Shorthair breed we know today, with distinct characteristics and traits that set them apart from other breeds.

While American Shorthairs are generally healthy and easy-going cats, they still have their own unique quirks and needs when it comes to training and behavior. For example, they can be prone to certain health issues such as dental problems and obesity, which require careful attention and monitoring by their owners.

American Shorthairs are intelligent and social animals that respond well to positive reinforcement training techniques. By taking the time to properly train and socialize your cat, you can help them develop into a happy, well-adjusted pet that brings joy and companionship to your home.

Litter Training

Litter Training
Litter training your American Shorthair is an essential part of ensuring a stress-free environment for both you and your feline friend. Toilet training your cat can prove to be a challenging process, but with patience and consistency, you can teach your cat to use the litter box without any difficulties. In this section, we’ll provide you with tips and tricks on how to train your American Shorthair to use the litter box, from choosing the right litter box to troubleshooting common litter training issues. Let’s dive in and discover how to help your American Shorthair achieve a well-behaved and litter-trained lifestyle.

Choosing the Right Litter Box

When it comes to choosing the right litter box for your American Shorthair, there are a few important things to keep in mind. The first thing you want to consider is the size of the litter box. American Shorthairs are a medium-sized breed, so you want to make sure the litter box is big enough for your cat to comfortably move around in. In general, a litter box should be at least 1.5 times longer than your cat from nose to tail. It’s always better to go a little larger if you’re not sure.

The second thing to consider is the type of litter box. There are many different types of litter boxes on the market, including open-top, covered, and self-cleaning options. Open-top litter boxes are generally the best option for American Shorthairs because they provide plenty of room and are easy to clean. Covered litter boxes can be a good choice if your cat prefers privacy, but they can also trap odors and make cleaning more difficult. Self-cleaning litter boxes can be a great option for busy owners, but they do require a larger investment.

Next, think about the material of the litter box. Most litter boxes are made from plastic, but there are also options made from wood, metal, and other materials. Plastic litter boxes are the most common and affordable option, but they can also absorb odors over time and might need to be replaced more frequently. Metal litter boxes are durable and easy to clean but can be noisy when your cat scratches around in the litter. Wood litter boxes are eco-friendly and stylish, but they can be harder to clean and can absorb moisture.

Finally, consider the placement of your cat’s litter box. Cats prefer a private and quiet area to do their business, so make sure the litter box is placed in a low-traffic area away from loud noises and other distractions. Ideally, your cat’s litter box should also be placed far away from their food and water bowls.

Choosing the right litter box is an important part of litter training your American Shorthair, so take your time and choose the option that will work best for your cat and your household.

Introducing Your Cat to the Litter Box

Before introducing your American Shorthair to their litter box, it’s important to select the right type of litter. Many cats prefer unscented, clumping litter, while others may prefer a different texture. It might take some trial and error to find the right litter for your cat. Once you have the right type of litter, follow these steps for introducing your cat to their litter box:

  1. Choose the right location: Select a quiet, low-traffic area for the litter box. Your cat needs privacy while using the box, and loud noises or frequent interruptions can cause them to avoid it entirely.
  2. Show your cat the litter box: Bring your cat to the litter box and let them sniff it. They may jump in and start using it right away, or they may show no interest. Either way, it’s important to give them time to get comfortable with the box and its location.
  3. Encourage your cat to use the litter box: If your cat doesn’t use the litter box on their own, gently place them in it and scratch their front paws in the litter to show them what to do. Repeat this process several times a day until they start using the box independently.

Remember, litter training can take time, so be patient with your pet. If they continue to avoid the litter box, there may be an issue you need to address. For example, they might be afraid of the litter box, or they may not like the type of litter you’ve chosen. In cases like this, refer to ‘/american-shorthair-behavior-solutions/’ for tips on how to address common litter box issues.

Common Litter Training Issues and How to Solve Them

When litter training your American Shorthair, you may encounter some common issues that can make the process difficult. Here are some of the most common litter training issues and how to solve them:

1. Refusal to Use the Litter Box

If your American Shorthair refuses to use the litter box, it could be due to several reasons. One possible reason is that the litter box is not clean enough. Cats are naturally clean animals and don’t like to use a dirty litter box. Make sure to scoop out the litter box daily and thoroughly clean it once a week.

Another reason could be that your cat doesn’t like the type of litter you’re using. Try switching to a different type of litter to see if that solves the problem. You can also try using a different litter box, as some cats prefer covered versus uncovered litter boxes.

If your cat is still refusing to use the litter box, it’s possible that there is an underlying health issue. Contact your veterinarian to rule out any medical conditions.

2. Litter Box Aversion

If your American Shorthair has developed litter box aversion, it’s important to address it as soon as possible. Signs of litter box aversion include avoiding the litter box, meowing excessively, and urinating or defecating outside of the litter box.

To solve this issue, start by thoroughly cleaning the litter box and changing the litter. Provide multiple litter boxes in different locations to give your cat more options. Make sure the litter boxes are easily accessible and not near noisy or high-traffic areas.

If your cat continues to avoid the litter box, consult with your veterinarian to rule out any underlying medical issues.

3. Spraying or Marking

Unneutered male American Shorthairs may spray or mark their territory outside of the litter box. The best solution for this issue is to have your cat neutered. Neutering can significantly reduce a cat’s likelihood of spraying or marking.

If your cat is already neutered and still spraying or marking outside of the litter box, it’s important to address the underlying cause. Your cat may be feeling stressed or anxious, or there may be too much competition for resources among your cats. Consult with your veterinarian or a cat behaviorist to determine the best course of action.

By addressing these common litter training issues and finding effective solutions, you can ensure a happy and healthy relationship with your American Shorthair.

Positive Reinforcement Training

Positive Reinforcement Training
When it comes to training your American Shorthair, positive reinforcement is a highly effective approach that emphasizes rewarding good behavior instead of punishing bad behavior. This method of training helps to create a bond of trust and mutual respect between you and your furry friend. In this section, we will explore different positive reinforcement techniques that you can use to help your cat learn and obey basic commands. Some of these techniques include clicker training, the use of treats and toys, and teaching basic commands. By using these positive training methods, you can help your American Shorthair become a well-behaved and happy companion.

Teaching Basic Commands

Teaching basic commands to your American Shorthair is an essential part of their training. Some basic commands include ‘come’, ‘sit’, ‘stay’, and ‘down’. These commands can help you control your cat’s behavior and ensure their safety in certain situations.

Here are some tips on teaching your American Shorthair basic commands:

  • Start by using positive reinforcement. Use treats and verbal praise to encourage your cat when they follow your commands.
  • Use short, simple phrases to give commands. Repeat the command several times until your cat follows it.
  • Be consistent with your commands. Use the same phrasing for each command and reward your cat every time they follow it.
  • Keep training sessions short and frequent. Cats have a short attention span, so it’s better to have multiple short training sessions throughout the day.
  • Gradually increase the difficulty of the commands as your cat gets better at following them.
  • Use a clicker to mark your cat’s behavior when they follow your commands correctly.

Remember that every cat learns at their own pace, so be patient and consistent with your training. If you experience any behavioral issues during training, such as aggression, vocalizations, or playfulness, refer to our previous articles on understanding aggressive behavior in American Shorthairs, playtime tips for American Shorthairs, and common vocalizations of American Shorthairs, respectively, for additional guidance.

Clicker Training for Cats

Clicker training is a popular and effective method for training cats and other animals. It uses a small handheld device that makes a clicking sound to mark desired behavior. The device, called a clicker, is paired with treats or rewards, so the cat understands that the click means they have done something right.

The Benefits of Clicker Training for American Shorthair Cats

There are several benefits to using clicker training with American Shorthair cats. First, it can help with bonding and trust-building. When a cat learns that certain behavior will result in a click and a treat, they begin to associate their owner with positive experiences. This can help them become more relaxed and confident around their owner.

Second, clicker training can be used to teach a wide variety of behaviors, from sit and stay to tricks and commands. It is also an excellent tool for addressing problem behaviors such as scratching or biting. By using positive reinforcement, the cat learns what is expected of them in a fun and rewarding way.

Steps in Clicker Training Explanation
1. Charge the Clicker Before you start training, you need to charge the clicker. This means repeatedly clicking the device while giving your cat treats until they learn to associate the sound with something positive.
2. Start with Simple Behaviors To begin, choose a simple behavior that your cat is likely to perform naturally, such as touching their nose to your hand. Click the device as soon as they perform the behavior, and immediately give them a treat.
3. Shaping the Behavior Once your cat understands the concept of clicker training, you can start shaping specific behaviors. This involves breaking the behavior down into small steps, rewarding each step along the way.
4. Be Consistent Consistency is key in clicker training. Always use the same signal (the click) and the same rewards (treats) to avoid confusing your cat.
5. Keep Training Sessions Short Cats have short attention spans, so keep training sessions brief (5-10 minutes) and always end on a positive note.


Clicker training is an excellent method for training American Shorthair cats. It promotes bonding, teaches new behaviors, and addresses common behavior problems. By following these steps and being patient and consistent, you can train your American Shorthair using positive reinforcement and make it a fun and rewarding experience f