Your model trains are a product of time, patience, hard work, and hard-earned money. With all that invested, you want to protect them from damage or any mishap that would reduce their beauty and value.
Suddenly, here comes your stubborn cat, running, jumping, climbing on your layout, and treating your precious model train as a toy. All at once, your efforts go to waste, making it a truly disheartening experience.
Cats will be cats. But, we don’t want that happening! With that, here are the best tips on how to keep your cat from playing with your model train, helping you protect it from your cat’s frisky paws.
Store your model train layout in a closed room.
The most straightforward and effective thing you could do is to place your model train in a closed room. Always shut the windows and door off to keep your cat out of the space. As cats are naturally curious and are masters of squeezing themselves into tight spaces, look out for other possible entryways she might use to get her paws on your model train. Remember that cats can sneak in pretty fast as well, so make sure that you make it a habit to come in and exit the doors quickly.
Use a physical barrier.
If you don’t have an enclosed room to place your model train, you can use wide strips of plexiglass around the perimeter of your layout. Just be sure to get the right height, depending on your cat’s agility. You can also add a simple covering over the layout using 8mil plastic sheeting. Not only will it keep your cat away from your model train but will keep off the dust as well.
Redirect your cat’s attention.
If your cat is targeting your model train accessories, redirect her attention to other things and keep her busy. It is cats’ second nature to scratch, climb, knock things over, and play. You don’t need to curb hose up. Let your cat do it, but on your terms and not on your model train.
Scratching is a way for cats to expend their energy, mark their territory, and keep their claws in tip-top condition. Get your cat a scratching post or a scratching mat instead where she can freely dig in her claws. Trim your cat’s claws regularly, too. That way you can reduce damage from their kitty scratches.
If your cat loves to climb over your model train layout, provide her with other climbing opportunities. You can get a tall cat tree, a kitty pole, or high perches around the house where she can use her energy climbing all day. On the first days, you can put tape or crinkled foil on the borders of your layout. Your cat won’t like the feel of these items on her paws and would rather climb to other places instead.
You can also distract your cat by providing her with other toys she can play with. Place it on a corner of your house where she can freely and comfortably amuse herself. Add in food, treats, water, pillows, and a litter tray, so she could have easy access to all her needs. By providing such a cat-enriched space, she will most likely be glad to spend her time in that place, rather than to play with your model train.
Place unfriendly scents.
Another way to keep your cat from the layout area is by placing unfriendly scents at the room’s entrance or areas around the room. Cats hate many odors and will tend to leave a room filled with a smell not appealing to their noses. Some of these scents include vinegar, menthol, mint, cinnamon, spicy scents like pepper or curry, citrus fruits, geranium, lavender, rue, thyme, and rosemary.
Like with most animals, cats’ ears are pretty sensitive to loud noises and sudden sounds. Whenever you’re working on a layout and see your cat coming around, you can deter her away by playing loud music or making scary noises yourself like shaking pennies or stones in a can or blowing a whistle. Your cat will most likely leave the room and go to other quiet places in the house.
Just be careful as you don’t want your cat to see you’re doing it. As much as possible, you want your cat to link the strange sound to the room and the layout. Otherwise, she might associate you with the noise instead and start to run off whenever she sees you. Only do this as a last option, as you don’t want to make your cat skittish or even nervier if she already is.
Employ positive reinforcement.
Perhaps, the best way to keep your cat from playing with your model train is by training her and employing positive reinforcement. If she follows instructions, stops playing with your layout, and leaves the room, you can pet her outside and reward her with tasty treats. Afterward, direct her in your assigned cat-enriched space in the house, where she can find it more appealing to stay. Never ever punish your cat, as it will get your cat to fear you instead and display more negative behavior.
You’ve devoted a lot from building your model train layout and of course, you want the wonderful trophy of your efforts to stay in its pristine condition as much as possible. With that, you need to make adjustments in order to protect it from your equally wonderful feline as well.
Follow the listed tips above, but like how you build your model trains, you also need lots of patience and love when teaching your cat. After all, cats can’t change their habits overnight! Plus, each cat is different, which means that you need to try and test which steps will work best. Rest assured that eventually, she’ll learn to keep herself away from your prized model trains and will be much happier in her own space.