How to Discipline a Cat The Right and the Wrong Way
Do you have a problem cat? does it scratch the furniture? Use parts of the house as a toilet? Scratch you or bite you? Or do you just want to stop certain behaviors such as climbing on the kitchen counters. Here are a few of my general rambling on how to discipline a cat.
My first response is DO NOT! By that I mean stop and think. If you love your cat and want a well behaved cat then you do not really want to know how to discipline a cat but rather how to coax and encourage it into the house pet you really want.
How To Discipline a Cat: The wrong way
While cats are quite intelligent they are also pretty instinctive in their behavior, do something unpleasant to them once and you might just get
away with it, but make it a habit and you just make an enemy for life. Cats do remember. Our Molly was hit by a car on the road in front of our house and was lucky to survive. Will she go beyond the front gate now? Of course she won’t.
So then lets get serious about how to discipline a cat. What particular behavior trait are you trying to correct? Is it training cats to stay off counters, stopping them scratching or just not making a nuisance of themselves?
A gentle cuff sometimes is a good idea if a nose gets in where you do not want it, but that is more or less what they would expect from their fellow cats. Violence on any other scale will only result in your loved one not being so loving any more.
If every so often you were doing something that you would instinctively do such as climbing on high places , like counters, looking for the food that you knew had been there only a while ago and someone hit you, what would you do? Personally I would avoid that someone, particularly if he was 20 or 30 times my size!
How to Discipline a Cat: the right way
It is not a case then of how to discipline a cat but rather it is how to condition them to behave as you want them to. This should result in a mutually satisfactory solution. You have a well behaved happy cat. A true win-win solution.
CATS ARE NOT HUMAN. Too often people associate them with human feelings but that is not how the feline brain works. If something positive happens for them then they will learn to repeat an action. Something negative then they will avoid it. The negative need not necessarily be painful either, just something that they would prefer not to encounter again. It might be a strong smell, a surface that they do not like to walk on eg. kitchen foil, or an unpleasant noise. This is why more cats are killed on quiet roads than busy ones. They naturally avoid the loud smelly traffic.
Sometimes though it is too easy to go the opposite way. How many cats have learned that if they jump on the bed, paw their sleeping servants head and miaow loudly then magically food will be provided. Who is training who?!? Never mind how to discipline a cat, what about how to control a human.
How To Discipline a Cat: What Can We Use?
There are several ways to discipline a cat without causing stress. I will go through what you can use one at a time.
1) Voice. Cats like to interact with the people around them so often if they are doing something that you do not want them to do and use a voice to tell them off then it may be that they will think that the interaction is a good thing and the wrong action should be repeated. This is one theory that animal psychologists have come up with. Either way it is probably better to try and express disapproval in a language that the cat understands. Growling or hissing is within a human’s capabilities and at least it has a better chance of being understood than just a talking voice. In addition as a human you more than likely will talk in their company anyway and if you shout at your cat then it may work at first but it will be confusing for them if you shout at other times, such as calling for children of if you get carried away with something on the television.
2) Clapping. As above this will work fine if you only ever use it to stop a cat doing something wrong. I would be a problem though if you were used to clapping at other times.
3) Other noises. A loud noise such at a tin with a few coins in it can be very effective. Do not shake it too close to the cat or you might hurt their ears.
4) Water spray. Not a thing I am particularly happy about using. Cats are not too fond of water as it is and it strikes me that there is no point in making this worse.
5) Physical discipline. The only things I ever suggest on the line of physical means to discipline cat are a) A gentle cuff (more a push away really) and b) Lifting them away from what they are doing wrong and pushing them in another direction. Never throw your cat it may hurt them and you still want that friend remember.
Lastly, one of the do-nots is never chase your cat. Once they stop doing an action then that should be that. Welcome them with affection when they come back to you. A little snack would be good now and then (not too much, who wants a fat cat). Doing this is far more likely to make them be a happy cat around you.
I hope that these pointers on how to discipline a cat have been of help. to find out more I recommend Ultimate Cat Secrets which you can find by clicking on the picture just above here or by clicking here How to Discipline a Cat We will be producing more information on training a cat on the Training page in the menu at the top.
Training Cats To Stay off Counters