like any proud parent you start annoying people around you about how delightful your baby kitten is and how he’s making your life better every single day. At this point, you probably never thought you’d want to discipline a cat.
But as your baby gets older, you can’t help with getting angry every time he makes one of his foolishness, some could be deemed cute such as meowing on top of their lungs, while you’re in the middle of a very important phone call, to get your attention. While some others can be unbearably irritating such as doing their business on your FREAKIN’ BRAND NEW CARPET!
News flash:” Cats can be trained, even if they…you know, have their cat’s behavior!” they might have the stubbornness of a one-year-old human baby; they are still smart enough to be trained.
They can understand a number of words, and actions, read body language. And you know what else they can do? Manipulating you to get to whatever it is that they desire!
A lot of potential in a small, furry and cute body! But first what are the reasons behind cats misbehaving? how do I stop my cat misbehaving? And how do you show dominance over your cat? If this is the first time you intend to discipline a cat, this might be a bit complicated and take some time, be patient…you’ll , get there! However, before you start you should be aware that “disciplining” doesn’t mean “punishing a cat”, it’s more like reconfiguring his social patterns, especially that when he was with his mom, she was THE LAW, now you need to set him a new social model to follow.
Some of the reasons behind cats behaving:
Punishing your kitty for misbehavior is certainly a bad idea. You can’t punish a pet for being a pet. Your cat’s behavior is totally normal, what you need to do is trying to adjust it to certain social norms.
You first need to understand that your furry friend might act foolishly on so many occasions: It could be because of boredom, or because he’s ill or distressed or anxious for whatever reason, or simply because he wants your attention.
Cats can sometimes pick up bad behavior somewhere because they liked it. And some other times, it’s your fault because you rolled with it and didn’t nip his naughtiness in the bud earlier, but no one is blaming! This is only to understand how your kitty might pick up bad habits.
Some of the common cats’ misbehaviors:
Even though each cat has specific behaviors, some of them are common. And here are some of the cat’s common misbehaviors you might be suffering from:
- Jumping on every counter there is in the house (because why not?!)
- Clawing furniture (my house, my decor!)
- Chewing electric wires (boredom can sometimes have severe side effects!)
- Biting you when playing (Oh look he’s bleeding! this must mean that my human body is having fun!)
- Bringing death preys home (how can you not appreciate the heartwarming love gesture of finding a dead rat on your couch?….how!)
- Playing when you sleep and just want to rest (because you’re super tired and they’re not since they’ve been busy all the day doing…well…literally NOTHING!)
In order to discipline a cat, you need to start step by step. Forget everything that happened before, and be ready for more foolishness. Be patient and consistent. And start with one behavior at the time, focus on it then move to the other. Also, it’s important to keep low expectations, it’s important to be realistic to keep moving forward.
How to discipline a cat?
To discipline a cat you first need a method, and of course, you’ve done your research and you don’t know where to start. The principle is simple: cause and consequences. Fluffy needs to associate good cat’s behavior with nice outcomes, and the bad one with undesirable results.
Therefore, your kitty will do what you want because it’s related to good feelings, and stop his misbehavior because he wouldn’t want to put himself through painful experiences.
And here are a few tips to follow to train your cat:
#1 Your voice could be your training instrument:
Whenever your cat’s misbehaving, simply struck him with a high firm note “No”. Wait, can cats learn the word no? Well yes, they can understand “No” and a bunch of other words if you associate them with that firm tone. Of course once or twice won’t make the job done, you need to be persistent. And also stick with one word for so long. Your kitty needs to associate this word with bad behavior and then quit eventually.
#2 The handclap :
So here’s a widely existential question: «What do you need to do when you’re happy and you know it?”
CORRECT! “Clap your hands,” a well-known philosopher said. Wisdom can be found everywhere!
You might know that you’re happy or might not, but one thing for sure is that when you clap your hands loudly your kitty will stop his misbehaving right away.
Some of the cats can respond effortlessly to the sound since they’re easily frightened. Some of them might take a while. But with time this cat annoying sound will definitely irritate the Fluffy and make him give up on the behavior it triggers it.
#3 Use the cans noise:
And here’s a revolutionary solution to train your cat, especially if she likes to climb cabinets and plants……yes, you guessed it: EMPTY SODA CANS! Mind-blowing right!
If your kitty won’t stop snooping around every corner of the house, arrange some soda cans together, and as soon as your kitty gets close to them they’ll start to wobble. As a result, your kitty will run away from that plant or cabinet. Two or three times in a row, maybe five for the most stubborn ones and Fluffy won’t have the guts to get close to those places ever again.
#4 Use cat deterrents:
How to punish a cat for biting? Citrus is our magical component that makes cats step back from wherever they’re snooping around. One of Fluffy’s pet peeves is having citrus around; they hate it even if their lives depend on it. And of course, we are not to miss this opportunity!
Still wondering “how to teach a cat not to do something?” or “do cats understand discipline?” well if they didn’t before using Citrus, they definitely will now. There are industrial sprays you can buy and use them in places you want to keep your kitty from. You can even find sprays that make things task badly for your kitty.
#3 Prompt punishment:
How to punish a cat effectively? Punishing a cat is definitely a bad idea, but if done properly, it can be a very effective tool to discipline a cat. A time out is mandatory!
Well, it’s like telling a kid “go to your room” but in the cat’s version. Designate a room that will serve as Fluffy’s prison, preferably the bathroom. And whenever your kitty misbehaves, you pick her up IMMEDIATELY and put her there for twenty to thirty minutes and then set her free.
Now, we’re not going to dive into the Stanford University experiment and stay positive about the outcome, since this method has shown promising results if used properly.
#6 Ignore Bad Behavior
Even the best way to discipline a cat won’t work if you keep screaming and yelling at your cat whenever she misbehaves. It takes loads and loads of patience and also the ability to ignore minor incautions.
If every time Fluffy does something wrong you hassle her, this will affect your relationship with her and make her reluctant towards you and your training methods.
#7 Create A Stimulating Environment
How do you teach a cat not to use claws? One of the reasons that make your kitty claw is boredom. So instead of trying to deal with the side effects, we need to focus on the root of the problem. In order to do so you definitely need to: CREATE A STIMULATING environment!
An entertained kitty means a calm cute kitty minding her own business. A few pieces of furniture for your cat are: cat scratching pole, cat exercise wheel, jungle –gym and catch the birdie.
Also, even if you have a fully equipped entertaining environment, you still need to play with your kitty. Having a daily playtime session prevents some behaviors such as attacking your feet when you walk or chewing wires, or scratching furniture; besides boredom your cats need some quality time with you.
Maybe next time when she comes on your lap and starts biting or doing weird things, you’ll know that it’s time for playtime!
#8 Positive Rewards reinforce good behavior:
You know your baby cat better than anybody else, so use this in your favor. Cats respond better to rewards than punishment. Make sure you cuddle him, caress him, treat him, drawn him into your love and do whatever you know he likes the most, whenever he does something good or simply avoided a bad behavior. Positive reinforcement has proven to one of the best ways to train your cat.
Repetition is the mother of skills!
In order to discipline a cat, you need a lot of commitment. Your kitty won’t probably get your lessons for the first few times. Thus, you’ll need to be patient and filling him with love and praises. In the end, it will all worth it!
#10 Redirect the behavior:
How to discipline a cat from scratching? And how to discipline a cat for peeing outside the litter box? To train your kitty you don’t always need to be in the active mode. Sometimes the simple gesture of removing your attention from her while she does her foolishness will make her stop. Like when she’s biting or chewing or being aggressive. Sometimes the reason behind her attitude could be to get your attention. Thus when she doesn’t have the reward she was expecting, she will stop her bad behavior.
Also, you can simply redirect her energy towards a better alternative. For instance, if she comes clawing your furniture, take her immediately to her scratching post. With time, this will create new patterns for her behavior. The same thing works with the litter box. Except if she has a health issue. Whenever she tries to do her business outside the tray pick her up gently with praises and love and take her to the litter space you brought to her.
What not to do to discipline a cat:
#1 Does spraying a cat with water work?
You certainly have noticed that your kitty runs away whenever you spray her with water. You need to know that even though this seems like a good idea to make her change some bad habits. Well…it isn’t!
Doing so will only make her run away without understanding that this should be associated with the bad behavior.
Also, this might even make her frightened whenever she sees a squirt bottle, which isn’t our point.
#2 Never react physically:
How to discipline an aggressive cat? Harming and hurting your little kitty will never do any good. It will only make her dislike you and maybe even run away from you. You need to understand that cats as aggressive as they can be, don’t respond to pain and don’t understand the reason behind it. It will only make her associate your presence with pain and therefore hate you.
#3 Don’t compare your cat to your dog:
This might happen to you if you have already trained a dog. You brought your best tricks and used them to discipline a cat. And the result was …a lazy cat staring at you with lazy eyes!
This is because cats and dogs are different pets –obviously- therefore, they will respond differently to your training. And what’s working for dogs won’t necessarily work for cats. And that’s completely normal!
#4 Don’t yell to make a point:
How do you know if your cat respects you? You don’t have the same language as your cat, so why do you bother yelling at her. The only thing your kitty reacts to in your tone you’re your body language. If you’re in the middle of a long training course and yelling all the time, she will run away.
If you keep yelling at anything, over time, she will get distressed around you and this will have consequences on your relationship. Thus, all the respect she showed you by loving you and trying to please you with disappear.
Discipline a cat – Additional tips:
Take her to the vet :
Maybe you’ve tried it all and nothing works, your kitty just doesn’t respond to any training method! If so, maybe it’s time for you to take her to her vet, run a full check-up and have a comprehensive consult. Some of the behaviors are simply medical, such as aggressiveness, problems with the litter box…
Many cases of cats are suffering from undetected wounds, hormonal imbalances, flukes, tapeworm…Or even psychological disorders. There are a lot of cases you can’t even imagine that can cause your cat to be irresponsive to your training, simply because she’s suffering!
Your vet is the one able to recognize any medical difficulties, advise you on your cat’s situation and give you adequate steps to follow in order to train her without harming her.
Any diet or medication changes?
Before you start blaming everybody and everything on your cat’s misbehavior, and before you even try to adjust her attitude, see if you made any changes in her diet or medications lately!
Some facts can have a huge impact on your cat’s behavior, for instance, castration. Every operation done to your cat have potential side effects, as well as medications. And it’s your job to ask the vet about them to know how to deal with them.
If it’s simply the diet, try changing the brand or the ingredients, and see even the sligh differences it might make on your cat’s behavior. And sometimes it could be that your kitty isn’t having enough water, or not enough movement.
To sum up:
To discipline a cat you need to be consistent, patient and understanding of the kitty’s nature.
At the same time don’t forget to enjoy your kitty’s company in the process, and don’t take it all too seriously that your kitty might dislike you.
To be honest about it, a naughty cat isn’t always a pleasant creature to be around. You have to put on the work and the time to make this training work. But the point is to make your life together be a better life, don’t mess it up with intensive training or with some attitude that will harm the harmony and the serenity of your baby kitty.
And if you got to the point where you google” How do you punish a cat for running away? ”you need to ask yourself: ”what made him run away in the first place? ”Let’s not get to that place and let’s engage in the process with kindness, love and an open heart.