So you got a new cat and you’re all excited about her training. And like any responsible parent, you start looking online about methods to use to do so. Then you read in some forums that you can use a spraying bottle to prevent your cat’s bad behavior. At that point you wonder “do cats hate water?” and you have all the different answers you could think of popping up in front of you. Eventually, after many kinds of research, you sit there all confused about what you should or shouldn’t do to train your new baby. But don’t worry; you’re not alone in this!
You certainly have so many questions: «do cats like being sprayed with water?” if not, “why do cats hate being sprayed with water?” and «How is this going to affect your bond together?”. You love your kitty and you want the best for her. Therefore, you’re trying your best to get the most trusted information you can and work with them. So here is everything you need to know about the spraying water method.
Why spraying cats with water isn’t a good idea?
The majority of cats hate water which gave us- humans- the brilliant idea of using it to train them and make them stop their bad behavior. But is this really the point or is it to completely change the behavior into a better one?!
Is it OK to spray your cat with water?
Whenever your cat scratches the couch you pay her with water and she stops. You’re happy because it works every single time, what a brilliant trainer you are! But what about when you’re not around? What about what she now thinks of you? Your instant results say nothing about your longtime relationship neither does it reflect her behavioral progress. Therefore, you need to keep in mind that spraying her with water has the following major effects:
#1 Your cat won’t be able to make a connection:
You just need to look at it from your kitty’s point of view; meaning: you catch her jumping on the counters, and then you pick up your bottle and spray her. In her mind, she’ll be like, what do I have to avoid next time, the location? The behavior? or simply my dear friend who’s not dear to me anymore?
If you’re lucky enough, your cat will associate the act with the outcome and quit doing it. But if you’re not- which is mostly the case, don’t worry you’re not cursed!- the cat will have a hard time understanding your point.
We’re not sure why cats are afraid of water. But on thing is for sure, most of the time, cats only associate the resentful act of being soaked with water with your presence, which will result in repeating their bad behavior when you’re not around or worse, avoiding you.
#2 Now that you’re not here, the house is mine!
Once again let’s remind people who still wonder “do cats hate water?” that cats don’t hate water…they detest it from the bottom of their little heart. Wait but can cats die from water?
Well nop, unless you drown them in it! (Funny haah?!)
What about the bath? Is it OK to bathe a cat?
I mean hell yes! The fact that your cat hates water doesn’t mean that you can’t bathe her. Unless, you want a have “Les misérables”’s version of your cute little indoor kitty. And there are a lot of tips out there you can use for this matter.
But now it’s not about a bath or a fun water park journey. It’s about changing the behavior from its root. And one of many downsides of spraying water method is that your kitty will act the way she feels like it when no one is there to adjust it for her. Therefore, it isn’t a life-long changing method; it’s a way that makes you feel good about your present results without a follow-up.
#3 It makes your cat stress out:
Imagine being at home minding your own business and having panic attacks from time to time. Why? Because you expect that someone is going to break into your house and attack you, for no obvious reason.
See? That’s how your kitty perceives the sprayed water experience. She doesn’t get where this is coming from, or why it’s happening in the first place, and worse why the warm protective parent is treating her that way.
The stress it generates is huge! And its impact on your cat’s behavior and her health as well is dangerous, let alone if she has some previous stress issues. That will just make her an anxious bomb ready to blow at any moment. It can even lead to issues like Feline Idiopathic Cystitis for kitties who are predisposed to that condition.
#4 It only gives temporary results:
Most pet parents are annoyed with their kitties. They jump on the counters, they pee in the carpet, they scratch furniture, they destroy your house utensils, they climb every high object you own….But hey, isn’t this the normal kitty behavior?! So basically what exasperates you is your kitty being…well, a kitty for God’s sake!
If you’re here to change her behavior, first try giving her alternatives, she can’t be like you, because simply she’s not human. She’s got her own nature that you, as a responsible cat owner, need to deal with.
Also, try addressing the problem from its root. A lot of what cats do have rational reasons. For instance, if she’s defecating or urinating everywhere but in the litter box, well that could mean that she isn’t comfortable with it, or because she doesn’t like the clay, or even because she needs to smell her scent in every corner of the house so that she feels safe and home. Another example is scratching. Cats scratch for various reasons: to sharpen their claws, to mark their territory…etc. If you give it time to first understand what lies behind the behavior you can address the issue from its source, instead of soaking your kitty every time she makes one of her kitty’s foolishness.
Every story has two sides:
You can always find online that person who confirms the success of the sprayed water method. Well, we can neither confirm nor deny these allegations!
This method can be successful if:
- You can hide the fact that you’re not responsible for the sprayed water
- You need to be present all the time to adjust the behavior
- You need to understand your cat’s nature and her way to respond to stress
- Your cat needs to be in a stress-free environment so that this doesn’t accentuate the stress level in her household
- You need to work hard to make the association between the action and the outcome
A lot of conditions that are hard to fill, some are even impossible to respect when it comes to implementing this method in your training routine! And just because you don’t notice any bad side effects, doesn’t mean that they don’t exist.
Those assumptions online can be true, but at what cost? Some people use this method to punish their cats not to train them. Can you imagine the impact on their human-cat bond?! Some others might be honest about the results, but it can only be a matter of chance, which is rare, and ethically wrong! A cat’s training shouldn’t be a matter of coincidence!
To sum up!
Do cats hate water? For some reason, they do, and from all their heart. But as the loving parent that you are, you do not want to use their weak point against them. Although, spraying water on your cat can give you satisfying instant results; it’s still more like a punishing method than it is a training one. And keep in mind that cats respond more to rewards then they do to punishment. In fact, chastisement can even ruin your relationship with her. Which isn’t at all your attention, for sure!
Try implementing other training methods. The most important thing is that you understand your kitty’s nature and roll with it. Not all the methods are meant for all cats. And not all the cats have similar health and behavioral state. If the spraying method has worked, for some random reasons, it shouldn’t be the reason why you might be forcing it on your baby, she could be more responsive to other safer methods. The point is you need to find what’s good and adequate for your Fluffy according to her own situation.
The spraying water method could work for some, but it needs perfect conditions. Do not implement it in your training, unless you’re capable of respecting its conditions, or else you’re going to suffer from behaviors that are far worse than the ones you’ve been trying to fix in the first place.
And last but not least, keep in mind that it’s important to always consult your vet if you notice any change in your cat’s behavior. Sometimes, medical reasons can lie behind behavioral changes.