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Best way to discipline

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
Hi,
I was just wondering what is the best way to tell a cat that what they're doing is bad (i.e. scratching furniture, chewing on something they're not supposed to, knocking over your trash can). My cat Luna has been yelled at A LOT by my roommates for scratching (but instead of just a "NO" it would be more like "NO LUNA YOU KNOW THAT'S BAD. etc." However it doesn't seem to get her to not scratch at the couch.

The spray bottle doesn't seem to bother her anymore unless I get it in/on her ears or nose. and flicking water in her face only works if you're close to her.

I have discovered that if i clap loudly once and say her name that she notices and runs away from the bad thing that she's doing.

I am curious if a cat can be traumatized from discipline or if they get used to certain types and begin ignoring them. I personally don't like yelling at my cat any more than just a "NO" because I am not sure of the effectiveness of more yelling..

Anyway, any opinions would be nice. And I apologize if there's something like this already out there and I just missed it. THanks!
post #2 of 17
Well, I'm having the same issue with my cat. I tried the water bottle, works at the time, but not long-term ... I tried the clapping loudly, same effect! Now I'm left with my ruined suede parson's chairs (which I have to slip cover ... but I'm sure he'll just chew on that too!) HELP!
post #3 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by msrpavao View Post
Well, I'm having the same issue with my cat. I tried the water bottle, works at the time, but not long-term ... I tried the clapping loudly, same effect! Now I'm left with my ruined suede parson's chairs (which I have to slip cover ... but I'm sure he'll just chew on that too!) HELP!
In response to the clawing, i did find a cool thing that will help save your furniture. http://www.birminghamind.com/Scratchaway/index.html However, I havent' bothered to get one yet (couch is too bad and it's not mine. oops) but it seems like a good item. it's Resonably priced and will accomplish 2 goals: get kitty to do some healthy scratching and protect the arm of your chairs! just a thought =)
post #4 of 17
That Scratchaway looks like a good idea, but it uses 'deep pile' carpet, which I've found my cats not to like as much as a shallower rougher pile one (for scratching).
post #5 of 17
He has a scratching post, which he uses when he needs to ... my couches are fine .. it's my dining chairs he's taken a liking to. He climbs up them (they're all suede) and sits on top of the table chewing at them ... they're full of his nail and teeth marks. I need to get him permanently away from them before I re-cover them.
post #6 of 17
Sounds like the cat could use a taller cat tree type thing to climb on. For me the best way to train a scratcher off the furniture has always been with redirection. When someone catches the cat scratching, start with the loud NO and maybe a hand clap. Then take the cat to the designated scratching area and if they'll let you, gently move their front legs against the post in a scratching motion and tell them they are good. Most cats will get the idea pretty quickly. For your chairs, i'd wrap the tops in aluminum foil for awhile, most cats don't like to sit or scratch on that. Once the cat is trained off the furniture you can take the foil off.
post #7 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by luxum View Post
For me the best way to train a scratcher off the furniture has always been with redirection.
I agree, it works best if you show them where it's okay to scratch.

With the water bottle you need to be careful not to get it in their face, because if it goes in the ears it can lead to infection.
post #8 of 17
Depends on the situation, if Tomas is on the table or racing around on top of the furniture I clap and firmly/loudly say "NO" and/or "DOWN". I do not use their names when I get onto them. If he's getting a bit nippy when I pet him or if he's trying chew on something he shouldn't (headphone cords while he's in my lap at the comp) I say no and very lightly bop him on the head, like a mother cat or Sho does He instantly stops. However that isn't discipline, it's just a warning. If he doesn't listen after that he gets put down and ignored.

If your kitty keeps scratching furniture but has a scratching post it may be because the couch is in the "path" your kitty walks along through the house. Maybe try putting the post right next to the couch and see if it helps?
I've also noticed if all the table chairs are pushed in Tomas can't get on the table. For trash, put it away under a cabinet or with a sturdy lid. After all cats and dogs believe they have a right to investigate that interesting and possibly yummy smell, they don't understand why you can touch the trash but they can't.

As for the worst punishment, the other day Tomas jumped into the baby turtles cage I was so angry I grabbed him out of it by his scuff, hissed at him, then wouldn't even look at him for the rest of the day. He hasn't looked at the turtle cage since. I don't suggest hissing however, it just popped out of me the other day, some kitties may respond very badly to it.
post #9 of 17
For scratching, as others have pointed out, the absolute best thing to do is redirect. If the scratching is on the back of a couch or around the bottom or sides, cover it with aluminum foil for a few weeks. Put a scratching post near where there were scratching, and slowly move it to where you want it. (Might not be convenient for people for a few weeks, but it is worth it in the long run).

You can also try using a bitter apple spray or lemon scented air freshener to spray where you don't want kitty to scratch.

They also like to scratch when they wake up, so putting a scratching post or mat or cardboard scratcher near where they nap frequently is always a good idea.

Cat "furniture" (condo or trees) are fabulous for cats - they can go vertical (important to their nature) and have stuff that is "theirs." This really helps.

You can also consider purchasing Feliway spray (a synthetic pheremone that mimics the friendly markers in cats' cheeks). Spraying this where they should NOT scratch works for some cats. It hasn't stained any of our furniture (wood or leather or cloth).

As to discipline - the thing that works best is to blow a short, sharp puff of air directly in their face. Even consider hissing. Then say "no" firmly. They learn what "no" means in a language they understand.

The problem with scratching is that they NEED to scratch, and it's not scratching you want to stop - it's where they scratch. So don't discourage the behavior - just try to redirect it by providing lots of appropriate places to scratch, and making the inappropriate places they've been scratching unattractive for them to scratch.

Also, if she sleeps on the couch or on the back of the couch, consider covering it with a throw blanket. This reduces the need to vacuum, it can be quickly removed for company, it can be washed weekly, and it helps protect your couch - even if she's not scratching on it, but just jumping on and off it.

Also, if you're not already clipping her nails, you should consider doing this. It'll help minimize any scratching damage.

Laurie
post #10 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by miao_kitty View Post
I am curious if a cat can be traumatized from discipline or if they get used to certain types and begin ignoring them. I personally don't like yelling at my cat any more than just a "NO" because I am not sure of the effectiveness of more yelling..
Imagine if you were a kid in school and the teacher yelled "NO" at you when you said 2+2=5, then didn't bother to tell you the right answer. She just repeated "NO" until you happened to get it right, then never bothered to tell you it was right. People don't learn this way and cats can't learn that way either.

Anytime you catch yourself wanting to say NO, stop yourself and ask what can you do to show the cat the proper behavior? Cats learn by immitation, and if you redirect them to the positive behavior when they do something wrong, they will learn from it. It might take some time for them to learn but they do pick it up eventually.

I admit, I keep a water bottle handy, but use it so rarely, and only when I know for a fact that they know the right thing to do and they are really acting up. I absolutely never try to train a cat with "NO" or a water bottle. Always redirect their behavior to the positive.

This works with patience. I have 10 cats in my house that are fully clawed with no softpaws or nail trimming. My furniture is intact. I sit on the floor and scratch the posts with the newbies until they get it right.

Your cats won't be traumatized but they will be confused.

Just my humble opinion.....
post #11 of 17
I saw a quote about people yelling at cats and how futile it is.

I find that a not warm and fuzzy No and then say the cat's name and then remove them from the situation immediately works. And then you redirect them right away to something that CAN do and give them a treat. It involves patience and catching them doing the right thing. One can't expect to yell at a cat occasionally and expect it to know correct behavior. The cat mother taught it with example and immediate consequences. Humans have to do the same thing. Consistently.

As I am typing my cat has started to play with the window shade cords and I am going to go over and squirt canned air a few feet away from her ( never AT her) and she will stop immediately.

yep it worked
post #12 of 17
Thread Starter 
The only problem with the redirecting thing is that Luna KNOWS she's doing something wrong so if I approach her or even look at her she runs away and hides. I do hang a throw blanket off the arm now and she doesn't really scratch at it except when my roommates remove the blanket and don't put it back. I tried moving her scratching post next to the couch and my roommates always move it back (as it's in the walkway into the living room). (And this is what happens when you have uncooperative roommates. )

anyways, I tried the bad taste stuff and it does'nt seem to phase her. She has another post in my bedroom and when I catch her scratching it I give her a treat. LIke I said, I don't really like to yell at her, especially when she already knows it's bad. I guess I'll try demonstrating "scratching" to her on the right areas. or maybe the tin foil. But I'm wondering if the tinfoil is removed will she go right back to scratching? anyways, thanks for all the advice you guys gave me.

Oh and as for the trash can thing, it's my bedroom trashcan and she likes to knock it over because she knows there will be something fun to chew on in there (rubber band/plastic/ crinkly stuff) So i'm thinking of just getting one of those mini trash cans w/ a lid so she can't see the fun stuff.
post #13 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by miao_kitty View Post
Hi,
I have discovered that if i clap loudly once and say her name that she notices and runs away from the bad thing that she's doing.
This is how I discipline my guys, seems to work for me.

BTW she is beautiful
post #14 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by miao_kitty View Post
The only problem with the redirecting thing is that Luna KNOWS she's doing something wrong so if I approach her or even look at her she runs away and hides.
Abi will misbehave in small ways to get attention. as in 5 am she will play withthe tissue box or my glasses on the nightstand just to get me up and maybe ready to feed her. I dealt with that by putting ametal kleenox box cover over the paper box and placed my glasses in the drawer. I have ignored her completely for four mornings when she starts and she has given in.

So you might ask yourself if there is something Luna wants and give it to her BEFORE she stoops to misbehaving. make sense?
post #15 of 17
I have nothing but covered trash cans in my house. Both dogs and cats like to investigate and it's just not worth the worry of them eating something they shouldn't eat. Don't get the kind where the lid pushes down (hinge in the middle) - they can still access them pretty easily.
post #16 of 17
Okay so I tried the tinfoil trick last night ... I covered the backs of my chairs with tinfoil last night. This morning I woke up to find the tin foil on the floor and he was playing with it ....... I have a rebel on my hands, and I don't know what to do with him!

Magda
post #17 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Abigail View Post
Abi will misbehave in small ways to get attention. as in 5 am she will play withthe tissue box or my glasses on the nightstand just to get me up and maybe ready to feed her. I dealt with that by putting ametal kleenox box cover over the paper box and placed my glasses in the drawer. I have ignored her completely for four mornings when she starts and she has given in.

So you might ask yourself if there is something Luna wants and give it to her BEFORE she stoops to misbehaving. make sense?

Yeah, Luna misbehaves at around 5a.m. i used to just get up and feed her. but then i started ignoring her and she's mostly stopped. She'll act out when there are pens laying around or grocery bag and the like. I usually try to keep her from those by putting them away, but sometimes i forget. =D
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