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Why don't cats learn?

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
Why is it that no matter how many times a cat does the same thing, and no matter how many times you "discipline" the cat for it, he/she just doesn't learn that the behavior is bad?

For example, we have two cats that are about 8 months old. Every night, they either start jumping on the bed and attacking the comforter, or they climb under the sheets and attack my feet (playfully, of course). Every night, I have to pull them off the bed and lock them up in their own room so I can sleep. As long as they keep the playing on the bed to a minimum, they don't get locked up. You'd think they'd figure it out.

Also, they keep jumping up on counters. One of them keeps sticking her paws in the food disposal in an effort to pull stuff out. I take them off the counter or spray them with a water bottle. No matter how many times I take them off the counter or squirt them, they are right back up there a few minutes later.

What's dealio?
post #2 of 3

Cats do learn, but on a different level than dogs. Cats do not need to be disciplined, they need to be taught with patience and understanding. I have yet to meet a cat that will not attack a bed, or a blanket. If when you had these cats as kittens, did you by chance play "blanket wars" with them? You know, that cute game where you wiggle your feet or hands underneath the covers until they pounce on it? If so, they are playing a continuation of this game every time they see the bed. To them, the bed is a playground. If you didn't do this game, chances are whoever had the cats prior to you did. Personally, I don't have anything against my cats playing like that with just the covers, all of mine do with the exception of my latest additions Squirrel and Taz. I did not play the blanket war games with them and they have no interest in the bed, except when the others are playing (I have 14 cats total)

I also put up the squirt bottle awhile ago. Using a squirt bottle can be a dangerous thing, if you accidently squirt water into the cats ears as he is fleeing. If they get water in their ears, it upsets their PH balance and causes a very large vet bill to occur.

My cats are taught with patience, over time and I use a lot of verbal hissing if they are doing something wrong, or even the tone of your voice will tell them they need to cool out. But cats are very smart, and they do learn and quickly.
post #3 of 3
Thread Starter 
I tried not to play blanket wars with them because I didn't want them to learn the behavior. But inevitably, while you're lying down, your feet move and your hands move, and the cats pounce. I don't mind them playing, but when their claws sink into my feet, it kind of gets my attention quickly.

When I use the bottle, I aim for the body.

I also realize our cats are still kittens, and I know they'll calm down as they get older. I just don't want them to learn bad behavior.

You have 14 cats? That must keep you busy.
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