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Discipline. Shouting. Do they listen??

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Hi

Just wondering if anyone else has this problem. If the cats are doing something wrong and you shout at them i get no response whatsoever! Its only when movement is put in that Bobby takes any notice.

i dont know whether he knows he's doing something wrong and ignoring me or he's just none the wiser that he's being naughty.
post #2 of 14
Have you tried speaking their language and hissing rather than shouting?

It seems as if your cats have decided that sometimes you shout and that it doesn't mean anything when you do. They're also quite clever and tend to put lots of extra rules into the rules we try to teach them.

I.e I am allowed on the counter unless my human sees me on the counter.

or

I am allowed on the counter unless my human sees me on the counter AND moves in my direction.

Cats don't have a big motivation to keep you from being unhappy with stuff they do. Dogs do, in their case just you being unhappy about something is reason enough not to do it. not so much with cats. They don't really have that need to please built in.

Anyway hissing usually works better because the cat is hard wired to really take notice of that sound. While with shouting they have to learn both that it means that you're upset or that they're doing something bad and then what the thing is that you're shouting about.
post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 
thanks. I'll try that and i agree with what you say about them 'bending the rules' so to speak haha!

Thank You!
post #4 of 14
They are ignoring you and know if you move, then they better stop!
post #5 of 14
Hissing works pretty well to let a cat know you are angry with them , yes...
Do they draw the right conclusions from it ? Probably not, they are cats, they do not think/reason like humans, they do not necessarily connect the punishment with their 'crime'.

I can't report any lasting succes with either shouting or hissing, punishment is discouraged by all the local cat behaviour experts since it doesn't actually seem to help and is often damaging to the relationship with your cat. I've had good results with distracting a cat who is doing something naughty, or with teaching the cats to come down when I say come down by rewarding them, boy do they take notice of it when i say it now making them do stuff by letting them think it's their own idea works great. Positive reinforcement often works better then negative.

We used to have a problem with getting Ernesto inside (I live in an apartment with a little enclosed "street" where the cats can go outside under our supervision) the other cats come when called but he wouldn't react, and would growl and sometimes snap at us when we would carry him inside. Now we just throw a toy or a treat into the house and he is perfectly fine with going inside.
post #6 of 14
I say "ah ah!" or "uh uh" or "eh eh" and it works. I think that the sound is very similar to hissing, which is a noise that I can't make loudly enough to get their attention without getting a seriously sore throat.
post #7 of 14
I haven't been able to hiss for at least a week and when I try to, I hack up a lung. So, I have been using loud and intrusive sounds like ghosthunterbeck uses.
post #8 of 14
The hiss is very powerful. I only use that for the most extreme...I make one loud noise "hey" that they know means stop doing what you're doing (usually sitting on the kitchen table), but they pretty much do make up their own rules

Bella will hop off the table if I come in and say "hey", but I'm sure she's back up there when I'm gone
post #9 of 14
I use a sharp intake of breath, which sounds very much like a hiss. I rarely have to shout at mine, but those times when I do immediately gets their attention and they know they have done something really bad. Use the shout sparingly or they will ignore you from overuse. The degree of noise that I make indicates the degree of the "crime" in my house.
post #10 of 14
I use the Brooklyn "Aaay!" Like Fonzie.

I use it only for them, and they have learned that sound means "Don't do that."

They can become quite sophisticated in distinguishing our sounds if we put in the effort to make them mean something. Just this morning I slept in, two hours past the time I usually feed them. Mr. Bond came and looked up at me, and I said, "Oh my. Look at the time."

Mr. Bond replied with his "mrrrm." Which is the sound he uses only for agreeing that it is, indeed, time to open cans. He knew what I meant, even though I hadn't used any words like "dinner" or "hungry."

Then there's Reverend Jim, the kitten, who knows full well I'm talking to him, but is pretending I don't mean it unless I get up.

I've found that cats can put in effort to please us, when we have a close affectionate bond. This is especially notable in Gamma cats like Puffy, who will be sleeping on his own, special pillow, and still look up for reassurance that he is supposed to be sleeping there. Which I give him. I can get Puffy to leave something alone with a shocked look.

More assertive cats will weigh their options.

I agree that punishment just makes the cat think we are being mean. They don't have any connection between what they are doing and us acting aggressively. We are just acting aggressively, so it is counterproductive. They may not avoid the thing, but they will certainly avoid us.

I try to think of it as them expressing a desire, and my task is to come up with a way to fulfill that desire which pleases both of us. They aren't allowed on the kitchen counters, but they are allowed on the little table by the window. So they have their perching spot, and I have my counters.

And I am not above bribes.
post #11 of 14
I've only ever raised my voice at Radar once - I always shut the boys (husband included ) in the sitting room when I'm cooking, there's no door on the kitchen and they are way too interested in what's going on. On one occasion I hadn't checked properly, and Radar obviously hadn't been in the sitting room when I shut the door. I turned around from chopping to see him on the stove heading towards a pan of boiling pasta - so I yelled at him to get off - and he looked so shocked and jumped down.

It was just a gut reaction to seeing him about to do something that would have got him hurt, not something I would consciously decide to do - it did work because I scared him, I think under the circumstances of a one-off that worked and it did prevent an accident - but in no way would I recommend it as behaviour correction normally, the startled look on his face hurt me and he ran away from me after, I had to make it up to him big time. And the whole situation was my fault, I should have checked where he was properly.
post #12 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by steffie View Post

i dont know whether he knows he's doing something wrong and ignoring me or he's just none the wiser that he's being naughty.
Probably just doesn't give a care either way Ah, cats
post #13 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Werebear View Post
I use the Brooklyn "Aaay!" Like Fonzie.

I use it only for them, and they have learned that sound means "Don't do that."

They can become quite sophisticated in distinguishing our sounds if we put in the effort to make them mean something. Just this morning I slept in, two hours past the time I usually feed them. Mr. Bond came and looked up at me, and I said, "Oh my. Look at the time."

Mr. Bond replied with his "mrrrm." Which is the sound he uses only for agreeing that it is, indeed, time to open cans. He knew what I meant, even though I hadn't used any words like "dinner" or "hungry."

Then there's Reverend Jim, the kitten, who knows full well I'm talking to him, but is pretending I don't mean it unless I get up.

I've found that cats can put in effort to please us, when we have a close affectionate bond. This is especially notable in Gamma cats like Puffy, who will be sleeping on his own, special pillow, and still look up for reassurance that he is supposed to be sleeping there. Which I give him. I can get Puffy to leave something alone with a shocked look.

More assertive cats will weigh their options.

I agree that punishment just makes the cat think we are being mean. They don't have any connection between what they are doing and us acting aggressively. We are just acting aggressively, so it is counterproductive. They may not avoid the thing, but they will certainly avoid us.

I try to think of it as them expressing a desire, and my task is to come up with a way to fulfill that desire which pleases both of us. They aren't allowed on the kitchen counters, but they are allowed on the little table by the window. So they have their perching spot, and I have my counters.

And I am not above bribes.
I agree with your methods.

Nothing is really accomplished with cats by shouting, or other acts of anger. They simply don't comprehend why their beloved human is scaring them.
It's really quite counter productive in the long run.
Deterents and persuasion along with positive re-inforcement are the key elements to behavior modification.
I also believe a great many cats do enjoy pleasing their owners and they enjoy the praise that comes with that. Obviously not to the extent that dogs do, but there is a certain amount of this that can be expected from a well adjusted happy cat.
post #14 of 14
Our cats certainly understand the word "Hey." THey immediately stop whatever they're doing. My sister-in-law's cat, however, does his own thing whenever he pleases. I have a feeling it's because she doesn't follow through in her discipline.

The number of times I have to say "Hey" with our cats is infrequent at best. We have 2 extremely-well behaved kitties. Giving them ample doses of catnip doesn't hurt either
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