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How do you discipline your cats?

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
i am curious as to how all of you discipline your cats

i never know what method to use, i generally shout "NO" or stomp my
feet on the floor, but, they usually just look at me like "okay... yah, sure, whatever, mom"
and then keep doing what they're doing

they are utterly fearless of me! :goodbad:

discipline is not needed too often, they are generally relaxed & happy,
not too hyper or crazy, but sometimes, they just ravage the house and
everything in their way, and 4 cats running around wildly breaking
things is not exactly fun

so, what do you do when your cats are out of control?

i would hate to spank them, or hit them even lightly, though at times
i have swapped their butts just hard enough for them to get the idea.

but they wont "talk" to me for hours afterwards... :goodbad:

even seperating them and putting them into rooms by themselves merits
the silent treatment, and loud, sorrowful cries!

what do you do?

post #2 of 20

First of all, you should never hit a cat. It doesn't do any good. And when you do discipline a cat, it has to be when they are caught in the act of doing something wrong. If you wait, they have no idea why they're being disciplined. A squirt bottle can do the trick. Or, as I do, I give kitty "timeouts". By the time I let them out, they've calmed down.

Your cats, like mine, are simply letting off steam. Mine run throughout my apartment. Eventually they get tired and go to sleep. I don't discipline them for that because they're doing what comes naturally.
post #3 of 20
Thread Starter 

well, i rarely hit them, and when i do, it doesnt really constitute a
"hit" just a light swap to the butt, and i sincerely doubt it hurts.

i think a spray bottle is worse because of how much they hate water...
but i can see how it would work well because of that.

i dont get upset when they are running around the house, they do that
everyday, it's when they are intentionally getting into things and
knocking things over, going places they know they're not allowed to go,
that i get frustrated!

please, dont misinterpret, i dont smack them around, i'm not a
violent person, and i love & respect my cats, as though they were

i would hate to have you or anyone else thinking i hit them, because
i dont.

thanks for your advice, Donna


post #4 of 20

I didn't mean to offend you or imply that you hit them. Any cat lover wouldn't do anything to hurt their babies. The water bottle, I believe, is the best thing because it doesn't hurt them. I only have to aim the bottle at my cats and they squint their eyes and run for the hills. That's only my opinion. You can try putting a couple of pennies in a can and shaking it everytime they misbehave. It will startle them enough to make them stop.

Good luck.

post #5 of 20
I usually just say "SA-TEY" in an increasingly shrill voice. Sometimes I'll tap him on the rump with a finger or 2.
He's a pretty good cat and 99% of the time those methods stop him in his tracks.

The water bottle is a great tool for discipline like Donna says. Should get a smaller one and keep it with you wherever you go in the house. Get yourself a utility belt like the cable guy wears. *kidding!*
post #6 of 20
I have a spray bottle for moderate bad behavior, and a soda drink can with some coins in it for more major behavioral issues.

Buttons, my almost-4 year-old DSH neuter will repeatedly get on my table in the kitchen. (He also like to "fish" in the toilet and consequently, my husband refuses to allow Buttons to be anywhere near where he eats), so I use the spray bottle for that. The up side to this is that I can normally soak my husband with a badly placed aim and have great fun doing so. *giggle*

But when Buttons goes digging like a dog in my indoor garden (I have a huge philodendren and other house plants in a large indoor garden), I use the can with the coins in it, because if I don't, he'll do his potty business in there - and then so will the rest of my cats.

But, for those times when neither of the above seems to fit the crime, I usually just hiss loudly at him. He sets his ears back and squints his eyes...then runs off like he's got the hounds of hell on his backside. *smile*

A friend (who is an animal communicator) once told me that cats do not understand when you say things like don't can't won't aren't, words with the n't on the end of em (forget what they are called at the moment - contractions???)...in other words, when you say something like "don't do that!", they understand only the "do that!" part. Now, I know that a lot of people don't put much stock in animal communication, but having tried it and being somewhat impressed, I thought it was worth mentioning, just in case. *smile*

post #7 of 20
Originally posted by gayef
The up side to this is that I can normally soak my husband with a badly placed aim and have great fun doing so. *giggle*

that is hilarious! that made me laugh because I can imagine doing the same thing!
post #8 of 20
The one thing that I do, I read it in an article about cat order, is I hold up my index finger like a paw, and say "nooooo", and tap him on the forehead just above the space between his eyes. This is what the mom cat does to her young when disciplining. She pats them in the head with her paw. It works great. As soon as I assume the position, he backs off immediately. This has actually established my position with him. My little one, just turned one, doesn't stay still long enough, so I use the squirt bottle for her. I don't have to squirt her anymore, as when she is doing a no-no on the kitchen counter, I squirt the sink, and just the sound of it makes her freeze in her tracks.

Just stay consistent and use the same thing, and it'll eventually take hold in their clever brains.
post #9 of 20
Mofong, or anyone else who may know... what good cat behaviour books are there out there that I may get a hold of?? THat finger tap thing sounds really interesting and I would like to learn more.
post #10 of 20
There are sooooo many books out there, I read everything I can get my hands on. There are a lot of good magazines out there, too. The one that I have relied on is CATS. It's a good magazine that doesn't spend so much time on the pure-breeds, just cats. I also have the "Dummies" book. They have two, one on how to raise a healthy cat, and one on how to live with one. Both have really good information.

Part of the training, and this sounds a little barbaric, is that I found that how I raised my kid, is how I am teaching my four-legged kids. I had a dog for 13 years before I had children, and found myself to be "training" my daughter at her toddler years the same way. Be consistent, and always follow through, sometimes you set them up and reprimand immediately. For example, when my older cat is challenging me, he holds up a paw to swat, and hold up my "paw" and say "nooooooo", and swat first, then hold it up again to dare him to swat, and only react if he wants to swing. I only have to do this about two or three times, and them he backs down. What I do with my little one, who is always on top speed, is hold her face to face, and stare her down. She tries to stare me down first, but eventually, she looks away. When they do that, you know they've submitted to you. Her being so feisty, and leaving scars on all of us, sometimes needs to be be held like a baby, with her belly up, and slightly reastrained as I stare her down, and say quietly, over and over, "calm down, calm down". Eventually, I can feel her body relax and submit. Like an angry toddler, it helps if you just hold them while they're having a tantrum until they calm down.

It's amazing how similar it is when raising toddlers and four-legged children!!
post #11 of 20
I too have a problem with the water bottle.
I am sure it does no harm, but I know how much Lily hates
water, it kills me to use it against her.

I clap my hands together, or I yell L I L Y...
she'll stop terrorizing for a moment, but I guess
I would have to say for the most part, I wait it out.
Just like Donna said they will eventually stop
and go to sleep.

It is said when they run through the house at
full speed they are trying to rid themselves
of pent up energy.
This is most common in house kitties. So I try
and understand when she goes bonkers!

There are some good tips in here, I just might
give it shot. Lily has started clawing the couch.
All of a sudden after 1 1/2 years of not clawing, she
has started :bawling2

Good luck everyone
post #12 of 20
I've had a lot of cats over the years, all indoors/outdoors, and have never had to use any discipline other than my voice - though the cats have to be old enough to understand, it doesn't work on young cats/kittens. With them, just picking them up and/or removing them from whatever they are doing wrong and playing with them for a minute or two will distract them and usually make them forget about whatever mischief they were into. You may have to do this several times until they get the message. I definitely don't believe in any sort of physical discipline, they are so small compared to us for a start, and it just makes them scared.

I've never used it myself but the squirt bottle is widely accepted as a disciplinary tool and seems to work well. I have a situation here where we shifted from a totally cat-safe area to one where there is some traffic and neighbouring dogs, so though I still let my cats outside during the day I watch them at least from a distance and try to plan to be outdoors with them. One thing I discovered very early on is that a few judicious squirts with the hose stopped them going out the front of the house near the traffic or too close to the fence on the other side of which are the dogs. They very soon got the message, I was quite surprised really, and never have to use the hose now. If they are starting to go where I don't want them to, handclapping and voice seem sufficient.
post #13 of 20
Hey Blue! Your question implies somehow I am in charge around here! That is not the case in my house. These cats know who's in charge, and it's them!
post #14 of 20
A good ole soaking from a water bottle if what we use at our house. When we catch the young'uns in an act of eating the houseplants, climbing on the countertops, or clawing at the furniture, etc. I would never swat at my babies. Sometimes we clap our hands loudly and talk sternly to them. However, they pay more attention to the water bottle.
post #15 of 20
Cats are like toddlers going through the terrible two stage. Unlike toddlers though, it takes them longer to grow out of it! <G> About the only time I used the spray bottle on Mister Sosa was during Christmas time. He loved climbing the Christmas tree, knocked it over several times. And, it was an artificial tree!

We sprayed him with a small spray bottle a couple of times and then found that if I sit the spray bottle under the tree in plain sight, he wouldn't go near the tree. Just sitting the bottle by my house plants also worked to keep him out of them.

I have never swatted my cats because they really don't have a good place to swat! I like the idea of the noise can and plan on trying that with Mac. At 9 weeks old, he's the BOSS. At least, in his mind! <G>

post #16 of 20
Well this is embarassing to admit but like Deb25 we do not discipline our cats. Rather they teach us obedience. We're very good at fetching things, opening doors, opening cans etc. They on the other hand claw away at the furniture and climb on the kitchen counters.

I know it shouldn't be like that - but we don't feel superior to them... I know all the theories - we just don't feel comfortable putting them into practice

As for behavior books. Take a look here:

For the best cat behavior books. My favorites are Think like a cat and Is Your cat crazy. I also enjoyed Cat Behavior by Roger Tabor.
post #17 of 20
So far I've just been clapping my hands loudly & giving a stern 'NO'. so far it has worked. the only time i tell them 'no' is when they are trying to drink out of my glass of milk & almost knock it over, or when they are clawing something inappropriate. other than that I pretty much let them do whatever they want, much to my boyfriends chagrin.
post #18 of 20
Thread Starter 
well, my cats arent horribly behaved, i also let then claw the furniture
and jump up on the counters - which i have to wash down a million times
a day

but there are some serious discipinary problems once in awhile, especially
between the two males - they hate each other, and go into phases where
they will literally draw blood and make sounds i have never heard.

it freaks me out, and i never know what to do.

the water bottle is a good idea, but, i dont think it's something i
could do, just because of how much they absolutely hate water, i would
get the silent treatment for days, i know it. i bet they would learn
real fast though if they got spritzed

i guess we all have our own ways, and they all seem pretty okay to me.

there are a lot of good ideas here, so thanks to everyone who
responded, and thanks Anne for those book ideas, i will have to check
those out

post #19 of 20
Muffy's such a mild mannered little girl that all I have to do is say "Muuuufffffyyyy" in a low voice, and she stops what she's doing. I've been very lucky in that she doesn't get on the counters often (not that I would really care) and she NEVER scratches the furniture, carpet, or kids! She's religious about her scratching post, even though it's a little cheapy thing. I'm pressuring hubby to make her a nice cat condo. If I absolutely had to, I might use a water bottle on her, but I haven't nad to yet...

post #20 of 20
The first thing I do when I catch Kitty being bad is grab her by the scruff of the neck and lift her up a little that way and say a loud 'no' or 'cat'. She usually tries to get all lovey-dovey and acts all innocent... if not, I put her on the floor, and she walks away..

My husband will make loud noise and say 'cat' and she goes runnning...

She won't listen to the kids at all...

I have never tried the spray bottle before. I know it works because friends of mine have used it.

She thinks she is in charge and that we just live here. As long as she isn't clawing the furniture or climbing the screens, I usually don't mind...
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