TheCatSite.com › Forums › Our Feline Companions › Cat Behavior › Just Curious... (Discipline issues)
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Just Curious... (Discipline issues)

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
Hi everyone! I've asked a few questions on here before, and I love the site, so I decided to ask something I've been wondering about to get your take on it.

When we first got our first kitty, Spock, he was wonderful, but always bit us in a playful way. It was playful for him, but not us obviously! Well, my husband has never been a cat owner until now, so he popped him on his backside a few times when he did it. Not too hard, but enough to scare him a bit. Every time he did it, I told him he shouldn't do it and I'd get irritated and hold and cuddle Spock because I felt bad.

That was when he was about 8 to 16 weeks old. Now that he's a year old, he's a little bit cautious around us, more so than a normal cat should be. He'll cuddle when he wants to, but once he's had enough, you better let him down or he'll start that biting again. My husband doesn't discipline him anymore, as we've learned much better ways of teaching him what we expect from him.

But I'm wondering... because my husband spanked him when he was little, could that be why he's not as affectionate as we'd like for him to be? Don't get me wrong, he's a happy cat. He plays with our other kitty and we see no other behavior problems. (We had a poop problem a while ago, but he just didn't like the covered litter box, as he is a fairly big kitty!) He's not scared of us, he's just not as affectionate as we'd like for him to be towards us. Could that be the reason? And if so, did we ruin him? Is there a way to fix this? I feel so bad for causing the stress when he was small! I hope there's a way I can possibly reverse it! Thanks in advance for the input!
post #2 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by AllySh0rty View Post
[font="Century Gothic"]
That was when he was about 8 to 16 weeks old. Now that he's a year old, he's a little bit cautious around us, more so than a normal cat should be. He'll cuddle when he wants to, but once he's had enough, you better let him down or he'll start that biting again. My husband doesn't discipline him anymore, as we've learned much better ways of teaching him what we expect from him.
First, it isn't appropriate to try to "correct" him if he bites you because he wants to be left alone and you don't leave him alone. In this situation it is your behavior that needs correcting, not his.

Quote:
Could that be the reason? And if so, did we ruin him? Is there a way to fix this? I feel so bad for causing the stress when he was small! I hope there's a way I can possibly reverse it! Thanks in advance for the input!
It is possible that he has learned not to trust you because of your husbands inappropriate prior behavior. Because he may not fully trust you he may not ever be completely relaxed and affectionate with you. It is also possible that that is just his personality and he would have turned out that way no matter what.

IMHO...
post #3 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by AllySh0rty View Post

But I'm wondering... because my husband spanked him when he was little, could that be why he's not as affectionate as we'd like for him to be? Could that be the reason?
Yes i would say so He was a tiny baby at 8-16 weeks when he got his first smack no matter how light it was, and animals never forget

Like you said it wasn't hard but it scared him so i think you answered your own question

He's still young though so he could possibly gain the trust back, but it won't be something that happens overnight?. Your husband needs to sit down on the floor with him and play with him with some toys, along with feeding him treats and speaking gently to him.
post #4 of 12
As the previous posters noted, it could very well be rooted in your husband's unfortunate attempts at discipline. It sounds like you realize now that discipline and cats don't go very well together.

But I would also say that it just as easily could be at least partly attributable to the fact that he's now one year old. Sort of at the "rebellious teenager" stage of his life. Many 8 or 9 year old children are very affectionate with their parents and think that their parents are the greatest people in the world. Fast forward 5 or so years and it's typically a completely different story....

He also has another cat to occupy his time, which may make him seem a little more distant from you.

Is there a way to fix or reverse this? Well, make sure that you and your husband are always on your best behavior, and provide him with the appropriate level of love and care. Give him every reason to come around and hopefully, as he matures into adulthood, he'll do exactly that.
post #5 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by RobertM View Post
But I would also say that it just as easily could be at least partly attributable to the fact that he's now one year old. Sort of at the "rebellious teenager" stage of his life. Many 8 or 9 year old children are very affectionate with their parents and think that their parents are the greatest people in the world. Fast forward 5 or so years and it's typically a completely different story....
This would be my guess as well. Kitties get more independent as they grow out of kitten hood.
If he doesn't cower or run away from you or your husband it's very likely no lasting damage was done.

I'll admit, I have swatted cats on the butt before. Recently, and it was because my neutered outdoor male Max and an unneutered neighbor cat were going to get into a fight in the yard and I didn't have anything else to break them up with. I swatted them both and threatened to tie their tails in knots ...they went separate directions, both pouting. Having them mad at me, instead of each other, was better then them inflicting dangerous injuries on each other.
(do note: Max is fearless...)

I don't condone it, there are better ways.
post #6 of 12
I think this can be corrected. It will take some time - it won't change overnight.

Have hubby get a couple of t-shirts really good and sweaty. Put one under the food bowl. Then have hubby have an "alone" play with him every night (in a bedroom away from the other kitties or something) for 15 minutes or so - an interactive wand toy or something. Then have him put treats down for the kitty on the other sweaty t-shirt. If every night is too much for hubby, have him do it every other night. Do this for a month or two.

Also, cats do NOT learn like dogs. They are not motivated by making people happy, so being physical to train them just doesn't work. As Momofmany always points out, cats are all about "what's in it for me." So the best way to "teach" them requires a three-pronged approach:

1) Talk to them in their language. If they're doing something you don't want them to, blow a short, sharp puff of air directly in the face. Say "no" firmly. They understand the puff of air (it's like another cat hissing at them). They learn the meaning of the word "no."

2) Redirect the behavior. If scratching in appropriately, place them in front of a scratching post. If biting a person, give them a straw or something appropriate to chew on. If playing with something that isn't a toy, grab a laser light. etc.

3) They need positive reinforcement, so when doing what they should be doing, or they stop doing what you don't want them to do when you blow in the face, praise them to high heaven.

So having hubby give the kitty more attention, both of you being consistent about correcting inappropriate behavior appropriately, and praising him for being a good boy should all help over time to regain the trust.

Laurie
post #7 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by LDG View Post
I think this can be corrected. It will take some time - it won't change overnight.

Have hubby get a couple of t-shirts really good and sweaty. Put one under the food bowl. Then have hubby have an "alone" play with him every night (in a bedroom away from the other kitties or something) for 15 minutes or so - an interactive wand toy or something. Then have him put treats down for the kitty on the other sweaty t-shirt. If every night is too much for hubby, have him do it every other night. Do this for a month or two.

Also, cats do NOT learn like dogs. They are not motivated by making people happy, so being physical to train them just doesn't work. As Momofmany always points out, cats are all about "what's in it for me." So the best way to "teach" them requires a three-pronged approach:

1) Talk to them in their language. If they're doing something you don't want them to, blow a short, sharp puff of air directly in the face. Say "no" firmly. They understand the puff of air (it's like another cat hissing at them). They learn the meaning of the word "no."

2) Redirect the behavior. If scratching in appropriately, place them in front of a scratching post. If biting a person, give them a straw or something appropriate to chew on. If playing with something that isn't a toy, grab a laser light. etc.

3) They need positive reinforcement, so when doing what they should be doing, or they stop doing what you don't want them to do when you blow in the face, praise them to high heaven.

So having hubby give the kitty more attention, both of you being consistent about correcting inappropriate behavior appropriately, and praising him for being a good boy should all help over time to regain the trust.

Laurie
Physical discipline doesn't work with cats, it intensifies the aggression. The best way to physically connect with a kitty is by mimicking their behaviors, and the same with discipline, respect.
post #8 of 12
Honestly, I think your cat is just coming into his own personality. Some cats are just not real affectionate unless it's on their own terms. I have 6 cats. I have one (Gizmo) that is affectionate to the point of annoying. He wants to be everywhere I am and will sit on the arm of the couch and stare at me wanting to be petted. If I ignore him, he will first paw my face...gently...if I still ignore him, he will paw my face with claws out. I really think this cat would be happiest if I wrapped him up in a baby blanket and carry him around all day! I've been trying to break him from this, but it's a long road.

Another cat, Harley, is very independent and only wants his lovings when DH and I go to bed. We let him the bedroom until he's feels he is loved, then he wants out. Little one comes around for lovins sometimes, but it is rare (and very special).

I agree that if Spock isn't acting afraid of you or your husband, it probably isn't because of the spanking. And, I don't agree that a light tap on the butt is a spanking. Sometimes that is the only way to get a cat to stop something. But, with a kitten, biting is normal, and he should have just been picked up and put down.

Biting is abolutely normal for grown cats if they are getting over stimulated. The thing to watch is the tail. I know when my cats have had enough petting because their tails start to twitch. Unlike dogs, that isn't a sign of happiness...that is a sign that they are getting irritated. At that point, don't pet them anymore. You don't have to move them...they may be perfectly comfortable and just want to go to sleep. At that point, I just leave them alone and if they want more petting they will let me know.
post #9 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone for your help. I really appreciate it! He's such a good kitty, he's just less affectionate than Saki, so I think it got me worried. I appreciate your input, it makes me feel much better!
post #10 of 12
I agree, when I told my cat off, he would do the naughty thing, all the more!
If I ignored him, he did it less! I had a very naughty cat, when he was young,
but I learned to praise him when he was good and ignore the bad. Sometimes, you have to get into your cats mind, as they are all different. I went to a friends house the other day and met her cat for the first time. She said her cat wouldnt go near strangers, so I didnt stare at her, just talked quietly to her and patted the cushion next to me. My friend was surprised when the cat was rubbing herself against me and laying next to me. I waited for her to come to me, then petted her. The first few weeks in a cats life are quite important but I am sure you will win him around with patience and finding out how he best responds.
post #11 of 12
I honestly don't think that a single incident your husband did nearly a year ago is affecting his behavior now. He's responding to your behavior now. If your husband is playing with him and giving treats, he will respond positively.

I agree with the folks that stated that he's at an age where he's coming into his own and trying to find his way in life. Cat's get into that awkward age between about 10 to 18 months while in their "teenage" stage of life.

If you haven't read thru the aggression to humans sticky in Behavior, I suggest you read it. It sounds like he might have some misdirected aggression issues that can be easily redirected.
post #12 of 12
My first thought was also his age.....teenagers! When we first got Zoe, she wouldn't sleep anywhere but in my lap or around my head on the pillow at night. She's still loving and loves to rub up against my legs etc. but she will not sit in my lap. At night she sleeps next to my legs or feet. They still want to be there, but a bit more independent too. I just hold out hope that as she gets older, she'll be more of a lap cat again.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Cat Behavior
TheCatSite.com › Forums › Our Feline Companions › Cat Behavior › Just Curious... (Discipline issues)