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So... how DO you discipline a cat?

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
I know what NOT to do. But what DO I do? The reason I'm asking this is because of what happened about ten minutes ago...

So I'm sitting in bed doing crossword puzzles (like I often do around this time). I had a cup of milk sitting beside me on the table. My fur-ball gray tabby named Mr. Spock has decided he wants to know what's in the cup. He knows something's in there because "mommy's drinking out of it" (lol). So he hops up onto the table. I snap my fingers and say no in a firm voice. He just looks at me. He keeps getting closer to the cup. Occasionally he'll get brave enough to sniff it, but I touch his nose with my pen and he backs away. My husband, who's half asleep, hears the commotion and does the exact same 'snap-and-no' thing I did and Mr. Spock jumps down immediately. Whatever. Anyway, a few minutes later, he jumps back up. Again, I tell him no, but he just stares at me. By this time my husband is dead asleep, so no help from him. He gets closer and closer. I keep touching his nose and he stops. He decides to just perch there in a ball. So I don't worry about it. Next thing I know, I hear a major spillage. He has taken his paw and just simply tipped the cup over and spilled milk EVERYWHERE. He jumps down immediately and hides under the bed. He knows he's been bad. But all I can do is clean up the mess!

There has GOT to be a way to teach him that what he did was bad. He knows it was, I just need a way to reinforce it. Any advice would be very much appreciated.

No crying over spilt milk though, I guess.
post #2 of 21
don't leave your dishes unattended.
post #3 of 21
Thread Starter 
Thanks a lot.
post #4 of 21
if yu figure something out let me know!! I have tried and tried with cello, no matter what I do, I tell him no, he leaves it alone, I leave the house, forget my keys and come in 2 seconds later and he is where he isn't supposed to be
post #5 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by AllySh0rty View Post
Thanks a lot.
my cup has a lid...
seriously, i don't know anything that works 100%. i always say that having a cat [or cats, in my case] is like having perpetual 5 year olds... they know the rules, but disregard them as it suits them [especially when they want attention, or think they won't be caught ].
i have water bottles that i rarely have to use - i just shake them. doesn't keep them from initiating the unwanted behavior, but does seem to stop them [temporarily!].
post #6 of 21
Thread Starter 
Oh, I have the same problem! I've done that exact thing! I'll walk out the door and come in because I've forgotten something and Mr. Spock is up on the counter again! Saki isn't as bad about it, but Mr. Spock is just awful! *sigh*
post #7 of 21
The minute you saw the "I'm going to do something bad" face you should have pushed him off the table while saying no and moved the cup. Often I have to tell Tomas "I'm getting up" before he'll stop what he's about to do.

The problem is, if you let him on the table at other times he won't know that he's not supposed to be up there and in your food or drinks - so it may be best to just teach him to stay down.
post #8 of 21
This is a very easy solution, and doesn't involve any discipline. You just shove him off the table. And keep shoving him off the table every time he jumps up there at those times you don't want him there. But be 100% consistent. If you allow him up there while you're drinking your OJ (which he won't want) and shove him off while you're eating your ice cream (which he does want) then you'll confuse him.

This worked for me. Now, all I do is say "scoot!!" and they leave the table and stay off until I'm finished.
post #9 of 21
I agree with kicking them off the space. My cats know exactly who to go to for snacks and milk, My hubby. "Mr. only good cat is a stuffed cat" constantly feeds them and shares his milk with them. Then I have to be the bad guy. They won't do it in front of me, so I know they KNOW, but when mommy is out of the room...
post #10 of 21
My cats get away right away when my hubby tells them "get!". Works every time for him. Sometimes I have to shake the squirt bottle if they think I'm not serious. I rarely have to use the squirt bottle anymore, but a shake gets the point across.

As for the water/milk next to the bed. When Nabu went through his tipping everything phase we just started using water bottles. Like a Nalgene or similar. Of course my hubby was the stubborn one, and got an entire glass of water dumped on him and the mattress before we changed completely. He got mad when I actually slept through Nabu doing the same thing to me.

When Raven was alive, all I had to do was tell him to "Get down" or "Leave it alone" and he would leave things alone/get off of whatever he was on. He was a very smart cat. I could tell him what I wanted him to do/stop doing and he knew what I meant. Nabu on the other hand will stare at you like you spoke a foreign language and continue doing whatever.
post #11 of 21
The spray air duster cans work pretty well, because they sound like a cat hissing.
post #12 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kathylou View Post
The spray air duster cans work pretty well, because they sound like a cat hissing.
You would have to be very careful not to direct the air at the cat. I would imagine compressed air could do damage if not used carefully.

I too believe cats are smart. Bijou does not meow for me to let him outside because I never do. However, he meows at hubby and then runs to the door which brings hubby to the door to let him out. They are smart.

I also agree with the posters that said you have to be consistent. As with a 5 year old, consistency is important.
post #13 of 21
In Cat language No means Yes and Yes means No!!! I guess you missed that memo!!
post #14 of 21
When my cats have gone too far I use a touch on the top of their head similar to another cat whacking them with their paw. Let me stress this is a touch aimed at communicating displeasure in cat terms rather than people terms. I generally reserve it for really nasty behavior though like biting. I, like the others in this case, would just shove the cat off the table. Friday knows he can get away with anything until I stand up. Then he knows I'm going to push him down so he does it for me. If I don't stand up he'll not only knock over my drink he'll drink it and ask for more!
post #15 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yosemite View Post
I would imagine compressed air could do damage if not used carefully..
Yes it can. After a couple seconds the air coming out becomes freezing cold. Literally cold enough to cause frost bite. That would be a danger if it was sprayed too close. And something else that happened to me is that once the tube flew out and sailed across the room. I would image that could do some damage if it hit an eyeball.
post #16 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by howtoholdacat View Post
When my cats have gone too far I use a touch on the top of their head similar to another cat whacking them with their paw. Let me stress this is a touch aimed at communicating displeasure in cat terms rather than people terms.
Hissing works pretty good, too.
post #17 of 21
I use a covered cup if I am not drinking out of a bottle with a top. My SO teases me about my sippy cup like my granddaughter uses. (it is really a coffee cup with a big bottom so it will not tip over) If they are being really bad, I shake the squirt bottle. Funny thing is, Pearl or Fluffy have never been squirted in their lives, but knows it must be bad if the others run from it. Sometimes I have to squirt Pepper or Scooter's toes, they hate that, so I have to do it rarely. That is for capital offenses like pushing stuff off the tables. I am always careful to just get the toes or nothing at all.
post #18 of 21
I reserve certain tones of voices and words for different types of offenses. If you use the same tone with them on everything, they soon ignore you completely. For example:

Counter or table offense: "I don't think so" and if they don't listen "OFF".
Fireplace, stove or anything dangerous to them: "GET DOWN RIGHT NOW" with continuous clapping and hissing.
Starting to scratch the sofa: loud finger snap and hiss
Aggression to eat other: "STOP"
Drinking out of my glass: "back off"

I almost always drink out of a bottle or cup with a lid. Why tempt them?
post #19 of 21
They know the word "No", a clap, and a short burst up in the air of air freshener.
post #20 of 21
I look at them in the eye and whistle loudly and clap. It stops mine dead in their tracks. I taught mine that bad behavior gets a time out. Just like I did with my daughter. Since they hate closed doors it worked and I don't have to do it anymore. Sometimes my look of displeasure is enough. Mine don't knock stuff off though. When they are wrestling too hard where I think ok this is going to turn any minute I stomp my foot, clap, whistle and say NO.
I have different whistles for different things.
post #21 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rosiemac View Post
They know the word "No", a clap, and a short burst up in the air of air freshener.
Oo, air freshener is a great idea -- I bet the smell annoys them tons!
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