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Kitten will not ever respond to attempts at discipline. What to do?

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
I have a young (about 6 months old) kitten. He started as the calmest, laziest little thing, but he soon became a rael demon. He'll throw everything on the floor, he's constantly running after me and jumping on me, he tears to shreds everything he can lay his paws on and most importantly he constantly goes in places where he isn't supposed to go.

Now, I know all cats start like this and need to be taught what not to do. My mom has a cat (now ten year old), and she started out that way too. But she'll at least respond to discipline. She doesn't like it, and she breaks the rules whenever she can, but she clearly knows what she shouldn't do.

My mom made it a habit of yelling "NO!" when she went to places where she wasn't supposed to go, and she occasionally slapped her on the ass when she did something really bad. Nothing really violent, just a jolt to remind her not to do that again. It didn't take long before she learned that when she got yelled at she had to stop what she was doing, and in the rare occasions when she gets slapped she'll instantly run away and not repeat the offense for a while.

My cat is not like that.
If I yell at him, je just looks at me for a moment, then resumes whatever he was doing (actually he might not even bother to look). If I slap him, he thinks I want to play and launches himself on my hand, claws and teeth ready for action. And he absolutely will not understand that there are places where he must not go.

It's not like he understands but does it anyway; he just doesn't get it. He assumes every place is free for the walking, and ignores any attempt at teaching him otherwise.

My mom's cat will, of course, go to places where she shouldn't if she thinks nobody's looking. And that's fine with me, really - unlike my mom, I have no illusions of managing to keep the cat away from the kitchen table even when I'm not in the room.

But I do want my cat away from my workshop/bedroom table and computer desk, because I have a lot of sensitive electronics up there and I don't want him throwing it all on the floor. And since I lock my room when I'm not in it, I'd be perfectly fine with him only behaving when I'm nearby.

But he doesn't behave. He's completely insensitive to discipline.
He jumps on the desk, I grab him, yell "NO!" and put him down. He does it again, and I drop him down again after slapping him. Repeat about ten to twenty times (and no, I'm not making up numbers). What puzzles me is that he doesn't even change his attempts. He doesn't even wait for me to get distracted or go away. He gets dropped down, turns around and just jumps back up, again and again and again, until I get tired and lock him outside the room. At which point, of course, he starts meowing incessantly, to the point where I sometimes have to put on earplugs if I hope to be even slightly productive (I work at home).

It's come to the point where I've gotten a water sprayer. Before you eat me alive, I'll say that I am very aware that it's an evil thing that I shouldn't ever use on a cat, but it's the one thing he reacts to. I only ever use it when he truly infuriates me, and I cringe every time I do; fortunately after the first few sprayings he got afraid enough of the thing that he runs away when I just point it at him without spraying.

But even that is an extremely short term solution; after five minutes (sometimes less) he'll have forgotten everything, and he'll resume his attempts at getting on the table/desk.

Believe me, I'd want nothing more than to toss the sprayer in the trash and never ever have to subject my cat to it again. Whenever I have to use it I feel like the worst piece of excrement on the planet.

I'm at a loss. All other (non-wild) cats I've seen show varying degrees of obedience to their owner's orders, but at least they show something. Mine just ignores me, utterly and completely, unless I threaten to spray him.

I don't know what to do. I've been told he'll calm down once he's neutered, but I'm afraid he'll just go from "utterly and hopelessly insane" to simply "insane".

post #2 of 13
He's bored - he's acting out. Don't yell, swat, or spray him.....he doesn't get it.

Get an interactive wand toy (like Da Bird) play with him 15 minutes 2x a day (morning & night). Invest in a lot of toys he can play with while you are gone during the day, like a Turbo Scratcher. Maybe try some of those cat treat balls? You've got to stimulate him mentally - everything to me says "I'm bored & lonely". Make sure to devote some quality time several times a day to specifically spending time with him. Learn his "triggers" or any signs he might have before he is "naughty" to stop before he reacts.

Neutering him is necessary. It might help calm him some. Are you able to consider a kitty playmate?

Plain & simple - you can't discipline a cat.
post #3 of 13
He is a teenager for lack of better word...

NO you cannot discipline a cat or kitten.,.,.

Distraction is a great way of training or removal from said situation... ie cat on counter you take kitty and place on floor and throw a toy...
post #4 of 13
hmm I'm no expert, but i would suggest trying compressed air instead of water. Don't spray it on him, but next to him. From what I've learned here, it reminds them of the mother cat hissing, which is how they learn what they are doing is bad.

Another idea would be a can of coins (or other noise maker) that you can shake when they start doing something they shouldnt be doing...given his respond to yelling I'm not sure how this would work, but I'm thinking it would work a bit better.

Of course if there is one thing he goes after, you can try double sided tape on that (they don't like how it sticks to their paws) or foil.

I will say I do believe he will be alot better once you get him fixed. I know that it helped a past cat of mine alot. And it should help with other bad things to come if he isn't fixed.

I hope things get better for you.
post #5 of 13
I would worry about compressed air....
post #6 of 13
Originally Posted by white cat lover View Post
I would worry about compressed air....
really? I thought it was one of the best ways to teach a kitten, or young cat. Though I admit I haven't tried it myself. Is there a reason you would worry about it? (I ask because I've been thinking of using it to try and teach mine, though I'm trying the noise maker first)
post #7 of 13
I dunno....I do not like squirt bottles as you can get water in the eyes/ears & cause issues....the same would hold true for a can of air, IMO.
post #8 of 13
I would worry about the propellents used in said air can .... and the air possibley harming the cat

if you need a diversion try a cup or jar with coins in it and shake...
post #9 of 13
First of all you have a kitten and this is what kittens do. They play. They have boundless energy and think nothing about tobaggoning over the top of your head when you deep asleep.

You should not swat your cat period. The launching on you after you hit out isn't him playing, it is him warning you to knock it off. Even a gentle swat on the "ass" can turn a once non-aggressive cat into an agressor. You move from being his playmate to his preymate and he will never treat you the same again.

Neutering helps- activity- interactive play with him several times a day will help. Getting another kitten means instead of having one cat that "throws things" you will now have two.

Stay away from con-tech.com is an effective deterrent for keeping him out of your room. You can also sprinkle citrus scented cat litter in the carpet around your electronics equipment to keep him away from places you don't want him to go.

But please stop hitting him before you have a worse problem than you do. They grow out of their behavior fairly quickly and anything not nailed to the floor is considered prey so he will mess with it.
post #10 of 13
Look, you have a kitten and I am sure you are at least aware that a kitten will have lots of energy, look in everything, get on top of everything and generally run around playing. Your kitten is not aware of do's and don'ts around your house, as yet. Although you have 'tried' to discipline your cat I fear that your attempts, ie 'slapping' and spraying will only serve to antagonise your kitty and scare him and make him very wary of you. He may even feel that he has to defend himself against you if you continue to 'discipline' in the looses sense of the word, in this way. Patience is the key to this, over time he will learn what he can and can't do. He is not a robot though and has his own way, as cats do. I would always say that a gentle approach works, it has for me. I would never ever dream of slapping my cat, it just simply is not an option in our house and never will be. I fear that if continue like that, your situation will only get worse.
post #11 of 13
Aren't kittens fun? Obviously, what you're doing isn't working so you need a new strategy. I agree with those who've said that the spraying and hitting don't work for what you'd like to change. Though I do use the squirt bottle when my own cats are going to put themselves in a dangerous situation like trying to jump on a hot stove but that's not what we're really talking about here as I read it. If I understand you correctly, you're looking for a way to get your kitten's attention so you can redirect the unwanted behavior, not so much "punish" him.

I think the more things you can do like a mommy cat the better. If he's too rough with you, hiss at him. If he's really out of line take your first two fingers and tap him on the top of his head. Mommy cats whack them with their paw but humans being so big can suffice with just a touch, no force is necessary. In this way, you're using language he already knows. The good news is that a lot of the kitten-crazies go away on their own! You may find that once he slows down some (you know, past that Speed Racer phase) that it's much easier to communicate with him.
post #12 of 13
Originally Posted by Fallingwater View Post
Now, I know all cats start like this and need to be taught what not to do.
That's the wrong approach to take with a cat. Cats might be conditioned by discipline, but they don't learn by discipline. Turn that thought around and start by teaching him what he's supposed to do. If he likes high places like a desk, get him a tall cat condo and redirect him to that if you see him on the desk. If he plays with your personal items, keep those put away and get him interactive toys. Redirection to what is the correct behavior has a better long term effect on a cat. And remember - he is still a kitten and very much in his "teen age" stage.
post #13 of 13
First, you have a kitten, they are curious, playful and they do get into stuff. If you don't want her on the desk or into stuff the best thing is keep it out her reach, close the door to that room. Definitely don't slap or yell at her, it doesn't work for cats, dogs or kids. It only teaches them fear and aggression. I'm sure your intention is not to make your little one afraid of you. Redirection is best, and spending positive time playing and cuddling. Compressed air is not a good idea because even though you plan to aim it close to but not at the cat you can cause injury. Compressed air is under pressure and if the cat turned at the wrong time it could be harmed. The shaking can works as it distracts the cat and it does not associate something bad with you. If you spray water never do it to the face, the idea is to have them associate the unpleasant experience with what they are doing, not with you. Be patient ,you have a baby, you want her to grow up to be your friend and to love and trust you.
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