Cats are stereotyped as sassy and feisty pets. While some are really independent, there’s a way on how to discipline a cat. You should always use positive reinforcement and patience to train your kitty. The goal is to avoid the common mistakes of many pet owners. Cats are very receptive to training, especially with the use of treats. Below, I shared my tried and tested tip in training a cat to be more disciplined.
Behavioral problems of cats
Cats are notorious for scratching, biting, and trying to own your spot in the house. This behavior may lead to damaged sofa, wounds, and harm to other people. But if you’re willing to spend some time, you can stop or at least reduce your cat’s negative behavior.
Feline aggression can also take place, especially for newly adopted cats. However, subtle aggression can also occur in domesticated cats. The problem is that some pet owners perceive it as playfulness, which in turn fuels the negative behavior of the kitty.
Another problem that pet owners face is escaping cats. Male cats will often seek females in heat, while females will also look for males. This can happen even for indoor cats. This isn’t necessarily a behavioral problem, but a natural reproductive process of felines.
Many cats are also guilty of jumping into the dinner table. Some pet owners tolerate this behavior, which will make the cat think it can jump on any surface.
7 Best Methods How to Discipline a Cat
1. Consider deterrents.
If your kitty is becoming invasive and starting to damage things, one thing you can use is deterrents. Citrus peels are one of the simplest yet most effective options since cats don’t like its strong odor. Don’t worry because it’s safe for your pet.
2. Don’t tolerate the behavior.
If your cat tries to invade your spot, say sitting on your keyboard, you must pick it up gently then transfer it to another spot. Never pet your cat when it makes this habit because it will think that invading your spot is acceptable.
3. Put it on timeout.
Like kids, cats will learn a lot from being in timeout. If your cat misbehaves and doesn’t respond well to commands, you can put it in the bathroom or another room for about 20 minutes. Don’t give in to its loud meowing. Doing this repeatedly when your cat misbehaves since will let the kitty realize that there are repercussions to its behavior.
4. Command training.
While cats aren’t as trainable as dogs, you can still teach your pet some commands. The single word “no!” can save you from a lot of scratches and hassle. Use this word consistently to stop your cat from specific behavior. You can also clap your hand to startle your cat while saying a firm “no!”.
5. Aluminum foil.
If your cat damages your precious furniture with endless scratching, you can place aluminum foils on these surfaces. Cats hate scratching on foil, but it will not hurt them. If aluminum foils are aesthetically unattractive, you can try double-sided tapes instead.
6. Stop the behavior immediately.
One way to stop your cat from exhibiting negative behavior is to stop it the moment it starts. If your cat tries to bite you while playing, stop playtime right away. This will make your cat realize that the behavior is uncalled for and will result in a negative thing.
7. Consult with the vet.
Are all your efforts seem to be in vain? It’s possible that your cat is suffering from a health condition that could be causing the negative behavior. Frequent accidents can be a sign of incontinence or a more serious problem.
What to avoid
When teaching your cat discipline, you should never use the spray bottle method. This involves spraying your cat with water whenever it tries to do something you don’t like. Your cat won’t understand why you’re spraying water. Although it will stop the behavior, the cat will run away and avoid you.
Whether it’s a cat or a dog, punishment doesn’t produce any positive results. It will only make your cat more withdrawn and aloof. Worse, it may trigger aggression, which will be a bigger problem.
Also, you should remember that each cat is different from the other. You should always explore which methods work for your cat’s personality. Patience is the key here, especially for stubborn kitties.
Some pet owners also rub their cat’s nose after an accident. As much as this offers instant results, your feline will only feel upset by your action. Also, this method will only emphasize the crime scene. In the end, your cat may think that you’re allowing them to do it again on the same spot. If your cat had an accident, you must use an enzyme cleaner to remove any traces that may cause them to eliminate on it again.
Above all, you shouldn’t allow rough play. If you do, your cat will think that it’s okay to be aggressive. This habit will manifest in other instances outside of playtime.
Does ignoring the cat work?
Ignoring your cat to stop or punish a behavior rarely works. What you need to do is to set aside time to bond with your pet. Cats like frequent yet short interactions, so ignoring them for most of the day may only fuel other behavioral problems.
You must schedule a bonding time with your cat, where you will play and pet it. If your pet tries to demand attention outside of those scheduled interactions, that’s the time you can ignore it.
Over time, your cat will get used to the routine and recognize scheduled bonding moments.
On the other hand, independent cats may not really care about you ignoring them. This silent treatment will only leave the behavioral issues unaddressed.
In the end, your cat may experience frustration over your lack of interest to them. This may lead to aggression and lower tolerance for rough behavior. Your cat may become snappy, which can be problematic around kids.
Do cats know when you’re mad at them?
Cats can pick up some human nuances, including signs that you are mad. However, cats don’t know why, so you should never punish them for negative behavior. As compared to dogs, cats are less concerned about the affairs of humans.
Also, it takes time for your cat to recognize your facial cues. You should also know that just because you are mad or sad doesn’t mean your cat will feel empathy toward you. Some cats will get close to you out of curiosity about the new behavior you’re exhibiting.
Scolding doesn’t make sense to cats, too. Cats don’t speak human words, and they do not mind readers either. If you want to correct your cat, you must perform the correction the moment it starts the unwanted behavior. Otherwise, your cat will be confused as to why you are stopping them.
Knowing how to discipline a cat is a must for every pet owner. It ensures that their felines are well-rounded and not a threat to other pets and people. It may take some patience with kitties, but consistency will surely go a long way.