When it comes to learning how to discipline a cat, things can get difficult quickly. There are a wide variety of bad behaviors that make living life with a feline difficult. Unfortunately, even well-meaning pet parents end up disciplining their cat the wrong way.
First, it is important to understand why your cat is acting out so you can provide him with the support he needs. For bad kitty behavior that needs modification, knowing how to discipline a cat the right way is essential.
Cat Behavioral Problems
Cats behave badly for a large number of reasons. When learning how to discipline a cat, it is important to understand the cause of these bad behaviors.
First, you should determine whether your cat really does have a behavioral problem. One example is litter box usage. There are a number of reasons why a cat may decide to stop using the litter box, but one of the most common reasons is a urinary tract infection. In this case, the cat doesn’t have a behavioral problem. He has a medical problem that needs to be addressed by a veterinarian.
Instinctual behaviors should never be punished either. Cats that scratch furniture require a scratching post. Cats that aren’t neutered or spayed will go into heat and may spray furniture. Some cats will even engage in rough housing or play fighting in order to hone their skills. All of these behaviors require modification, but not necessarily through discipline.
Understanding Your Cat’s Behavior
True behavioral problems include unrolling the toilet paper roll in the bathroom, banging the doors of cabinets, and eating shoe laces, although there are many more. When deciding how to discipline a cat, understanding his behavior is essential.
In most cases, cats that behave badly are bored. They aren’t mad at you and they aren’t being stubborn. They just have excess energy to burn and are looking for an outlet. Cats may also act like terrors if they are looking for your attention. Even negative attention is a form of attention, which is what makes disciplining your cat the right way so important.
To help alleviate this need for negative behavior, provide your kitty with plenty of interaction during the day. Make sure you rotate his toys so that he doesn’t become bored and provide him with access to windows and cat trees. Some motorized toys and treat dispensers can be very effective if you leave home for a large portion of the day to go to work.
How to Discipline a Cat the Wrong Way
When you think of how to discipline a cat that continues to misbehave, you’re likely to think about punishments that are more about your frustration than molding the behavior of your cat. Shouting, physical punishment, the spray bottle, and being shut in another room or thrown outside are all popular discipline methods, although they aren’t effective.
These methods of discipline are likely to instill fear in your cat. In many cases, your cat won’t even associate the punishment with the right action, so your cat is likely to keep doing the same thing over and over again. In addition, if your cat is simply looking for attention, he’s getting it when you yell at him, which actually encourages him to continue the behavior!
How to Discipline a Cat the Right Way
When it comes to effective cat discipline training, it’s all about withholding attention in order to create a negative experience. If your cat is engaged in a negative behavior, don’t provide him with the attention he craves. Instead, completely ignore him. Don’t speak to him and don’t interact with him. At first, this can be a real challenge because your cat will see how far he can go before you snap. If you feel like you might cave in and yell at him, leave the room.
When your cat stops and is behaving in a positive way, make sure you provide him with plenty of love and attention. A treat or two can be very helpful as well. With consistence, your cat will learn which behaviors result in a positive response and which behaviors result in getting ignored.
Learning how to punish your cat or how to discipline a cat isn’t difficult, but it does take some practice and patience. The key is to stop providing your cat with the attention that he craves. By consistently withholding attention, you will likely enjoy a much better-behaved cat.