My blood runs cold to read of the ‘advice’ given by the people who think they know all about cats, to other people asking for suggestions on how to stop their cats ‘bad’ behaviour.

Amongst the punishments recommended are:

  • Shouting
  • Scruffing (holding the cat up or down by the scruff of the
  • Time out
  • Squirting water or another liquid
  • Water balanced in containers (so when the cat jumps where she
    shouldn’t she gets a soaking) 
  • Hitting (a favourite is ‘bopping’ on the nose)
  • Shocking (with a scat mat)
  • A loud noise (such as rattling coins in a can)

Poster by Ruth

Do the people who advise such unkindness to cats treat their children the same way ? Do they expect them to have old heads on young shoulders? Do they teach them good behaviour by punishment ?

I hope not!

So why do it to their cat? Do they expect a cat to reason and to know how to behave like a human? Do they not know the things cats do is NOT bad behaviour, it’s natural behaviour to a cat.

Take jumping up onto heights:
Cats love to be up high and it’s very simple to provide a few perches for them rather than constantly be chasing them from worktops etc.

Take scratching:
Cats need to scratch to stay healthy and content and again it’s very simple to provide them with a scratching post and to show them how to use it.

Cats are very intelligent and if gently removed or distracted from where they shouldn’t be each time they go there, they soon remember the places out of bounds to them.

If this is done silently and then the cat praised using her name when her behaviour is acceptable, she is soon happy to oblige and to stay away from where she shouldn’t be.

It only takes a bit of time and patience and surely it’s worth that to have a happy confident well behaved cat rather than a nervous cat living her life afraid of being punished by the person she should be able to love and trust and not knowing why.

I know some people do think the squirting punishment is acceptable and think that it does work, but I don’t agree and it could be dangerous to the cat. If liquid entered her eyes, nose, ears or mouth it could cause an infection in those delicate organs.

Maybe all the people who do this don’t purposefully aim for the cat’s face (although some boast that they do) but we all know how quickly cats can move!

Also they may say ‘But the cat doesn’t associate the wetting with the person doing it’ What rubbish! Cats aren’t daft!

I can’t see any justification for punishing a cat in any way at all, cats don’t understand punishment, therefore it’s unkind and pointless.

Kattaddorra signature Ruth

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Apr 13, 2012
Good one NEW
by: Edward

Good one man.
Id like to see those who punish cats in any way get the same done to them let them see how it feels.
Ive seen a lot thinking squirting is good how can they plan to frighten and wet their cat I dont understand.
Give me a water pistol and Ill squirt it at them with great pleasure.

Apr 12, 2012
Empathy NEW
by: Leah (England)

I hate with a passion people who take on a cat but understand nothing about them and don’t even care. Cats are very sensitive and all those punishing methods will just make the behaviour worse because the cat will be scared out of his wits half the time! They will urinate where they shouldn’t because they are stressed!!

For gods sake don’t listen to anyone who states these methods are the best way because they just aren’t!!

Brilliant article and poster Ruth and my blood just like yours runs cold and the thought of some poor cat running scared all the time not knowing what to do or where to go out of utter fear!!

Apr 12, 2012
Wonderful poster NEW
by: Rose

I never have and never will punish any of my cats(nor my kids or dogs either come to that)
I can’t understand why some people can’t cope without putting the fear of God into their cats.
All I can say is it must give them a feeling of power over their pets.
Look and learn all you whose cats live in fear of you and try putting yourself in their place and think how you’d feel.

Apr 12, 2012
Yes excellent NEW
by: Mrs M

An outstanding article and poster!
It irritates me a lot when people talk about punishing their cats, most of whom don’t even realise that the much recommended squirting which although doesn’t physically hurt the cat is as much a punishment as any other.
Imagine yourself every time you thoughtlessly put a foot wrong you were squirted at! There is no way you wouldn’t become nervous, worrying about your every move.
Those who advocate this punishment bleat that it works, do they really like ruling by fear rather than kindness?
Waiting there with a gun full of stagnant water to deliberately aim at and frighten their pet!
I hope this article brings home to the people using squirting or any other method of controlling their cat’s behavior, how wrong they are.

Apr 12, 2012
Brilliant article NEW
by: Barbara

I thoroughly agree, punishment is an abuse of the power we have over our cats, we hold all the power and make all the rules, some of the rules are alien to a cat’s natural behaviour, does that mean the cat is bad? No, it means the cat is normal and our expectations of the behavious from our cat are wrong.
Punishment, shouting, hitting, scruffing, shocking, wetting are all abusive and self defeating, frightened cats, any frightened animal, only learn fear they don’t learn “good” behaviour, because they don’t know what they’ve done wrong. Time out is plain stupid, can you imagine someone trying to tell their cat what time out is and why she’s bundled into another room or a cage? Do you think the cat would understand and “learn”? No, nor do I.
Patience and more patience, repeated demonstrations of the behaviour you’d like to see and a little bit of a sense of humour are far better means of getting what you want from a cat and cause far less stress to feline and human!
I’d really like to bang the heads of the 4 people on the top of the poster together very hard, just for their own good you understand, just to “teach them”.

Barbara avatar

Apr 12, 2012
by: Michael

Excellent article. Personally, I have never had a need to punish my cat. Perhaps I am able to accept everything she or he has done. I am able to accept it because I decided to before I adopted my cats and because as Ruth says, it is natural behavior.

If we were punished for behaving perfectly naturally under the circumstances that we found ourselves we would have the right to complain. We would be living in a dictatorship.

We should not create a household dictatorship for our cats but an excellent democracy where cats are equal to humans. This promotes harmony and contentment for both parties.

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