Should I rub my cat’s nose in his pee?

You should not rob your cat’s nose in his pee no matter what he has done to urinate inappropriately. They won’t have a clue what is going on except that it is a bad and frightening experience. The same applies to pooping inappropriately and the same applies to dogs in both cases. The rule is universal, namely that the human guardian of a companion animal should never punish them as a means to alter their behaviour. It may indeed alter their behaviour but the change in behaviour will not be advantageous to either the cat or the owner. It may teach the cat or dog to fear their owner. They may hide and become anxious around their human significant other. These are all negatives to the human-to-cat or dog relationship.

Cat pee under black light

Cat pee under black light. Photo in public domain. I added the red oval.

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It is surprising, I have to admit, that people still ask the question in the title and I know that they do. I can remember a close friend of mine saying that she knows how to train a dog. You simply rub their nose in the pee and say “No” to them firmly. It sounds all very simple and it is all very wrong.

The only alternative is positive reinforcement i.e. proper training which is constructive and positive to the well-being of the animal which should be based upon checking for health issues first and making sure that the environment is satisfactory at the very least secondarily.

What I mean by this is that if a cat or dog is peeing in the wrong place then the owner should not blame the companion animal but themselves for failing to pick up a potential health issue which might cause it such as cystitis or failing to ensure that the environment does not cause stress in an animal. The environment needs to be suited to an domestic animal in terms of allowing them to express their natural desires and overall that the animal’s life is as good as it can be.

To say any more would simply be to repeat myself and I have already done that numerous times, I regret to admit. Rubbing a companion animal’s nose in pee or poop is a form of punishment and punishment is not an option.

Some more on punishment:

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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 74-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare. If you want to read more click here.

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