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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-19-2009, 04:18 AM Thread Starter
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Disciplining Cats

Hi, everyone! I never had a cat before and I need some help, please...
You see, my kitten Mojca is not more than 6 months old and she's quite playful and active but little naughty. It's easy to play with such cats but still they need to be disciplined, right It's kinda hard to discipline Mojca. She doesn't want to listen. Although she knows how to use the litter box, she sometimes toilets anywhere else. How can I put an end to this problem before it gets bigger?
And how do you(well generally speaking)discipline cats? Which mood should the cat be in to feel ready?
Thank you!
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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-19-2009, 08:12 AM
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Re: Disciplining Cats

OKKKKKK here goes...

Dispilining cats its rathre easy. here are a few do's and donts:

- Saying NO in a low, slightly louder than normal voice is usually enough to get them to stop bad behaviour.
- Next try clapping loudly or banging something on a surface.
-If still being persistant its time for the old 'water gun' treatment. A small water pistol or spray bottle aimed at your cat will get them to stop.
- NEVER EVER EVER tap you cat on the nose. A cats nose is super sensitive and this is incredibly painful to him.
- NEVER smack your animal. this is totaly unnecesary and cruel. (tho bum tapping is ok gently!)
-NEVER disaplin you animal by locking him away or withholding food. This serves no purpose other than mental deteriation.

Cats live in the NOW, its no good telling you cat off for something he did hours ago, he wont understand and will be hurt. Always make them stop the behaviour as they are doing it, or about to do it.

As for the litter problem, sounds like he needs a bit more training, make sure when you see him start to scratch and crouch on the floor you pick him up and put him into the litter box.

Cleaning his eliminations using a good enzymatic cleaner (available from any good pet store) will break down the amonia and leave it scent free. This will help as your cat will stop peeing in the same places as it doesnt have the 'toilet' smell to it anymore. Scoop your tray everyday, some cats are fussy and wont go in a dirty box. Trying different brands of litter to find one he likes is an idea. And make sure its a good, out of the way private place so he feels comfortable going there.

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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-19-2009, 12:47 PM
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Re: Disciplining Cats

I wanted to add that part of the elimination problem you are seeing is probably just due to the kitten being a kitten. Ever seen a human toddler play, play, play and then potty in their pants? Even if they are asked every 15min if they need to go potty, they say "no" so they don't have to stop playing, interrupting their fun, to go take care of business. If your kitten has full run of the house, you may need to 'plant' a litterbox in every room so there is one visibly handy when the urge comes upon the kitten.
IME, as the kittens get older, they grow out of this behavior and can eventually be weaned down to 1 or 2 litterboxes in out-of-the-way places of the home. But when they are little, they need more opportunity to do the right thing. Young things don't always make their decisions when they need to and are often caught short with ignoring the bathroom urge until it becomes an immediate: go-right-now! urge that they must obey at that moment, no matter where they are or what they are doing.

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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-19-2009, 02:33 PM
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Re: Disciplining Cats

We also use a water bottle, as well as a stern voice. But I also do timeouts. Not for 'naughty' behavior, but for those times where they are so wild and awful and just can't calm down. IME baby animals don't know how to calm down until they learn it. Timeouts just teach them they can't get to that crazy level of excitement.

Typically this happens to one of the boys. Usually they are rocketing around (which is generally fine) but if they add that in with running directly across me/anyone on the couch, or with being awful to one of the other cats then we get a timeout. I walk over calmly, pick them up, say "Timeout." and calmly put them in one of our kennels. As soon as they settle down I go over and ask "Are you calmer yet?" If they stay calm I let them out, sometimes they'll go right back to freakout mode, which means they need a bit more time.

All four of my cats know that as soon as they settle down they will be allowed out. It's not punishment, merely a pause for them to get control of themselves again. Mostly I use it when they won't leave the other cats alone. Jitzu gets timeouts for bullying Torri, the boys get timeouts of harassing either sister...It works very well here.

That catch with kitties is if you don't catch them ACTUALLY DOING THE NAUGHTY THING you can't do anything about it. If you catch them doing something you can correctl them by saying "No!" in your "I'm the mommy" voice.
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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-19-2009, 02:35 PM
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Re: Disciplining Cats

I don't know: it seems to me that at almost 6 months, a cat should be over kitten-play litter problems. At least, that's when I got my ladies and they were good box users right from the start.

Litterbox using isn't really a "discipline" issue. I'd search the forums for threads on litter issues. Common problems could include: a UTI, cat doesn't like the box/litter, cat likes peeing in one box and pooping in a different box, cat thinks it's OK to poop/pee in a spot outside the box because they can smell that they've gone there before. Solutions would be a trip to the vet, a different box/litter, a second box, and cleaning with an enzymatic cleaner, respectively. (You should use the enzymatic cleaner to get rid of the scent regardless. Even if you can't smell it, your cat can.)

Maybe with a few more details someone with more experience with litter problems can weigh in?

As far as discipline goes, it really depends on what the problem is. If the cat wants attention or is getting too aggressive in play, often stopping the play and then ignoring them is the most effective thing to do. Ditto for if the cat is waking you at night. "No!," noisemakers, or squirt bottles can be options, but it depends on what the issue is. A squirt accompanied by "No!" or "Down!" might work for jumping on the table at dinner time, but I think it would just confuse the cat if used for rough play.
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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-19-2009, 02:47 PM
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Re: Disciplining Cats

from my understanding cats have the memory of a gold fish so if you discipline minutes even seconds after the incident they wont know why you did that.

i find the deep throaty name calling yell, kind of like when your parents called your name out in a special way and you knew you were in trouble lol ( i got that alot) makes them stop too. i think they think uh-oh what did i do wrong!??!?!?

the whole clapping thing works, i also scream and make funny noises and dance around. yeah its silly but that breaks up fights, and sometimes my cats would be side to side saying "the heck is she doing" completely forgetting they hate each other lol.

sometimes i make hissy noises and growl like cats, but that just confuses them, however they do walk away.

spraying with the water bottle only worked for my cat like 3 times. afterwords she got stubborn and still did stuff.

thats the thing with cats, there stubborn, they can go all night jumping the table, but how many times will you take them off of it???
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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-19-2009, 02:55 PM
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Re: Disciplining Cats

For the litterbox you might want to try 'Positive Reinforcement' by rewarding Mojca when she uses her litterbox. This could mean a treat or perhaps a few strokes while you tell her she's a good cat. Keep the litterbox scooped. Zenobi was having problems and scraped and scraped at the litter because she obviouly couldn't cover the smell. I started scooping as soon as I'd seen she'd used it. Now she comes and tells me that she's used it, or on occasion she yells from the box.

Any discipline, as pointed out should be as soon after the problem as possible. I agree with the 'NO' system, and it might take time. Whatever form it takes it should be consistent. Zenobi is a long cat and even though I've got a big litterbox, the litter sometimes gets spiled over the edge (it does have a no spill edge, but that mkes the box too small for her and her doings were going over the edge). When she sees this and I'm at the litterbox she sometimes runs and hides, sometimes not. I get the impression that she's been used to getting swiped for scattered litter. I've just started following her, telling her she's a good cat and giving her a pat on the head. I am hoping this will allay her fears in the long run.

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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-19-2009, 03:04 PM
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Re: Disciplining Cats

What's going to work also varies with the individual cat.

A firm, "No!" always worked for the cats we had growing up, but when I got my ladies they clearly had no idea what "No!" meant. They jumped on the table, I shouted, "No!" They looked at me happily. "The person is TALKING to me! Hello, person!" (Sometimes they would jump off the table to come say hello, because I was TALKING to them, but that wasn't really the effect I was going for.)

A can of pennies started them briefly (to the point of freezing, not to the point of jumping down.) Then once they realized it was just me making the noise, it had the same effect as "No!" "The person is making noises at me! Hello, person!"

Squirt bottles worked on Misty, but Stormy just sat where she was and glared at me. "Hey! You're making me WET!"

Eventually someone here suggested repeating, "Down! Down!" in a firm voice and shoving the offending cat unceremoniously off the table on the second or third "Down!" Cats hate it when they suddenly find themselves somewhere it wasn't their idea to be, and that eventually worked. At least, it worked to the extent that the realized I didn't want them on the table, and that "Down!" meant they should jump down. (They seem to have gotten, "No!" in the same tone of voice, either by extension or from repeated, "No!" followed by removal from the area they were committing the offense in.)

They still don't always jump down on the first "Down!" and sometimes a shove is still needed. And yeah, if they're in a stubborn mood, I generally eventually give up and just inform them I'm ignoring them. Then I do it. They have nothing better to do than to spend all evening jumping on the table, but I have other things I'd rather do than spend all evening shoving them off. (And at that point, I often suspect it's all an attention-grabbing ploy anyway.)
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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-19-2009, 03:40 PM
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Re: Disciplining Cats

Originally Posted by Jadedea Jade
i find the deep throaty name calling yell, kind of like when your parents called your name out in a special way and you knew you were in trouble lol ( i got that alot) makes them stop too. i think they think uh-oh what did i do wrong!??!?!?

That works.
And it's as disipliney as I ever get.

The last time people tried to elimate free roaming cats it resulted in The Black Plague.
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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-20-2009, 06:58 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Disciplining Cats

Wow. Thanks for your replies, everyone!
Maybe my kitten is too young for such tasks? In my opinion, kittens in certain stages may not be really prepared to learn certain things quickly. I actually treat her nearly like a toddler. Not expecting her to behave right away.
Could you take a look at her here, please? Maybe she's 4 or 5 months old? I dunno how to tell.
I know the pics don't look cool but I'm trying to show how she looks like only to determine her age. Sorry. It's a lot of responsibility for me.

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