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Discussion Starter #1
I dont have my cat yet, researching so I can be a good cat mommy. When I grew up my mom had a water bottle handy in every room so that if the kitties were being naughty she would say HEY! really loud and squirt them. The cat would jump all startled and run off like its running for its life. Then avoid her for several hours.
I am not sure I want to use this method. I am getting a toyger, and heard that they like water, even could be trained to swim. Also I am going to try to bath him on occasion and I dont want it to be a miserable experience. So I dont want him to associate water in a negative way.
What do you all do to show your kitties that their bad behavior is bad? I know of course that each situation is different and that cats respond well to praise. For instance, I know that to keep them from scratching my furniture, I should give him his own furniture to stratch and encourage him/ praise him for using it. But sometimes, they do naughty things, and I want to know the best method to show them they are being naughty.
 

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I'm lucky in that it's unusual for my girls to do anything that I would consider "naughty". Once a month they might jump on the counter, whereupon I just say "Abby, down". They never scratch furniture and the like. The only time I need to stop them from doing something is when one plays too rough with the other, whereupon I shake a can half-filled with coins and they separate because they don't like the noise. But I don't let them see that it's me shaking the can.

Regardless of what you use (coin can, spray bottle), it's important that they don't see it coming from you. They need to learn to associate their "naughty" action with the loud noise (or spray, etc.). For example, they need to think "jumping on the counter causes a loud noise". If they know you're the source of the noise/water, they will know they can't be naughty when you're around, but it's ok to be naughty when you're not home or sleeping!
 

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Don't displine a cat. They're not dogs. They don't understand it and will just fear you for it
 

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Just my personal opinion, I am not a fan of spray bottles and whatnot (with the rare exception). Cat's generally do naughty behaviors because it is fun and pleasurable (and in a lot of cases cause they are bored)! So naturally if you don't want them to do something like scratching the furniture you need to make this not a fun thing for them to do. Double sided tape for example. I have seen numerous cases where the cats associate punishment with the person and not with what they are doing, which makes sense. They are on the counter all happy, then you come around the corner and bam they get wet. They are going to realize that every time you show up when they are on the counter they get wet even if they don't see you with the bottle. Especially since there will be times that they are on the counter, but you aren't there and they never get wet. It is just natural the water will be associated with you. But they like being on the counter, so what will they do? They will be on the counter when you are not around, or worse refuse to be around you whenever you are in the kitchen because they perceive you as punishing in that room. You don't want to create a negative association with yourself. But if you make the counter not fun, like temporarily putting down double sided tape, the cat will quickly think hey being up here is not that nice at all and naturally will give up. It makes it the counter unpleasant in itself and every time, instead of you being unpleasant when you happen to be there.
 

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Cats are a lot like 2 year olds in a lot of ways. Active and mischievous and want mommy's attention. If I'm on the telephone my girl will deliberately stand on her hind legs and start pawing at an oil painting (she never pays it any mind otherwise) that on the wall behind the sofa I'm sitting on. Another one she will do if I'm on the phone is start pushing papers, pencils, pens, off the desk onto the floor. Normally, she doesn't do that other times. In a meeting, especially if I'm doing the talking she will stand on her hind legs and bat at a lampshade, or get inside it and scratch on it. So what do I do? If I'm on the phone sometimes I have to interrupt the caller and pick her up and put her on my lap (just what she wants anyway! (lol) or even put her outside the room and close the door (that's when I'm really p.o'd). At a meeting sometimes a "No!" is sufficient. As I said, like a 2 y.o. who often do things when mom is engaged in something else, but want attention!
 

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When Mena was alive she would jump up on the kitchen counter. If she heard me coming she would get out of there fast. If I catch her she would freeze for a minute and then do the same.

Otherwise a sharp loud NO! usually gets the message across.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Ok ok perhaps the words 'punishment' and 'discipline' are not the best to describe what I am asking here. It seems everybody is fixated on these words. I was just trying to learn the best methods to train him to have good habits and the best methods for discouraging him from learning bad habits.

I really like the idea of the double sided tape! Very clever idea. Thanks for that.
 

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Well you can't teach them right or wrong, cats (and dogs, and most (if not all) non-human animals) have no moral compass. It's merely what's pleasurable, what's not pleasurable (they don't gain anything but it's not aversive so if there is something better to do they'd rather do that), and what's unpleasant.

So I make what I want them to do awesome, and what I don't want them to do either boring (so they'll choose what I want-this is something you can do for furniture scratching by providing a great post and then covering the place they scratch on the furniture with a towel or something they have no desire to scratch), unpleasant, or impossible until they stop trying. I don't want the unpleasant to actually be painful or all that scary, just not something they want to happen again. What I do exactly depends on the behavior. I ended up using double sided tape for jumping on my caged pets' tank lids because I was afraid it would cave in and they'd get killed by the cat. Tape does not hurt and doesn't cause them to flee in fear, but they stick to it and they don't like that.

Scratching furniture was mainly solved by redirecting to a cat scratcher THAT THEY LIKED (if they don't like it they will have a very hard time resisting to scratch the awesome furniture). Getting interrupted each and every time they tried scratching the couch was a pain in the butt for them so they chose the scratching post instead. I might have also used some double sided tape (I honestly forget) but only for vertical scratching as I didn't want to put them off sitting on the arms of the couch.

Nobody in the house would put in the effort to keep them off of the table so they do as they please in that respect. However I would have dealt with it simply by removing them every SINGLE time they went on immediately. You'd also have to contain them or prevent their access to the table when not home. Some sort of booby trap involving flat pans with water in them could work too, again it's painless and probably not very scary, no more than it might be for you to step in a puddle to find it goes up to your knee-unpleasant yes, scary no. But you'd need several pans and there'd be a decent amount of clean up before meals, but it may not take too many times before the cats stops risking it.

So yeah, it's very situation dependent. I don't use spray bottles anymore for the reason you described. It frightened Neko a lot, even after I stopped doing it he'd flee and hide anytime he heard you shake a bottled liquid or spray something (like window cleaner). To me it is unfair to cause that level of fear in my pet.
 

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ETA: Since you'll be getting a new pet make sure you know what the rules will be from the start. Preventing habits you don't want right from the start is your best bet. Start the new cat in his own room with a few different scratching posts so you can learn what he likes and help him form a good habit of using the post. I find cats will go insane getting into trouble the first time they explore the house so I would suggest covering the arms of your couch/other scratch-able furniture with towels so they are not pleasant to scratch when you first let him out. Put his scratching post near the furniture and encourage him to use it until it's a strong habit. Then you can start uncovering furniture while you are very close by so you can redirect the moment he starts to scratch. Continue covering the chairs when you are not there to supervise (or put the cat away). Eventually the cat will stop bothering.

Same goes with jumping on counters and tables. Be there to immediately push him off the very first time he tries, he should not get to enjoy roaming around or else the behavior will become stronger and harder to stop. It's even better if you can stop him as he's crouching to jump. Again it's ideal if you have some sort of substitute for the table in the same room...like a cat tree or window perch. That way the cat will have much less of a desire to go on the table as he has an easier way to still get up high
 

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That picture about sums up my life. There are only a couple of behaviors that MowMOw does that I don't like and he usually does them when he's bored and wants attention. I admit it, I'm a squirter. The worse is clawing at the mattress from the side. My mattress is the *only* really expensive thing I own. It's worth more than my car and I'm *VERY* attached to it. It's an instant squirt offense....luckily I just have to threaten him now and he races off with his tail up and yeowing for me to chase him.....little monster.
 

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Haha, Dave that pic is hilarious! Thats how I feel with Alice all the time. XD

....luckily I just have to threaten him now and he races off with his tail up and yeowing for me to chase him.....little monster.
Yup, I use the squirt bottle too, and like you, I rarely have to use it anymore. Just picking it up and looking at them, causes them to scamper off.

Alice is still my little naughty girl, and she'll do stuff on purpose right in front of me while she knows I'm watching. She'll even watch me as she's doing it! The second I start getting up though, and she's gone like the wind, squirt bottle or not, haha.

If the squirt bottle isn't handy and I really need to stop something quick, I'll clap my hands once really loud...but I really hate to do this, as it always scares Rochelle whether she is the one being naughty or not. :(

Most times though, I attribute their naughtiness to them just being cats and I let them alone. There's only a few offenses that bring out the squirt bottle.
 

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I say 'Uh oh' at them, now they're used to it I don't even have to be in the same room- they'll stop automatically. They're pretty good cats really, the only time I have to 'tell them off' is if they try and hit one another, so I just 'uh oh'... I can see in their faces that they are thinking "Oops, Mummy says no..."

I had to remove Mitzi from the situation a couple of times and put her back in her 'safe room'. This calmed her down really quickly and she soon learnt that being alone was no fun!
 

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I forgot to mention time outs. Alice responds really well to time outs, so we've been using this method when she's been really naughty. She gets a 10-15 minute chill-out time in the bathroom, and when she's let out, she acts like a little angel, hehe.

Time outs do not work on Samantha however...she just meows VERY loudly. Thats bad since we have very thin walls in our apartment and I know her voice is loud enough to carry to the surrounding apartments (especially in the bathroom where the walls are thinnest). Thank goodness she's not all that naughty. :p

Rochelle is my "no, no baby-girl". She rarely does anything badly behaved, and if she does she stops immediately when she's been caught.
 

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It's all about positive or negative reinforcement and consistency with them. If they do something you think is bad and it gets them something they want, then it's good to them. You need to make it a no reward situation. If they like jumping on counters because they may find treats or yummy snacks, then you have to make sure all dishes are clean and there are no crumbs or sticky stuff to lick on your counters. This will then discourage the behavior, but it has to be reinforced each time until they tire of it and cats sometimes do like to repeat behaviors rather compulsively.

My cats don't really scratch the furniture anymore. I keep their nails trim and they have no need to remove the outgrown sheaths as often. They mostly scent mark their territory with their cheek glands. However, I do have one cat, Azalia who is a bit clumsy and as much as she tries to spring from one couch end to another or her window perch, she never quite makes it and has to hold on for dear life with her claws. It's kind of funny to watch, but a bit sad...she really does try hard to get up there.

In my world, that means she's messing up the furniture. I just buy covers that go over the furniture more often (about every 12-18 months) and in different colors I like so I feel like I am winning (I get a new look), and do not focus on the furniture below; after all, it's not that the furniture is no longer functional, just the couch and loveseat ends have hundreds of tiny claw prick marks. I know she doesn't do it on purpose...she's just a big girl *shrugz* so at that point it's choosing what is important to me: her companionship and love or the principle of her not damaging the furniture under the covers which a visitor may or may not see?

We do have a water bottle, but half the time it's not where we need it and by the time we would get it, the moment would be gone so it's not really ever used.
 
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