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Is it cruel to spray a cat with water when you want to discourage a certain behaviour? I don't want my cats to hate me! I do it when they paw at the hamster cage or go on furniture where they aren't allowed (dining table and kitchen counters).

I started doing it today and one of my cats gets the message right away but the other just keeps coming back for more! She's quite wet now and I've put the heating on so she doesn't get cold (this isn't the cat that was recently ill by the way, it's the other one). However, she is now curled up beside me and has stopped tormenting the poor hamster so I guess she got the message.
 

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I think water is OK to use, I have used it myself, during the kitten phase especially. But some cats don't care, and clearly you have one that doesn't. If they don't get the message and continue, I would try to find something else to discourage the cat, because the water isn't working. Another good method is putting some coins in an empty soda can with tape over it, shaking that at the cat, they don't usually like the loud noise and will run. And just saying NO over and over, a loud, sharp NO with a clap of your hands, that works best for me. And in my experience, it takes 1000 NO's before a cat gets that they are not supposed to be on the counter. My cat Stephano knows he is not supposed to be there, and now I will turn around, and he is huddled on top of the clock radio that is on the counter, he thinks if he is really still I won't see him. He is a naughty boy. Cats are hard to train but if you stick with it, they will usually learn, it just takes a long time.

I would not be soaking my cat with the water bottle though. To me, the punishment is supposed to just be a squirt with water, and that is usually enough to send any cat in the other direction, but if it doesn't, I wouldn't repeatedly squirt my cats with water until they are soaked.
 

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Yeah my cats are still both kind of at the kitten phase at 6 and 7 months old. When I spray her, she does run off but then comes back again after a few minutes. I exaggerated a bit about how wet she was from it, her fur was damp to the touch but I wouldn't soak her either! If it doesn't work I will try the coins thing. I tried clicking my fingers and clapping and shouting no but she completely ignored that, and so far the water thing is more successful. Thanks for your advice! Cats will be cats though :) stubborn buggers!
 

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Even if you can scare one of your cats enough to stay off the dining table and counter tops, they're probably both throwing kitty dance parties on them when you're not around. A lot of us here have given up that battle.

Cali didn't care about the water bottle, either. She would squint her little eyes shut, wait for the spray, and then keep doing her devil kitty stuff. So I quit. The last thing I wanted was another wet kitty (Charlee played in water) going into the litter box, then running around the house while I tried to catch the newly breaded kitty spreading litter all over.
 

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They really are stubborn, and if they really want something, they won't just go away even if you squirt them with water.....if it is something they want that bad. You are at the height of that really bad age right now, that was the most trying time for me. Stephano used to climb the curtains, and he continued until he was over a year, now he his 1 1/2 and he can no longer pull his big booty up the curtains comfortably, thank god. But it was awful, with the counter. He is so bad at jumping up and I hate it. I cannot leave food on the stove that is uncovered, he will be in it. So when I cook something, I cover everything with lids, and if it can't be covered, he gets put up in the bedroom while we eat. He is so bad. Kittens just are. But he knows what NO means, and now, I just have to look at him, say a sharp NO, and he knows not to do it. Of course, he is a cat, so this sometimes means he will wait until I'm out of the room and jump on the counter. That is just being a cat though, and cats will be cats. His annoying habits are made up though by his extreme cuteness and by how lovable he is :)

Hang in there, the teenage period is almost upon you, and that is a trying time. Soon they will be lazy couch potatoes that are too lazy to try to climb on the counter.....one day :)
 

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As much as I call them my bratz, I don't ever want my girls to be couch potatoes. They're little fur-covered devils, but they make me laugh every day.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Even if you can scare one of your cats enough to stay off the dining table and counter tops, they're probably both throwing kitty dance parties on them when you're not around. A lot of us here have given up that battle.

Cali didn't care about the water bottle, either. She would squint her little eyes shut, wait for the spray, and then keep doing her devil kitty stuff. So I quit. The last thing I wanted was another wet kitty (Charlee played in water) going into the litter box, then running around the house while I tried to catch the newly breaded kitty spreading litter all over.
Hah your cats sound hilarious and a lot of fun!

I had some hope because my childhood cat (who still lives with my mum and turned 19 on 1st November) never jumps on the table because we were firm about it from the start, even though we adopted him as an adult. At least he's never on there when we're looking ;)

One of the things I really love about cats though is that there is no telling them what to do and the stubbornness is really endearing. I only really worried about my hamster being terrorised and hygiene with cat bums on tables and counters. However, I can always spray the surfaces down with antibac and move the hamsters so I suppose it's not the end of the world..

My cats are looking at me like human- 0 cats- 1. Evil geniuses.
 

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hang on a second, one of my girls just approached the hamster cage and then when I picked up the spray, she walked on past it all casual and then went behind the door. I can see her little face poking out and she thinks I can't see her ready for round two, but this is still progress.
 

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Well, my old lazy ones, maybe I shouldn't have called them couch potatoes, but maybe cat tree potatoes, since one of them just lays in her cat tree most of the day. She does wander down for a trip to the litter box and a bite to eat though, but she is quite lazy. :)
 

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I've wondered that too. I have one very stubborn cat. I have tried the water bottle, I have tried loud noise with saying no.. He just doesn't get the message. I have even tried time out. He keeps terrorizing my two older girls. My Eliza can't stand even the sight of him.. She screams bloody murder. I don't really know what else to do besides keep them separated.


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If there is a long term thing that you just don't want them near, they sell little detectors that let out a beep and a puff of air. Eventually, the air runs out, but just the beep is typically enough by that point. Midas likes to sit on top of my tarantula tank, which is a big no-no because I don't trust the top screen to hold his weight forever. If he fell in he might crush her, or he might hunt her after. So I keep the little beeping thing on top of the tank, and he doesn't go up there anymore!
 

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Those work great... when you're home. When you're not home she's going to keep trying to chew on the hamster and going to do jig on the counter.
 

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What do you do with a cat that has selective hearing and loves to play in the water bowl? My Kitten, about 8 months old has started to play in the water bowl and has not learned the word no. I cant spray her as she seems to like the water and No is not being effective. She has not even learned her name yet.
 

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Those work great... when you're home. When you're not home she's going to keep trying to chew on the hamster and going to do jig on the counter.
Oh gosh, no, I keep the hamsters in another room when I am out. The hamster usually have the spare room and the door stays shut, but recently I had to move her out of there so the cats could have the spare room while Tilly was unwell (she was pooing on everything and I needed her in one place to keep an eye on her) so hamsters moved into the living room. Now cats have run of the place again but I haven't closed off the spare room yet as the cats seem to love it in there. Therefore hamster stays in the living room and I shut the door when I'm not here to supervise! I'll try the bleeping smoke thing though, sounds good.
 

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I think a water squirt is just fine. We do it, especially in the summer time with the neighbor cats who like to wander into our open doors (we live in Western Washington, so we can leave our door open all summer-no bugs) and eat our cats' food.

I also do a hissing noise and clap at my cats when they are up to no good.

I like the coin in the soda can idea-takes even less effort on my part to get on their cases. :p

We've been lucky in that the cats stay off the kitchen counters-always have for the most part. We discourage the kitchen table, but it doesn't always work.
 

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No offense to all those clever cats out there, but I think most cats don't understand that the squirt of water is coming from you. I've found that it's an effective deterrent for all except the most water-loving or self-determined cats.
 

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My girls not only knew the water was coming from me, they knew I controlled the laser pointer. They started going after my hand and not the red dot. Cats are smart. :shock:
 

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No offense to all those clever cats out there, but I think most cats don't understand that the squirt of water is coming from you. I've found that it's an effective deterrent for all except the most water-loving or self-determined cats.
LOL tell that to my cats! Water squirting, laser dots, etc. It takes them about 5 seconds to realize it's connected to my hand. :|
 
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