Cats are emotional animals that are easily frightened by physical punishment.

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Disciplining a cat like you discipline a dog will lead to bigger behavior problems. Dogs and cats have completely different social structures. A common mistake is to think that your cat will react to discipline like a dog will. Dogs form hierarchies. There is a “top dog” (usually the owner, but not always ;) and they learn to obey the “top dog”. But cats form social groups based on territory and respect of that territory.

So if you want to train your dog, you establish that you are the “top dog” in physical ways. But if you want to train your cat, you have to establish your territory. It’s a big mistake to hit your cat, or rub his nose in his feces. You’ll only make your cat fear you, which leads to more discipline problems because then they do things out of fear.

Another problem is that cats like to think that everything they do is their idea. So when you want them to change behaviors, it only works if you make it rewarding for the cat to behave. But the most interesting thing about cat behavior is that they misbehave most often when they are hungry or bored.

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Ok enough theory, here are some usable tricks to use:

• First of all, make sure your cat is not hungry or bored.

• Say no and push your cat away. They get the idea that this is your territory pretty fast because that’s what cats do to each other to establish territory.

• Give your cat an alternative to the bad behavior

• Kitty-proof your house – you can’t train a cat to not jump on the counter top when you leave their food open there!

• Face-push – using the palm of your hand gently push their faces away from you or the thing you want them to stop doing.

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I’m not a fan of spraying your cats with water, that’s a form of physical punishment and I found that it doesn’t work as effectively as establishing your territory.

Remember that you have to be there pretty fast to redirect their attention – if you wait too long or if you are out when they misbehave, you can’t do anything to discipline them. You have to catch them being bad and redirect their attention right away so that they understand the association – this is your territory, not there’s.

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Look for future posts about specific discipline issues like, scratching furniture, jumping on the countertops and not using the litter box.

Training your cat, cat discipline, cat behavior, territorial behavior, discipline problems


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