Reason #4: They’ll Lose Trust in You and Likely Become Distant
Cats have no way of understanding the connection between a behavior and a punishment. What cats do understand is that someone (you) are administering some kind of negative experience to them when they’re asking for help.
Imagine you tell your friend that you’re hungry, and instead of feeding you, they punch you in the face. How long would it take before you stopped going near that friend? Not long.
What if the communicated need is to eat a poisonous plant? In that case isn’t a brief squirt of water harmless? If a cat cannot connect action with consequence what is there to do? I can’t allow her to eat a poisonous plant just because she has the desire.
You can remove the plant from their reach or from the house completely. What is more important to you, the cat or the plant?
You gave all these reasons to not punish them, but what to do instead?
I have to disagree with this article based on my own experiences. Cat, just like every other mamals, respond to positive/negative stimuli. Yes, your cat my avoid you and hate you for a week, but they also have a very short memory. They will remembet the negative stimuli, but not the one who punished them.
If it happens often enough they absolutely will remember who punished them! Don’t over do it….try the same patience and calm you’d use with a toddler while showing negative or positive reaction to certain behaviors just to advertise to them that you are not pleased with scratching thecouch,and include rewarding attention to show they are a good kitty and you’re pleased that they love and need you
Based on my personal experience, I have to disagree with this article as well. Cats DO exhibit behavior that is bad, for example if my cat is craving attention but I’m working on a school project and she decides to bite me on the ankle. I didn’t do anything, the cat is misbehaving, in the same way a human child would. Also, I’ve had a lot of success disciplining my cat. She used to meow and yell loudly when she was hungry, but after a few light bops on the nose and firm NO’s, she learned quickly and doesn’t exhibit that behavior any longer. She doesn’t hide from me and she’s definitely not stressed out. I think discipline and punishment, in a non-abusive manner, is a very productive way to raise a cat.
Destroying my furniture will earn my cat a few squirts from the water bottle. She knows better!
I disagree with this article, as well. As a cat owner wiyh 57 yrs of experience, if you don’t discipline your cat, they will take over and be completely unmanagable. The key to discipline is always, always always go back an hout or so later and make 15 minutes of time to spend just loving them up. It’s also in the tone of voice you use between both of those actions, which is definitely something they CAN understand. Your “bad kitty” voice needs to be dramatic, since they don’t speak the language. If you do this and follow it up with a shake of the water bottle followed by a quick squirt of water, in a few weeks you’ll notice you no longer have to squirt them–shaking the bottle and using “the voice” is enough of a deterrent.
This is a loving thing to do. My siamese got out once and I saw her right at the edge of the yard and immediately used “the voice.” She came running, (as I had her under voice command using the procedure I outlined), and as a result, JUST missed being hit by a car. If I hadn’t trained her thru loving discipline, she would have been dead or horribly hurt.
P.S. she never came when my husband called her because he didn’t put in the time and effort like I did, so she just ignored him. He was always amazed that she would come right away as soon as I said her name using “the voice.”
I agree-no punishment!
I have one feral kitty-Isa, and one rescue kitty-Reuben that was abused in his former home. Reuben communicates his discomfort by dropping the kitchen sponge in the living room. I know he’s telling me he didn’t like that he couldn’t sleep in the bedroom with me last night. The kitties were wound up and I needed sleep!
Once when I was away in the evening I came home and Reuben had kicked his kibble all over the kitchen floor. I didn’t yell or punish I just calmly swept it up and it’s never happened again.
I think it’s important to care for them in a gentle way and understand the language they speak.
All beings want to be cared for and loved and heard. Punishment isn’t a deterrent. Love and compassion are.