HomeBehavior & trainingHow Do You Discipline A Cat With Bad Behavior?

How Do You Discipline A Cat With Bad Behavior?

by Adopt a Pet, | January 8, 2024

How Do You Discipline A Cat With Bad Behavior?

Dima Berlin / iStock

You should not discipline a cat with bad behavior because cats do not respond well to discipline. Instead, you should learn techniques to retrain your cat or simply provide barriers to stop the unwanted conduct. The goal should be to find ways to curb the bad behavior, but not through punishment.

Your Cat Doesn’t Think Like You  

That might sound obvious, but some cat owners fail to consider that when evaluating their pet’s behavior. The cat who scratches the furniture isn’t being bad. He’s stretching his body and helping to remove the outer sheath from his nails. When he plays loudly all night, he isn’t being bad. Cats were nocturnal before being domesticated.

Understanding behavior from the cat’s point of view will help you find an effective way to correct it. For example:

  • Scratching: Provide a scratching post in every area of the home where your cat spends time. Sprinkle some catnip on each post to pique your cat’s interest, and spend time encouraging your cat to use the posts.

  • Urinating Outside the Litter Box: First, have a vet verify it’s not a medical condition causing the behavior. If not, try adding an extra litter box or two (a good rule of thumb is one box per cat plus one additional box) and always make sure all litter boxes are clean.

  • Nighttime Partying: This is a tough one, but you can try engaging in a play session just before you go to bed to try and tire the cat out a bit. Also, feed the biggest meal at night as many cats want to nap after eating (as do most humans!)

  • Aggression: This is another case where you’ll want to rule out a medical condition—especially if a once docile cat is suddenly showing signs of aggression. If no medical condition exists, contact an animal behaviorist for guidance.

Yelling at, hitting, or otherwise punishing your cat will not solve any behavior problems and can even make them worse. Realize that your cat isn’t being bad—he’s just being a cat. Keeping that in mind will make it easier to find the solutions you need.

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