What kitties do not learn, cat learns to show: Do not make their cat happy any more – this sentence is as wrong as the claim that cats are not to be educated. The truth, as so often, is in the middle.
A cat has innate idiosyncrasies and that’s why there are a lot of things that she can not learn because they do not correspond to her nature. On the other hand, romping through the apartment at three o’clock is completely normal for a nocturnal animal like the cat. Even at the furniture a cat does not scratch, because she wants to annoy her human, but because she has to care for her claws. Punishing them only leads to stress in the relationship and new problems. Let’s say you come home and discover deep scratch marks on a corner cupboard. Spontaneously, you might want to scold her cat for it. Forget it! The only message with the cat is that sometimes you come home quite aggressively – so unpredictable – and you should be more careful when dealing with you.
Penalty may only be imposed if a cat is caught red-handed
- A loud NO, clapping hands, a shot from a water spray gun, or a thrown little pillow are proven parenting aids. It is best to use them so that the cat does not notice that the punishment emanates from you, otherwise it can become a boomerang.
- Cats have no guilt. A cat, e.g. Scratching on furniture does not know that she is doing “something bad”. She can not follow this human train of thought. So, not only does she associate a punishment with the scratching, but also with the person from whom the punishment originated. She will continue to scratch but be afraid of being caught by you. Instead of solving the problem, reinforce it.
- Rewarding brings more than punishment. With fear one does not reach anything with any cat. But for praise and rewards they are extraordinarily susceptible no matter how old they are. To stick with the scratch example: Make an alternative, say a cat tree, and reward your cat with a special “candy” each time she uses it. Positive reinforcement is what dog training is all about, and it also works for cats.
- Reward alone is not enough. The old temptation must also disappear. The scratched furniture e.g. must be completely unattractive (plastic foil superior or -kleben). And if behavioral problems should not even arise, only cat-fair thinking and prevent helps: Hang long curtains, as long as kittens are in the house, books and knickles on the shelf completely against the wall, so that cat can not squeeze behind them and throw them down, vases with Complain on glass marbles so they do not tip over, cover the earth of green plants with care, and put a pot of cat grass to Kitty, and, and, and … (Jutta Aurahs)