In a previous article, we talked about 10 things that we should never do to our cat, and, among other things, it was mentioned that we should not punish our cat. That statement seems to have puzzled many of you. I hope that I will provide a satisfactory answer with this article.
Of course, I understand how annoying it’s when your cat exhibits (according to you) an annoying behavior, especially when it makes a mess of things, litters or when it is violent. Although it is almost an instinctive reaction to punish your cat for its “bad” behavior, this will only create more problems. Here are six reasons why it’s worth encouraging your cat to switch to “good” behavior rather than punishing it for the “bad ones.”
1. It’s Not Vindictive, It Just Communicates Its Anguish
When you’re angry, it might be hard to remember that bad behavior is not your cat’s way of exacting revenge on you – and especially when the cat exhibits behaviors like curling in the middle of the bed or scratching your new couch. Even though I understand how you can take such behaviors personally, your cat has no bad intentions at all. Instead, it tries to communicate that something is wrong! Is the sand clean? Has there been a change in the house? Did you bring a new animal? Is it too noisily outside? Could it be that just outside the house, there is a stray fragrant cat?
If you take your cat’s behavior as a means of communication, you’ll discover the root of the problem, and your relationship will surely move to another level, where punishments have no place!
2. It Doesn’t Speak Human
Go ahead, I challenge you to go and talk to your cat, face to face, after it has exhibited behavior that is not exactly desirable. Talk to your cat and explain why it was wrong, stating that if it does something like this again, there will be a punishment! Nicely done! And now, let’s see what your cat’s answer will be!
What? Didn’t your cat say anything? Oh, this is not surprising, because as you may know, the cat does not speak human, and its reaction to punishment can only be a growing tension and escalation of unwanted behaviors.
3. Your Cat Will Be Afraid Of You
If your cat does something “bad” quite often, and because the situation is usually urgent (e.g., it damages your couch), you react by scaring them. Either you yell, hit them, or pour water on them, and it even seems that this reaction solves the problem to a certain extent as the cat is forced to stop the annoying behavior.
On the other hand, this method will make your cat more afraid of you and not feel comfortable near you. Frankly, it’s a curse to be near a cat that does not feel good with you!
What to do instead? Give it a positive motivation. If, for example, it scratches the couch with its nails, offer it a tempting cardboard to scratch. Such treatments have multiple benefits: you do not scare it, it stops its annoying behavior and satisfies its need!
4. It’s Likely Your Cat Has No Idea Why It’s Being Punished
Cats are capable of directly correlating behaviors with results. If you attempt to punish a cat after the fact, and if we consider that (as we have already said), it doesn’t understand human behaviors, the cat has no way of understanding what is happening.
Suppose the cat defecates outside its sandbox. If you realize that slip half an hour later and then try to punish it by yelling, etc., the cat won’t understand why its human is screaming about it! Anything you do to explain to your cat that something is wrong (and I don’t mean some sort of punishment) must happen when the “wrong behavior” is exhibited or immediately after!
5. Its Behavior Will Get Even Worse
As we’ve mentioned, on the one hand, punitive behavior cannot be perceived by the cat, so it doesn’t exactly understand what is going on, and on the other hand, it scares it, makes it nervous, without a sense of confidence in its sense of humor.
Inevitably, this will bring out other unpleasant, stressful, and aggressive behaviors. A frightened cat is very likely to resort to ways dictated by nature to mark an area (the cat is a territorial animal) where (at least it hopes so) it will be quiet from the punishments of its human, choosing to leave its odors there either by scratching (there are glands on its paws) or by serving you a beautiful “shit.”
6. Not Even You Are Happy Punishing Your Cat
To be here, I’m almost certain you love your cat! Well, be honest with me! Are you satisfied with punishing your cat? I think 9 out of 10 will answer no! You adore your cat, and it adores you, and this relationship must blossom in a context of mutual worship. Don’t ruin it! Find creative and compassionate ways to listen to its needs, anxieties and to face its problems by always choosing a positive approach!