Sunday 5 April 2009

Should I Reprimand my Cat?

Should I reprimand my cat for being naughty? I have seen lots of sites where the author has said that if the cat, for example, scratches some furniture or does something "wrong" then the cat should be "scuffed" or cuffed or a jet of water directed at him or her.

Well, I might be out on a limb again (I usually am!) but we need to ask ourselves if what we consider is bad behavior, is bad behavior for us or the cat. The answer will invariably be that it is bad for us and normal for the cat. Under these circumstances how is the cat going to relate a cuffing or some sort of punishment to bad behavior when the behavior is not bad? For the cat it is normal. Why punish for normal behavior? Everything a cat does is instinctively normal. The behavior might (rarely) be bad or unnatural for the cat and if it is, it will most likely be in reaction to circumstances around the cat. It may be something that we are doing that we are not aware of or are not aware that it affects our cat.

This, personally, I don't get. The cat doesn't get it either. So why do it!

So, I say, firmly and without reservation that we should never reprimand our cat. If we don't like her behavior we need to find a way around the problem that allows our cat to maintain normal behavior without upsetting us. In other words the best course of action is for us to adjust and manage the situation as a cat behaves instinctively and we can modify our behavior more easily.

Really, the bottom line is that we should be prepared to accept a cat's foibles and behavior before we adopt. Once again it is down to us to manage the situation. The cat is in our hands. We are the decision makers.

Should I reprimand my cat? --- No. Quite often the opposite may produce the desired result. What I mean is a more calm and restful environment may de-stress our cat to the point where her behavior improves (by our standards and desires). Reprimanding increases stress and may produce real behavior problems.

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