Thursday 18 May 2023

4 things you should NEVER do to your cat

This is Jackson Galaxy's list of 4 things that you should never do to your cat but it could equally well have been my list or the list of any one of millions of excellent cat caregivers. Actually, my list would be longer but Jackson was limited by the length of the video. 

It is wonderful for me that at the top of his list is declawing. He's American and millions of Americans declaw their cat. He is alienating these potential supporters by criticising them which is the right thing to do and it is wonderful to see. It proves that Jackson set high standards.

Although he has to say that declawing is very bad because it is bloody well exactly that. He says declawing should be banned in the US. He's right and it is banned in 2 states and around a dozen cities but there's a long way to go. Across the rest of the world around 38 countries specifically ban it. In other countries general welfare laws would effectively ban it. Or no one even thinks about declawing in nearly all other countries.

4 things you should NEVER do to your cat
Declawing is a big NO NO. Screenshot from the video.

His next pet hate is punishing your cat. Right again. That's number 2 on his list of things that you should never do to your cat. Cats do not understand punishment as it is a human concept, activity and process that is solely for humans. It requires understanding social norms and morals. That is not the domain of are precious feline friends.

Punishment alienates your cat if it achieves anything at all. There is a subtle modification that Britain's celebrity cat behaviourist, Dr Bruce Fogle, recommends and he calls it 'divine intervention'. 

Jackson mentions the squirt bottle. If your cat cannot see that the squirt is coming from their owner but just arrives as if by God's will, it will not alienate the cat but simply tell the cat that what they are doing results in an unpleasant experience. This should stop them doing it.

Personally, I'd never do this but there is a difference. There are better ways of dealing with cat behavior that a cat owner does not like: training through positive reinforcement or accepting it (modified human thinking).

Yelling at your cat is a form of punishment and is also a No, No. I can understand when this might seem acceptable or happens because the owner loses self-control but it isn't a good idea.

His fourth point of not giving up is, I believe, a reference to not abandoning your cat to a shelter or in a much worse place. There are always ways to resolve problems many of which are actually relatively straightforward.

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