Lisa Shea

Best mode of punishment?

Posted By: Niki

Best mode of punishment? - 03/28/09 11:01 AM

I wonder what other's opinions on punishment for misbehavied animals. I of course only mean animals such as cats and dogs that can understand punishment and conditioning.

My cat has been acting up something wicked and it drew the last straw with me. At first I passed it off as her being a playful kitten( my mistake! ) but she's getting older now and it's not so "cute."

I was trying to recall modes of punishment we used on our three cats when I was younger. Sticking them in "time out" in the cat carrier seemed to work. Since little Chai was snarling and throwing a fit while I was trying to stick her in the box, I figured this might be the mode for her as well.

Anyone else have stories? Suggestions?
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: Best mode of punishment? - 03/28/09 12:25 PM

most animal behaviorists and trainers no longer believe punishment to be an affective form of animal training.

Positive reinforcment is what is is best and it works very well with much quicker and happier results.

sticking her in a dark crate.carrier that she doesnt like is not going to make her behave, it will only make her angry and upset and thus more likely to disobey or act out.

and honestly, NO animal truly understands punishment, they dont understand why they are being punished, even though it may appear they do, it is just the punishment becoming a conditioned learned behavior not that its actually working.

what is she doing?
Posted By: BLR

Re: Best mode of punishment? - 03/28/09 12:33 PM

I agree with Helwa, especially with cats. And yes what is she doing and if you thought it was "cute" then you must bear at least a part of the responsibility.

Did you have her before you got married?

PS your avatar is not showing.
Posted By: Niki

Re: Best mode of punishment? - 03/28/09 04:03 PM

I had a stubborn moment and decided to change my post.
Posted By: Darkness

Re: Best mode of punishment? - 03/28/09 04:14 PM

With my cat, I would mist the air with water over where she stood and as it sprinkled on her, she would flee. I used this method when she began scratching the couch.

She learned that misbehaving meant a wet coat and she didn't enjoy that. Long story short, she stopped doing it. Good luck.
Posted By: Niki

Re: Best mode of punishment? - 03/28/09 04:23 PM

Darkness, we're starting the same thing. From what I researched and experienced, spray bottle seems to be the best method.

Sorry if 'punishment' sounds too harsh in the context of animals. To me, punishing and conditioning goes hand in hand. Although I understand it is not the same in psychological terminology, but my hubbie's the psyche, not me! To me, and in my head, negative conditioning is the same as punishment. I don't "punish" children or animals just for the sake of punishing. So none to fear.

In this one case, I don't remember what particularly happened in what order, but Chai did one of her flipping out moments when she scratched me good and snarled/hissed. When I told her "no!" firmly she just hit me again so Steve rushed over to take her back up stairs. She didn't like that and got him pretty good too so we stuck her in the crate. Which magically she escaped from when I went to let her out. No idea how in the blazes she did so, but she did.

The one thing that's really bothering me and I have to get her to stop is hitting me in the face. My family cats, before I got married, were conditioned to know to NEVER strike the face. Ever ever ever. It's a healthy fear in my book. But Chai has no fear of us at all. It's not good anymore.... At night I lay on the side of the bed that's to the floor (our bed is against a wall, Steve takes that side) and she loves to jump up during the night and smack me in the face. No claws. Sometimes it's playful, sometimes it's downright not nice. Last night I had a cold sore on my lip and she hit it square and good, I wasn't happy. So I need a way to "condition" her not to do that...
Posted By: Darkness

Re: Best mode of punishment? - 03/28/09 04:32 PM

My cat was the same in the beginning. She's much better now. Cats are very smart and can learn just as quickly. So I think if you follow the spray bottle method, I'm sure you'll see some improvement with her behavior.
Posted By: BLR

Re: Best mode of punishment? - 03/28/09 05:39 PM

I have to say that my inclination would be to knock her accros the room. But - My siamese male is pretty persestent and not to be denied at times. Something that I found works when I want him to quit doing something (even if it is being to affectionate) is to hold him very securely and not let me down for a minute or two. He really doesn't like that.

It also sounds like this would be a good application for a spray bottle. The hard thing is that you will have to be consistent. Even when you are in the mood to play her game you still have to spray her.

BTW - I do think they understand punishment if it is administered at the time of the infraction. I can site example after example of punishment (of sorts) is the best solution.

Good luck - cats can be pretty stubborn but they will get it they are also really smart.
Posted By: Niki

Re: Best mode of punishment? - 03/28/09 09:34 PM

Yeah, she's a little smart aleck. But I've been around cats all my life, this is just my first real married baby. We even bread cats for a while and trained them for future owners..

But this crazy beast is a feral cat. We found her as a few week old kitten in the boiler room of my old apartment complex. She sounds and acts feral!

I try to refrain from the smacking across the room thing, especially when she wakes me up with her smaking in the face. Sometimes, I must admit, I give her a god whack!

Holding close doesn't work with her...I try it, then she turns around and "realizes" my face is near, and freaks out and starts attacking it. One time she freaked out she got her claw stuck in the inside of my nose. Needless to say that was the scariest moment of my life trying to unhook her claw and stabilize her so she doesn't naturally try to rip it out herself.
Posted By: BLR

Re: Best mode of punishment? - 03/28/09 09:44 PM

Oh wow - I see your problem - my siamese was ferrel - I captured him when he was about 6 weeks old. It is amazing how much different ferrel cats are than those that are born to domestic cats. I guess that is why the survive ferrel rather than adopting someone.

Does she claw you often - I keep my cats claws trimmed. I don't believe in declawing but when they are sharp as razors I do have to clip them once in a while.

Good luck with her - I assume that she has been spayed - if she hasn't that might help. Hopefully the water bottle will work.

I ended up (long story) with a ferrel, full grown, blind, tom cat. The water bottle worked great on him for claw sharpening on the furniture.
Posted By: animalfriend

Re: Best mode of punishment? - 03/28/09 09:54 PM

I also use the water bottle. That's the only form of "punishment" that we use. And my cats know that if they get sprayed they have been bad. Granted, I usually only resort to it when my "angry" tone of voice doesn't work. Most of the time now all I have to do is shake the water bottle and they will stop doing what they are doing.
Posted By: Darkness

Re: Best mode of punishment? - 03/28/09 09:58 PM

Same here animalfriend. Now when my cat sees the water bottle coming out, she stops immediately.
Posted By: Niki

Re: Best mode of punishment? - 03/29/09 04:40 PM

Chai has not been spayed yet, still too young. She only just got into heat. We will probably soon. I don't want to spay her in NYC though, I have a family Vet upstate. Plus she has a hernia they wanted to remove during the spaying, kill two birds with one stone kinda thing.

We keep her claws clipped as often as we can, but she likes to use her evil kitten teeth more than claws anyway. She bites like a viper.. she's so fast. Usually I have no time to even grab the water bottle cause she's gone!

We'll see though, I have the water bottle now. Clipping her claws last night ended up in a destroyed hand (seriously... if you say the scratches I have...!) and both me and Steve's clothes COVERED in cat fur. I swear cats can shed on command!

We'll see how it goes. I'm also trying positve/negative conditioning modes. "Good girl" when I pet her with no fus "bad girl!" when she bites or goes to.
Posted By: BLR

Re: Best mode of punishment? - 03/29/09 04:44 PM

That biting seems to be a ferel cat thing. The only cat bits that I have ever gotten have been from ferel cats.

This is the season for wearing you cat to work week. I brush my cats with one of the fine tooth wire brushes. They love it and you would not (well yes you would) believe the fur that comes off.
Posted By: BLR

Re: Best mode of punishment? - 03/29/09 04:45 PM

PS being in season probably adds to her recent worse behavior.
Posted By: Dixie&Miss' Mama

Re: Best mode of punishment? - 03/29/09 05:01 PM

Dixie my parakeet, always bites my mom and me. I simply put him in a time-out cage and ignore him. The worst punishment is to ignore the parakeets. And he still hasn't learn his lesson.
Posted By: BLR

Re: Best mode of punishment? - 03/29/09 05:42 PM

Welcome to the forum - Just so you don't think we are punishing our keets with a water bottle - this is a cat that is misbehaving.

Posted By: kksuns

Re: Best mode of punishment? - 03/29/09 06:47 PM

I agree with BLR -if she is in heat she might be crankier than normal. I have heard of spraying water at them for misbehaving too-problem being some cats don't mind it all LOL I know my sister's cat could care less if she gets sprayed. I've also heard to use something that you can shake that will make alot of noise-like a can with marbles or something in it.
Good luck breaking her of bad habits. Cats sure do have a mind of their own and are usually very very stubborn!
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: Best mode of punishment? - 03/29/09 07:28 PM

this honestly sounds like typical kitten behavior.

kittens learn to play from litter mates and from mom, kittens that dont have that dont learn it.

kittens and puppies can be fixed at 8 weeks of age and the earlier the better.

if you want your animals to 'fear' you then i honestly have no advice to give you...

kittens require ALOT of play, too little and they tend to act out, in attempt to entertain themselves.

water bottles work, but if she is indeed in heat then most likely nothing will work. getting her fixed is a serious issue, it prevents more kittens being born, specially to a cat way too young to reproduce, and it will halt her hormones and calm her way down. this is why its best as early as possible so those hormones never kick in and behaviors arent learned.

Posted By: BLR

Re: Best mode of punishment? - 03/29/09 07:34 PM

my vet will not spay or nuter at 6 week.
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: Best mode of punishment? - 03/29/09 08:14 PM

i said 8 weeks.
Posted By: ___JA

Re: Best mode of punishment? - 03/29/09 09:03 PM

I don't like to use the word punishment. We all should know that punishing a pet doesn't get you anywhere. The best way to get your pet to know what is OK and what is not is with discipline. Of course, I'm no expert, so I have no idea about what experts think works best. But whenever my cats would misbehave(the cat I have now is very laid back and never does anything wrong lol... well except when he washes his hands in the toilet after taking a doo doo lol BIG MESS!) I would spray them with a water bottle. I suppose that is punishment in a way, but I find that too harsh a word, and I know in the dog world there is a big difference between it and discipline. Not sure about cats... But, yeah, the water bottle seems to do the trick best from what I've tried. My cats would learn after 1-10 sprays that it wasn't ok and stopped, except to do it every once in a while. :P
Some people suggest blowing in their face, but I find that simply mean and asking for a swat in the face.
Posted By: Niki

Re: Best mode of punishment? - 03/30/09 04:48 PM

I agree with you Helwa with the kitten thing. Which is why I don't punish her much at all unless she bites *too* hard. Then I just respond with a sharp NO. Or a bop on the nose. In that case, I'm not doing anything different then a fellow cat would.

When we raised kittens, it was amazingly different because they had others kittens to play with. They learned from their parents to claw scratch boards only, to use the litter box, to not bite people, etc etc. This one just has her human mommy and daddy so we're her play mate it seems.

One thing the water bottle did teach her was to stop climbing the curtains. We have this set of curtains over a window in the living room that leads to a plant in the upper window near the ceiling. She loved to climb it and chew on the plant. We only had to actually spray her twice before all we needed to do was hold up the water bottle and she'd stop.

That, to me, is healthy fear.

She doesn't smack me in the face that much, but that's cause we just got a new higher bed, she can't jump it as easy as our last one!
Posted By: Niki

Re: Best mode of punishment? - 06/13/09 07:23 PM

Just wanted to update. My little Chai monster has been acting so much better with practice and some positive reinforcement! Although while I was typing this, ironically she jumped up and bit my arm. Haha!

We've been able to pet her more often, she's even demanded love quite often.

She still bites at times, but it's getting better. The hissing snarling has gone down. I can bring her upstairs to the bedroom (where her food, water, and litter is) without having to pick her up. The key is just to not let her downstairs when we plan on going out that day or she won't be downstairs that long. She'll get upset and not want to go up.

She has been upset when we leave the house. At times when we come upstairs to let her know we're home, she'll sniff us as if she can smell that we've been outside, give a few nervous meows, and then hiss if we try to pet her. ESPECIALLY if we stopped to pet and feed the stray cats outside.

We still have not fixed her... I stopped by the PetSmart cause I noticed they had a full vet service and they wanted an insane $365 for spaying her!! That's way too much for us. My mom fixed her cats for about $50. But as her vet did tell me, the prices in NYC are insane for pet treatment..

It was suggested to me that I look for free ASPCA spots, but apparently in NYC they only have the mobile clinic which is for many reasons not an option.
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: Best mode of punishment? - 06/13/09 08:06 PM

most vets are cheaper, petsmart, the banfield is a national chain and very very costly.

contact aspca or other shelters or cat rescues, they do have very cheap spay/nueter services around smile
Posted By: Niki

Re: Best mode of punishment? - 06/14/09 03:50 AM

In NYC? I checked the website and all they have here like I said is the mobile van thing they have move around every so often. It's not going to be very practical for me to tote the cat out to where-ever their van happens to be.

We're probably going to just have to wait until either A. I get a car, or most probably even when I do get a car, B. Wait until we move upstate and get her spayed at our family vet.
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: Best mode of punishment? - 06/14/09 09:20 AM

no i meant ask them about other organizations, i know there are alot there in the city ...low cost vets and specific programs for spay and nueter... ill ask around and see if i can find one.

its nyc lol there has to be one
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: Best mode of punishment? - 06/14/09 09:25 AM
Posted By: skipperdog

Re: Best mode of punishment? - 06/14/09 02:12 PM

When I had a cat, as a kitten, she bit me, scratched me with her front claws and gouged me with her hind legs in the name of play. I wore jeans the summer I had her because my legs were looking like a cutting board for a while there. This was a cat who would run up the inside of my nightgown and hang on, bite my stomach,and run away. To her, this was playing, the little stinker! Her name was Neena and we nicknamed her "The Neenerator" because she absolutely would not stop.

The way I got her to stop was when she would run up and attack me, I would stand still, say "HUT" in a cross tone, and then ignore her. I also would sometimes go in my bedroom and shut the door after I said "hut". These methods worked, because she wanted play. As she got older, around 5 months, a soft "hut" was enough to remind her to be gentle.

I loved Nina. She was a great companion. When I was visiting family or friends, she would walk into her carrier and lay down when I said, "Let's go." She even played fetch (when she felt like it). I used to buy her a slice of sashimi when I bought sushi for dinner, and we'd eat together.

I envy all of you who can have cats. I have developed an allergy to them, and they give my husband and I asthma, so we can't have any.
Posted By: Niki

Re: Best mode of punishment? - 06/14/09 03:12 PM

Thanks Aminah.

But no, I looked, and there's maybe 1 in Brookyln and doubtfully one in Manhattan. We live in Queens. The last site says there's an ASPCA hospital, but I can't be sure about that because the ASPCA website says there's only the Mobile van, and with that it says you can only get the special low cost only with proof that you're on public assistance, which we're not. Without proof, $75. The ASPCA gives two clinic addresses, both in the heart of Manhattan. And if you've ever lived her, you'll know how insane it is to drive from Manhattan from Queens!

She'll just have to wait another year until something comes up. It would actually be cheaper for us to take a bus up to Albany just to get her spayed at our clinic at this rate.
Posted By: IronFront

Re: Best mode of punishment? - 06/30/09 03:09 AM

We put our animals in their crate when they do something bad. They understand. Now if they poop on the floor they will go, tail tucked under, to their crate by themselves. However, an animal will probably only remember why it is being punished for around 30 seconds. Therefore it should only be punished for no longer than 1 minute.
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: Best mode of punishment? - 06/30/09 03:15 AM

punishment is not an affective method.

i live by science and science has proven positive reinforcment and behavior analysis to be proper and affective methods.

anything else is useless.
Posted By: joandboys

Re: Best mode of punishment? - 06/30/09 03:45 AM

I realize your a experienced cat owner and probably don't need any advice but I wonder if you had ever thought about the fact that if you are viewed as her only "parent" or mommy cat when you tap her on the nose you are telling her it is a way of communicating. If you point your finger when you scold you are doing the same thing. LOL we all do that one.

Perhaps meowing at her in a special way when you feed her and when she wants to get your attention when you are sleeping, try a special "Alert" meow before she raises her paw and give her a treat and get up and see what she wants. The first time she uses the "Alert" to get you up, make the biggest fuss and give her "tuna" or something really special.

You don't want to train her that getting you up will get her "tuna" LOL but you want to reinforce her using her voice to "tell" you what her wishes are.

Posted By: Niki

Re: Best mode of punishment? - 06/30/09 05:11 PM

Although positive enforcement works best, negative also works. If you shock a mouse enough times when it does something, it eventually gets the message and stops doing said thing. They're both relatively effective seeing as both are conditioning.

Joandboys, I do agree with reinforcing her speaking. She's been doing this more often and I've been understanding her language and idioms more. Although I'm not one to meow at my cat, we do have messages we give to get certain reactions. She tells me now, quite verbally, when she does not want to be petted. When she wants food, she just runs around like a crazy animal until we get up and feed her. And when she wants to go to potty when we're downstairs, she does the cutest thing. She actually come up to where we're sitting, puts her paws around out arm, and tugs. It's so cute. When I get up from the chair, she runs to the upstairs door and I let her into our room.

She's doing a lot better really, now that we understand her a little more. Or rather, there's a mutual understanding. She doesn't bite our toes at night, and we don't pet her when she's being fussy.
Posted By: Darkness

Re: Best mode of punishment? - 06/30/09 08:20 PM

I do find that I am guilty of parenting my animals as I do my kids. It has worked with both positive and negative reinforcement and as time went by, only positive. I'm glad to know she's getting better though smile
Posted By: Niki

Re: Best mode of punishment? - 07/03/09 05:51 PM

Ugh! I don't know what has gotten into her but for the past two days she's being very naughty. We have this window downstairs that's above the couch, flush with the ceiling (a little basement window). There's a plant on there that she keeps trying to get. Gr! Yesterday every time I yelled at her she wouldn't listen. When I sprayed her with a water bottle she actually hissed at me!!! I couldn't believe it! She didn't run, just stood her ground, hissed, then went for the plant again.

Gr... I'm hoping with enough enforcement she'll forget about the plant again. But she's being very defiant! I had to spray her 7 times that day before she finally got the message and associated with climbing the drapes with the spraying with water...

She's also gone back to her hissing and snarling when I pick her up. I can't carry her like a normal cat. I either have to carry her like a baby on her back, or just carry her with both hands around her waist. Otherwise she goes for my face.
Posted By: Puds

Re: Best mode of punishment? - 07/03/09 06:15 PM

Do you think she has single cat syndrome?

Posted By: Niki

Re: Best mode of punishment? - 07/03/09 06:41 PM

You know, I do believe in that. I absolutely think she treats us like she would a cat, cause I'm the only mommy she knows. I would get another cat in a heartbeat if I could. But we live in a bedroom in our in-laws house with a bunch of people. Complicated situation.

I would soooo take one of my cats that my parents are taking care of, but 1. She loves the great open door country atmosphere of where she lives now and I would hate to stiffle her, 2. She loves Thomas (one of the other cats), and 3. The above reason.

=( *sigh* I hope we can move out soon if that is the case. I hate to have her be so lonely and not be able to play the way she wants to because we're humans and it just doesn't work that way... I just got a job here though. We were going to move out asap this summer with my parents and get situated there (it's out of NYC, easier to get an apartment. $650 for a 3 bedroom!!!) but when I got the job offer, I decided to stay until I can transfer and hopefully finish up college..

Enough of my rambling.

Thanks for that thought. I'm surprised I didn't think of that sooner. It makes a whole lot of sense!
Posted By: Niki

Re: Best mode of punishment? - 07/10/09 09:26 PM

At this point, I'm not sure if another cat will help her. Chai has been hissing like a mad woman. =/ At times I can't even come within 2 feet of her without her hissing at me.

I tell her "no!" she hisses at me. I spray her with water, she ignores me and continues doing what she's doing. If I go to grab her, she hisses at me.

It's like this is her house, and she thinks she can do whatever the heck she wants, and to hell with the rest of us. =/

I don't know what to do. She's like a ungrateful child whom you feed everyday, give shelter, love, and then basically says F U and leaves the house. Except she ain't leaving, and still wants food and shelter. I can't punish her, because she won't be submissive. I can't even condition her with anything negative or positive, she won't take treats and doesn't care about being sprayed!!

I keep thinking if we got our own place to live, things would be different. I could get another cat, and she could run around wherever she pleases inside the house. But I'm not so sure with the way she is now..
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