I Feel Awful When I Discipline My Cat
January 7, 2009 12:56pm CST
I came home from a book sale one day last week tired, wet from the rain and thirsty. So I got a glass of ice water and went upstairs to change and take a little nap before it was time to start dinner. I was awakened with a cold, wet jolt. My cat had knocked the remains of the ice water on the bedside table onto my back. I yelled at him (something I almost never do) and started to clean up. Humphrey ran down the stairs into the kitchen. I felt so bad, I ran after him and stroked him and told him how sorry I was for screaming at him. When I finished drying his little mess with a hairdryer, I climbed back into bed and he jumped up onto his corner of the dry bed as though nothing had happened. I can't ever discipline this cat without feeling rotten. Maybe I'm just a softie but it really hurts me to yell at him and I would never dare slap him no matter what he did. Does anybody else feel this way about a pet or am I just nuts?
• United States
7 Jan 09
You're not the only person, cause I get the same way when I discipline my cat. She gets all frightened and she will just run away from you until you calm down and then come out purring and wanting to cuddle. I think in a way they kind of understand, and eventually the forget about the whole situation. Cause I know when I yell at my cat too she won't remember it after like an hour or maybe 30 mins ago.
7 Jan 09
Hello :) I understand you perfectly but I'm afraid we're doing something wrong -yelling because you're angry is not disciplining your cat, it's just letting your anger out. That's not bad by itself (it's better than swallowing your anger) but your cat will never understand your reaction. At all. And maybe that's why you felt guilty. When trying to discipline a cat you have to be clear. They won't understand why it's ok to play with a ball and not with a glass of water. But they will understand that the bed or the sofa or the night table is forbidden, no matter what. So if you start being clear about the limits, everyhing will be easier -for the two of you. BTW, cats are so nervous that yelling or hitting won't ever work. It's better to scare them a bit, for example, spraying them with water or using a small bag full of sand: If he climbs to a forbidden place, you threw the sand bag NEAR of the cat -the sound of it will be enough to make him understand that's a no-no. And doing so won't make you feel bad, because you won't feel unfair to the cat :)
• United States
7 Jan 09
I think my feelings about discipline revolve greatly upon how I've executed it. If I yell and scare, I am usually remiss afterwards, but if I take the animal and firmly but calmly teach them what I want them to learn I am fine. I also sometimes react as you did when I am surprised and caught off guard. If I have time to think before I react I usually am more in control and the animals respond oh so much better. Pets are so forgiving, I know that if I react out of control they'll forgive me and forget as soon as it is over. I am working on going with the flow so hopefully this will improve my reaction to their behavior as well.