I have a very unpleasant topic to discuss with you today! And I’m afraid it’s one in which I am not very well versed. In fact, I am going to rely heavily on Sparkle’s notes. I confess, I am pretty bad about disciplining my human. I am a very easy-going kitty and I know I don’t discipline her enough! Sparkle would probably think I am spoiling her because I let her kiss me without getting mad and I eat whatever is put in front of me, even if I’m served something that’s not my favorite food. I even let my human give me baths and I don’t fight her. I can’t help it — I just want everybody to be happy!
But the truth is that humans can easily go out of control if you don’t train them properly, and part of that training involves discipline. You can’t get around it. Occasionally your human will display bad behavior. What constitutes bad behavior is different for every cat. I don’t mind wearing costumes, especially if I get toys and treats. Other cats may consider this a criminal offense. Some kitties hate being manhandled, kissed and hugged (for me, it’s part of my job). Trips to the vet, while often necessary, are grounds for punishment in the eyes of many cats. Being yelled at for scratching the couch when you have nowhere else to scratch — that is human misbehavior, no matter how easy going you are! So I guess we need to discuss discipline techniques. How else is a kitty going to keep her human in line?
Here are some methods to discipline your human, and how well they work — or don’t:
Washing yourself after being kissed/ fondled
When a human touches you inappropriately (i.e., when you “did not want”), your first impulse is to lick all the human smell off so you feel like yourself again. And that is the right thing to do for human discipline because it also shows your disapproval of her behavior. The only thing is that humans often aren’t properly insulted by your grooming. Some really delinquent humans, in fact, seem kind of amused by it! So it only works if you have a really sensitive human whose feelings are easily hurt.
Passive-aggressive punishment (i.e., shredding something when you have been wronged)
Humans are not very bright. They will usually not be able to connect the dots between the bath you were forced into and the fact that you’ve unrolled every roll of toilet paper in the house. Or your leaping on the curtains after you’ve been told you can’t go outside. Oh, some smart humans will understand what is going on, but they merely think it is you who is misbehaving or “having a tantrum,” and they are still too obtuse to get that your actions are meant as punishment for their infractions. So if you feel like chewing the straps off a sandal because your human took you to the vet, do it for your own pleasure and don’t expect it to make your human behave better.
Attacking your human’s hand when she tries to pet your tummy
Effectiveness: Moderately high
Humans are best dealt with in a direct and to-the-point manner. When time lapses between the bad behavior and the punishment, as in the passive-aggressive tactic, they often don’t connect the two. So letting your human know right away that they have infringed on your space will work wonders for getting them to stop. The only problem with humans who rub tummies is that they tend to persist in this misbehavior, even after being disciplined time and time again. It’s like an OCD issue, and if we kitties were doctors and scientists, we would have already created a drug to treat it. As it is, we can only keep attacking the hand that rubs our tummies until it finally stops. The good thing about that is that once your human learns, she will generally warn other humans away from your tummy, no matter how temptingly it is offered.
(For the record, I love having my tummy rubbed.)
The back of disrespect
Effectiveness: Low to moderate
This is a cat’s go-to form of discipline when a human has done something to humiliate her. It’s good in that it clearly illustrates your displeasure. But it’s bad in that it doesn’t do a whole lot to stop your human from repeating her actions. Humans tend to think that the back of disrespect comes with the territory when they live with a kitty. They never consider that maybe they would not be subjected to it if they behaved better.
Ignoring and withholding of affection
Kitties, if you really want your humans to suffer for their transgressions, this should be your go-to form of discipline. The longer you do it, the more effective it is. But you have to be strong and not give in right away, otherwise its impact will be lost. If you just ignore your human for a few hours, she may barely notice and will shrug it off. It won’t change her behavior. But if you manage to ignore her and even refuse to be in the same room as her for a few days or a week, you will really get to her. Your human will be begging you to be nice again. Just make sure you eat all your meals and do not hide — just walk away every time you see your human. If you don’t eat and you hide somewhere that’s not your usual getaway, she may think you are sick and take you to the vet — and that causes a whole new set of problems. Make sure she knows you are ignoring her on purpose, and it should be one of your best disciplinary tools.
So how’d I do? Do you have any other human disciplinary methods that work for you?
You did a fine job, Summer! That withholding of affection is an especially excellent one!
Maxwell, Faraday & Allie says
Faraday: I find the Look of Reproach works pretty well. Sometimes. Especially when she’s late with my dinner.
Baby Tali says
Yous is berry smart for a little girl Miss Summer..Miss Sparkle was an expert at disciplining humans..I is glad she lefted you such good advise..
Mark's Mews says
We are especially good at the passive-aggressive technique! We can calmly be IN THE WAY almost always.
Glogirly and Katie says
Summer, do you offer private tutoring? I think Waffles could learn a thing or two (or twenty) from you. He shows no strength or willpower when it comes to his interactions with Glogirly and Gloman. Good thing I’M around to train THEM.
; ) Katie
Some great tips
Kitties Blue says
We do just the opposite of withholding affection. We pester our parents and drive them as crazy as possible until they give in to our every want just to get rid of us. Ho, ho, ho, Lily Olivia, Mauricio, Misty May, Giulietta, Fiona, Astrid, Lisbeth and Calista Jo
You are a very smart kitty Summer.
I tend to use methods #4 and 5.
You didn’t mention the ultimate form of discipline: the hiss. It must be used very sparingly, and only for the worst transgressions. If you only use the hiss once a year, it really freaks the humans out and they realize they have deeply offended you.
you are so smart summer!!!
I sometimes like to have my belly rubbed too, but most timeâ€¦. not so much! XOXO Lucy
Cathy Keisha says
That was good for a first try. TW used to think it was funny when Faith washed every time she touched her. I go for the direct route and bite her for each infraction. Every time my peeps walk too close to me or hit me with a stray rocket, they know they will pay dearly.
Elliott licks off my mom’s kisses and it does absolutely nothing to stop her from doing it again! Izzy, on the other paw, still gets quite perturbed and runs if Mom gets too close.
Excellently written, Summer, and so helpful that you rated the different methods according to their effectiveness. My best form of discipline is to put the bitty on my Mom – I did this on Friday night when she was petting me wrongly, and it got infected and now she is on antibiotics and everything! She will definitely never forget THAT discipline!
Sometimes Cats Herd You says
Great tips. Ashton uses the last one all the time, and the humans really do get upset about it. It’s very effective.
Great tips but it’s so hard to withhold affection. We don’t know if we can do that. We do know how to look pitiful when there’s foods in our bowls that we don’t like even if we liked it yesterday. We get different foods every time!
Austin Towers says
These are so impawtant for every kitty to learn, Summer! You have learnt from Sparkle very well! I tell you, the last one really upsets the humans big time! They hate being ignored, but beware, doing it for too long can make them even more huggy and cuddly and they start to shower you with kisses so that sometimes a gentle whap is necessary (with claws not extended, of course!!) Am sharing 🙂
Woah. You really have a Sparkle look on your face today! I love the back of disrespect. I can’t wait to use it! – Crepes.
Lone Star Cats says
I tend to do positive training – ya know, rubs and purrs for foodz and dat kinda thing.
I see Sparkle kept very good notes, or you are one very wise kitty. I have tried some of those tactics and you are so right on all of them. Ignoring the human really drives them crazy. i find it the most effective punishment of all and I use it whenever it is necessary.
I am not very good at punishing my mum, I can’t help purring. Even when I get my daily pill which I don’t like, I walk away with my tail in the air.
That was funny and none of it works on me!
The Swiss Cats says
Those are great tips, Summer ! We should try the passive-agressive punishment ! Purrs
Famous SpokesGoat Pricilla says
You are a very wise kitty for one so young Summer. Have you been practicing all of these on your human?
Colehaus Cats says
We think our baby sister Viola is too easy-going too. We mean, she doesn’t use any of these tips and lets mom kiss her all over, all the time! She never readjusts her furs, never turns her back, likes belly rubs, and wouldn’t know withholding affection if it came up and bonked her on the nose! She might be hopeless, but she sure seems happy! She’s ruining it for the rest of us, isn’t she?
Happy Cat Family says
Very good tips, Summer – we will add some of those to our arsenal!
Diane Ricciardi Stewart says
MOL MOL MOL!!!!!!!! My “kids” are very good at these!!! â™¥â™¥â™¥
emma and buster says
Oh my those are excellent tips. We apply a couple of them in our everyday living already. Oh Summer you are just a sweetheart aren’t you?
What does Binga think of these tips? We are big big Binga fans btw. Our mom loves her to pieces.
I’m with you Summer. I don’t know how to punish my human either!
Bunny Disapproval works quite well too,xx Speedy
Thank you for sharing these with us, Summer. This is Rani speaking, saying that when our lazy-butt servant doesn’t get up quickly enough, I employ the face-walking technique, which is, simply put, sauntering leisurely acorss, or as close to, her face, several times, until that dim bulb shineth forth. And when said servant is slow with the nightly treats, I vent my rage by climbing all the way up to the top of my 7′ cat pipe and launching myself from it onto the bed. Gets her attention every time.
Most excellent tips, Summer! And I am sure you’ll learn to use them as you get older and bolder. And if you want a really severe technique, then a mighty mancat like me turns tail, sticks his bottom out and peemails – hehehehehe. That makes me very unpopular but feels great.
Now, what discipline would you suggest for Spitty’s Human today ?
Random Felines says
very good suggestions – we particularly like the one that is “direct and to the point” bwahahahaha
Kitty Cat Chronicles says
Thanks for this great advice, Summer. We will have to put it to use!!
Ellen Pilch says
I must have my kitties read this. Your methods of punishment are very fair and preferable to a pee or poop on the bed.
Brian Frum says
I think maybe we need more practice with some of those pretty Summer!
Those are such good ideas Summer. We have used many of them and some do work. There are so many of us here, we don’t have to put up with much and we have the Peep trained to feed us all the time and to let us in and out of the house.
Caren Gittleman says
You are learning fast Summer! My fave tip (and one I use frequently) is Passive-aggressive punishment ….this is my all time fave. I put this into effect when my Mom doesn’t feed me ANYTIME i feel I should be fed. I just go and start chewing on EVERYTHING that I am not permitted to chew, plastic bags, paper, tape….my fave right now is opening my Mom’s check book and chewing on that. It makes her CRAZY and the punishment is well-deserved! Love, Cody
You DO look severe Summer! However, I bet a treat and some lovins would restore your happy expression in a heartbeat! All cats are different, it’s true, so I guess they all have different methods of disciplining their hoomans.
*waves paw to Binga* Hi pretty friend!
Melissa & Truffles says
Those are some great tips, Summer. But never apologize for being the sweet, easy-going kitty that you are!
the boyz have done a pretty good job using all those techniques to train me.
Laila and Minchie says
Great hints, Summer, and we use quite a few of those successfully.
madi and mom says
Sparkle left you some fine hints! I especially like the licking after being touched. It is my favorite ‘in your face’ punishment. Unfortunately I need to learn to time my licking. I’m trying to get cooties off my head, then all of a sudden I get cared away start washing my head then it feels so good I go to my ears and all of a sudden I find that mom’s punishment has turned into a most relaxing event.
Hugs madi your bfff
Katie Bella says
Summer, you (and Sparkle) really know how to handle humans. The avoidance which should only be used sparingly as it is so hard punishment, is the most effective.
Marty the Manx says
Great tips Summer. Ralphie uses 1,2, and 3. I on the other hand us the run away when you want to touch me, that one works too! Have a great day!
The Island Cats says
We’ve been doing things a little wrong. We need to hold off on the affection more. But it’s so hard when you really want to be petted or headbutt the human. Thanks for this advice, Summer.
Shari and Rose the kitten says
I’s did not know alls that! I ams going to have to try some of those!
Buts…. all the kitties in this house loves their tummies, and arm pits itched and rubbed.
She starts when we are very youngs and very gentle with us.
Rose the kitten
Toby & Leia says
All very good points. Withholding affection is definitely the go to way, we agree!
The Kitties of Purring Pines says
Great tips, Summer!
HaHnnah and Lucy says
Great tips Sparkle – we use the back of disrespect quite a lot when our dishes are filled with the wrong food.
Luv Hannah and Lucy xx xx
Georgia and Julie says
You did very well Summer.
Sometimes mom does not want to get up and feed us at our regular time.Very early during the week.
This happens on weekends. We start walking over and around her.
It is working as we have to do that less and less 😉
Purrs Georgia and Julie,
Treasure and JJ
The Florida Furkids says
Excellent tips! We use 1 and 3 a lot!!!
The Florida Furkids