Cat lovers know that cats are very different animals from dogs. While my dogs may attempt to outsmart me on many occasions, they usually shape up pretty quickly with a loud “No, bad dog!” But if I say “no” to my cat, I’m only minimally acknowledged, if that. Instead, the cat goes right on doing whatever it was doing.
So how do you get a cat to even listen, and more importantly, is there any way to get them to actually obey? Yes, cats can not only acknowledge the message, but change their behavior. Here are a couple of methods that work for me. No two cats are exactly the same, but just maybe these tricks will also work for you.
It is really quite simple: Tell the cat “no” (expecting to be ignored, because you most likely will be). When the cat fails to acknowledge what you have just said, though he or she probably understands you perfectly well, immediately spray him or her with water. The cat will bolt from whatever it is doing, and eventually will obey better, especially if it sees you go for the water bottle. This method works for all three of my cats.
I always keep a spray bottle around when I am using my laptop. Last week I failed to do so, and now I’m using my desktop because Fluffy, the white cat, walked across my laptop with claws out and pulled three keys out. Not only do I have to pay for a new laptop keyboard, I will probably also have to install it myself, a piece of work. You can be sure I’ll keep a spray gun around after this experience.
Hint: As I sadly learned, the cat will also take note of whether or not a water bottle is actually present. If not, you cannot expect the cat to obey you simply out of the goodness of its Christian heart, so always keep a bottle nearby.
Hiss Like a Cat
When the cat begins to do something you don’t want it to do (such as approach your laptop or jump up on a cabinet where you are preparing food), look the cat in the eye and hiss, just as a cat does.
I tried this one recently, and wish I had known to do it last week. They jump back and cease their behavior immediately. What is even more impressive is that they don’t return to test me again. This is what they call speaking their language, and doesn’t require any gimmick or accessory.
I have noticed that when one cat annoys another, the annoyed cat will first look directly into the eyes of the cat who is annoying him or her, and look hard. If the cat does not back off at this point, the annoyed cat will hiss, and this usually gets the annoying cat’s attention. This works with all my cats. They leap away from me quickly as if I actually have claws to attack.
Cats do a number of things to control the relationship, and some say they own you instead of the other way around, but if you want to be at least on equal footing with a cat, I’d suggest you use these tactics, as they are helping me even the score somewhat.