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Waterboarding My Cat For Behavior Modification

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posted on Dec, 19 2009 @ 12:13 AM
No, I don't put a cloth over her head and suffocate the little beast with water until it talks, but water has been an effective training tool.

I've always used the squirt bottle to discourage scratching furniture, door frames, ect...
Now I have something new in my arsenal for a particularly bad cat. She's new in the house, a calico with attitude and a lot of energy. She's fixed, had her shots, and has the best of care.

But she's also a destructive and noisy little bitch.

So now I wet her down..........
I actually take her to the bathtub and run her under the tap to the point her fur is all wet.
Now she has no choice but to sit down somewhere and spend an hour or more cleaning the water off her fur.

I don't want to be cruel to the cat, but she's ripping my house apart. The water does no real harm because I don't let her face get wet, just the fur from the neck down. Then she has to sit and groom for the next couple hours.

Is this too nasty as a training technique ???
Any other suggestions to control constant meowing and smashing of nik-naks ?

[edit on 19/12/2009 by anxietydisorder]

posted on Dec, 19 2009 @ 12:20 AM
Had a baby like that once..

Cured her with a LOT of attention and love.

Cats are usually calling out for attention when they cry a lot, give it to them is my suggestion.

The problem with "taking" her to the tub, is by the time she gets there, she has no idea why you are doing this to her.

They don't think that scratching up your stuff is wrong, it's what they do.

They don't think that crying out, trying to tell you something is wrong. It's how they communicate.

The squirt gun is what I use and lots and lots of attention and love.

We did use a "Time Out" for a couple of them that would fight all the time. We put them into a room alone for an hour or so at a time. Seemed to stop the fighting.


posted on Dec, 19 2009 @ 01:31 AM

Originally posted by semperfortis

The problem with "taking" her to the tub, is by the time she gets there, she has no idea why you are doing this to her.


I hope her brain isn't so small that she can't remember from on moment to the next, but you're right, she seems to have a short attention span.

We give her all the love we can. She sits on our laps when we relax, she sleeps on the bed with us, and the locking in a room just has her trying to claw through the door.

I want her to come around, I love this cat.
I just need to break the bad habits.

posted on Dec, 19 2009 @ 02:02 AM
You wouldn't run a child under the faucet for bahaving badly.

Why not just get her claws trimmed? The poor critter will be scarred for life and freak out at the sound of running water.

posted on Dec, 19 2009 @ 04:00 AM
reply to post by anxietydisorder

You can't learn a cat not to scratch. Dragging it to the bathroom each time is a totally futile exercise, more than that it's bordering on cruel because it won't have a clue why you're doing it, not that cruelty is your intention, obviously, I've no doubt you love the beast.

Why not place scratch poles/pads immediately beside your beloved furniture, in the hope the cat will scratch that first ? Or join some cat forums and see what tips other owners could give you ?

Scratched furniture is just one of the "joys" of cat ownership, I'm afraid. Waterboarding the creature isn't the way to go.

posted on Dec, 19 2009 @ 06:54 AM
reply to post by semperfortis

I agree with semper. Cats have an even shorter training memory then dogs do. When you get to the tub she just thinks your being mean.

If she is tearing up the house, she must be young. Just like year old puppies, they drive you nuts.

Just make sure you have plenty of scratching posts and pads and cat toys around.

I hate it when owners gripe about cats scratching but they don't give them scratchign posts.

I also agree with semper that she may need more attention.

Also, trying feeding her less dry food, which is just potatoe chips in the cat world, and give more wet, or even real food. The sugar in processed cat food could be making her hyper.

If none of those work, the technique that I used and worked was a super soaker.

Cats HAVE to scratch. It is a biological need for their feet. You can't keep them from scratching, just provide the places to scratch.

[edit on 19-12-2009 by nixie_nox]

posted on Dec, 19 2009 @ 06:57 AM
reply to post by anxietydisorder

Size of the brain have nothing to do with it. Cats only remember certain things. They are also creatures of habit. They don't do long term associations well.

A mother cat will forget she had kittens if she doesn't see them for only 4 days.

posted on Dec, 19 2009 @ 11:24 AM
It's also not just about memory

As nixie stated, cats HAVE to scratch and they don't think they are doing anything wrong. Trust me, they don't care about your furniture.

So to them, you are just being cruel to them and they don't know why.

The Supersoaker is a GREAT idea...

Just for edification sake, understand it is NOT the water in a spray gun that works; here is why it does.

They are busy scratching your favorite new couch and all of a sudden they get hit with a stream of water. After a few times, they associate getting startled with scratching that particular piece of furniture.

Yes, you have to do it for all the places they scratch you don't want them too.

Edit to add: Ideally you should not let them see you spray them. Works much better that way. That is why I use a very small, hand held spray gun.

See, when you pick them up, they expect attention; then you carry them to a faucet and essentially make them think they are drowning, all by someone they have come to trust for food and comfort.

You violate their love.

Not a whole lot different from Parental Child Abuse.

Pretty soon you will teach them to not let you pick them up, or love on them at all.


[edit on 12/19/2009 by semperfortis]

posted on Dec, 19 2009 @ 12:00 PM
reply to post by nixie_nox

Have you ever honestly seen a cat use a scratching post? If it were my cat he would miander (is that a word?) right past it and proceed to tear the corner of the couch to shreads. Thats no joke. I love an outside cat for that reason. Love em, love em, I can't emphasize that enough.

[edit on 19-12-2009 by Voyager1]

posted on Dec, 19 2009 @ 12:52 PM
reply to post by Voyager1

actually yes. We dont' have a problem and we have a leather couch.

The way to get them started is to cover it with catnip for awhile. The scratcher I mean, not the couch.

You also have to give them a selection. You can't plop one day and bank that they will like it. Try several different kinds and see what takes.

Mine prefer the carboard circle thing and use it constnatly. I have others that like the trees, and mine also tore that to shreds.

I have seen other cats that like those hidey holes. So you have to test to see what they prefer, much like you have to test recliners to see what suits you.

The preference seems to be a cat tree in front of a window.

[edit on 19-12-2009 by nixie_nox]

posted on Dec, 20 2009 @ 02:50 AM
If she's a young cat, she'll eventually calm down a little, especially if she's neutered. But yeah, cats are terrorists, and they'll keep scratching your furniture, and they'll even use that as a form of blackmailing, whenever they want your attention.

Trim the claws every now and then, that will minimize the damage.

Keep using the water spray bottle, trust me, they hate it.

Whenever you see her doing something evil, don't yell, don't grab her, don't slap her. Get as close as you can quietly and clap your hands hard once or twice. The noise will startle her and make her stop. Then, in a calm but firm voice, tell her "NO!"and stare in her eyes. Keep doing that and eventually she'll learn what no means, and that she can't blackmail you for attention by scratching things.

Oh and good luck, cats are stubborn.

[edit on 20-12-2009 by Wallachian]

posted on Dec, 20 2009 @ 05:14 AM
We bought a carpet covered tube type thing today, then we shook catnip all over the surface and into the two hiding holes.

So far the cats are totally interested in the new "toy", and the destructive one is sleeping in it now.

I don't like the idea of wetting the cat down, it makes me feel bad.
We'll see how the new thing goes.

We love her dearly so thanks for the advice, this is a cat we want to keep for many years.

Edit: I don't want to have her claws removed. I think they need those hooks to defend themselves or climb a tree if they get outside.

[edit on 20/12/2009 by anxietydisorder]

posted on Dec, 20 2009 @ 06:23 AM
reply to post by nixie_nox

Catnip does the trick huh?

I hate to see a declawed cat honestly. I know of one that got killed by a dog because it got out of the house a minute. They have no way of protecting themselves. I think it changes their personality, it makes them angry. I saw one one time that if anybody picked it up it would go wrrrrrrrrooowww a few times and finally explode out of their arms with one final loud rooowww. It was hallarious to see. The cat acted like it would if it were fighting another one. Maybe not all cats are like this but I have seen some.

posted on Dec, 20 2009 @ 08:30 AM
reply to post by anxietydisorder

They do have caps. They are these little plastic things the glue onto their nails so they keep their nails but it can't do damage. They can fall off but it is a preferable alternative to declawing.

Declawing is the most heinous thing and is illegal in a lot of countries. It is removing the fingers down the first knuckle is basically what it is.

And naturally, animals find another way to defend themselves, so when you remove their claws, then they start biting.

posted on Dec, 20 2009 @ 08:32 AM
reply to post by Voyager1

now a percentage of cats are not affected by catnip. So if they are immune to catnip, you need to find another attraction, like treats,

But if you give a variety of things to scratch, your gonna find one they like.

I am fortunate mine are cheap, and love the carbaord circle I can replace. That has the ball roll around in it.

If they scratch furniture they tend to like vertical objects. If they scratch the rug then they like horizontal objects, so start there.

posted on Dec, 20 2009 @ 01:19 PM
How about "Sleep Deprivation"

She likes to sleep during the day and rip loose at night.
A friend suggested that if she sleeps during the day we wake her up and play for a while. Just keep her awake during the day so she sleeps over the night.

We already have her locked out of the plant room because she digs and sleeps in the pots, but I hate to restrict her access.

Keeping her awake during the day might help.

Thoughts ???

posted on Dec, 20 2009 @ 01:20 PM
reply to post by anxietydisorder

Good luck with that...

Cats are Nocturnal

posted on Dec, 20 2009 @ 02:04 PM
Back when I had pets, I enjoyed having cats. One thing I noticed was that a cat would play with anything that wasn't purchased expressly for that purpose.

I bought a scratching post and a "cat condo" and still the cat continued to use the door posts for scratching and a paper bag for hiding and playing, instead of the "cat condo."

And what about all those cat toys I'd buy at the store? Nothing was more interesting to the cats than an old knotted up sock.

As for putting the cat under running water, I'd have to say that the only result of that will be short term relief, such as you describe.

The water pistols and squirt bottles have been effective for me, but still, one must realize that cats will scratch, chew, and make noise.

[edit on 2009/12/20 by GradyPhilpott]

posted on Dec, 21 2009 @ 06:29 AM
reply to post by anxietydisorder

I'd guess that if you choose to disrupt their cycle, they will return the favor. We've had pretty good luck with getting the cats on our cycle -- we bring them inside at night, give them wet food then. When we settle down for the night, they do as well, for the most part. They take turns waking me up in the morning so they can go back out (they let themselves in and out during the day).

On occasion when one of them have been particularly vocal in the wee hours, usually there is something valid that is wrong. Make sure your cat doesn't have worms or fleas, or perhaps they might be of the "finnickey about a spotless pooper box" type of cat. We found out during a hurricane last year, that we could comfort the cats into silence, but could not order them into silence.

I have to careful about not setting up a negative pattern also......... if the cat ultimately gets what it wants because I comply JUST THIS ONCE, it takes twice as much work to change that behavior.

Yes, I'm well trained also
We have a contract: They come in when I call them at night, and I agree to get up early to let them out. They agree to keep the area rodent free, and we agree to praise them for leaving a rat head in the tub. ugh.

reply to post by Wallachian

Agree with you 100% Wallachian....... teaching each of our cats the meaning of "NO!" has been invaluable. Sometimes, when we "NO!" a new behavior, they don't know what they've done wrong, but they know it's something; repeats of the behavior followed by the (stern, but not angry) NO! usually eventually results in them stopping that particular behavior at that particular spot.

posted on Dec, 22 2009 @ 01:02 AM
reply to post by anxietydisorder

Any Behaviorist will tell you that punishment is fraught with unintended consequences. Usually 30% of animals, and humans (one in the same), respond unpredictably to punishment.

Reinforcement is the way to go.
Try giving your cat what ever makes it happy whenever it doesn't rip apart your stuff.

Unless ripping apart your stuff makes it happy.

In that case, I recommend punishment.

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