My cat, who I can best describe as an unpleasant character, has perfected the art of knocking plates/glasses off tables and shelves, eating my food when I'm not looking, running around at insane speeds and miaow-ing as loud as possible as soon as it needs the slightest thing.

As any other cat owner, I punish it when it goes over the line with one of the following:

  • water spray
  • grabbing it by the scruff and verbalizing it,
  • giving it the good ol' shout.

While this worked for my previous cat, it does not work for this one. In fact, my cat is extremely forgetful due to its age and a lifetime of running into doors. It will immediately forget that it received punishment and carry on its mischievous acts like nothing happened.

For instance, last night I caught it drinking from my glass of water, then knocking it over (the glass broke). I then applied the water spray treatment, then went back to sleep. Few minutes later, it comes back and knocks over my second glass of water in the same manner. Grabbed it by the scruff, threw it outside the bedroom and closed the door. This morning, I poured myself a glass of coffee, and ... you get the point.

So what can I do to effectively punish a cat who is both very mischievous and very forgetful?

  • When you say your cat is forgetful? Are you sure that it's not just ignoring the 'punishment'? Perhaps it has decided that being sprayed in the face is a reasonable price to pay for some human food. Are there any other signs of forgetfulness? Forgetting where the litter box is or where the food comes from?
    – Henders
    Oct 26 '18 at 11:19
  • I believe we allready have the answer to your question. If I am mistaken feel free to edit your question to explain why the existing answers are not appropriate in your case. Your question can be re-opened Oct 26 '18 at 11:55
  • 2
    This all sounds like typical feline behavior. Is this the only cat you've owned? Your cat isn't the only one who has to adapt to life with a human, you as the human also have to learn to live with your cat, which, when it's your first cat, can mean changing a lot of your behaviors (for example, using a plastic bottle instead of an open glass overnight, or allowing the cat to burn his energy when it has the "zoomies").
    – Allison C
    Oct 26 '18 at 13:54
  • 5
    In the general, punishment isn't all that effective because cats don't understand the concept of punishment. They only understand, when I do x, the human does something to me I don't like. Therefore, the obvious solution is to simply do x when the human is not around. Maybe the tactic of using a spray bottle will work for something the cat ONLY does when the human is around, for example, trying to steal your dinner from your hands, but other than that, it probably won't be effective. Other tactics, like grabbing at the scruff or yelling, will just scare the cat, so don't do that.
    – Kai
    Oct 26 '18 at 15:10

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