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Whenever we say "no" to our cat he gets hyper and starts running around the house knocking things over. What are some techniques to calm down a cat?

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The most effective way for you to calm a cat down in a situation where they have been shouted at is to use the pinch technique. If it wasn't after being told "no", you could have used food/treats, but not in this scenario as he'll think he's being rewarded for something bad.

Basically, the process is actually called:

Pinch-induced behavioural inhibition (PIBI).

For a YouTube video on how exactly to do it, see here.

You're effectively going to emulate him being picked up by his neck that his mother will have once done, like so:

enter image description here

But with a clip/peg of some sort, something like the two below:

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  • Is this only to calm the cat down or does it have a (positive) long term effect on the cats behavior, too? – Baarn Oct 10 '13 at 16:04
  • @Baarn Good question, unfortunately I couldn't find a definitive answer for that so I'd be inclined to say it doesn't have long term effects. The results do vary from cat to cat though, so it's definitely possible that it could have a positive long term effect. – mattytommo Oct 10 '13 at 20:22
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You have to ask yourself Why is he going hyper after I tell him "no". Is it because you would want to take him away from the action he is performing that you want to stop? So you are chasing him, and he gets scared and refuses to be taken hold of. If this is the case, you have effectively trained him to expect trouble after hearing "no", so he'll simply panic and run wildly around in order to avoid being manhandled. The training has been effective, and he'll run now whether you still chase him or not.

Of course I can't know if this is the reason your cat goes hyper. However it is the key to solving the problem when you realize what makes the cat do it. It would work better to find ways to prevent his wild running beforehand, than to seek ways to calm him down afterwards.

At the moment it is the word "no" that launches your cat ballistic. Stop using it. Deal with the bad behaviour (the one that makes you say "no") by other means. A spray bottle, for example. Though the spray bottle use is tricky, actually I'd imagine it won't quite do the magic in your case. Choosing the method depends on what the cat is doing that you want stopped. The saying "no" is obviously not good anymore.

In short; change the way you react to your cat's bad behaviour.

  • <personal opinion> I have taken cats to live in the same apartment with me. I have to suffer the consequences. There is no "bad behaviour" with cats, there is only behaviour. <end of personal opinion> – Esa Paulasto Dec 19 '13 at 5:55
  • +1 for the advice to work on oneself to understand why one's pet don't behave as wanted. This is often the problem (may not be in the case of the OP, don't feel offended.) – Gottlieb Notschnabel Dec 21 '13 at 15:49

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