On Spraying the Cat with Water to Make Him Stop

It’s a form of physical punishment. Don’t do it.


Have you ever sprayed a cat with a water pistol or a spritzer to make him stop doing something you don’t want him to, like walking around the kitchen counter?

We’re not at all for it. It may (or may not) get your cat to stop engaging in the behavior you want to curtail at that very moment. But it will definitely fail to teach him what you expect the next time around. He’ll just think you’re attacking him and not knowing why because, after all, it’s okay to jump up on a bookshelf, right? And jumping up on things comes naturally to him. Worse still, it will make your pet distrust you and will also make him feel unsafe in his own home. In other words, spraying with water goes in the bin of physical punishment, as does shoving him and bellowing loudly. These are aversive training techniques. They will always fail to actually train on top of harming your cat’s psyche.

It would be much better for your cat, and for your relationship with him, if you made the countertop less enticing by providing many other places for him to jump to, and perhaps providing more scratching posts and toys. It’s also a good idea to pay more attention to your cat. You’d be surprised at how well interacting with him can redirect his attention.

Finally, try training your cat with a clicker to engage his active mind and body. When he’s on the counter, get his attention with a feather or bell. When he jumps down to grab it, click the clicker and give him a treat while using the word “Off.” He will make the connection before long that jumping off something when you ask him is rewarded with a morsel of delicious food.


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