The Best and Worst Ways to Train Your Cat

Dear people of Team Cat Mojo. This is a public service announcement. My name is squirt, squirt bottle. You may use me to remain stains. You may use me to water your garden. What you should not use me for, and what has upset many of my brethren, is to punish your animals. Welcome to the Cat Cave.
Alright, it’s time we talked about squirt gun diplomacy. If I can’t use this, how do I discipline my cat? No such thing as disciplining your cat. I’m sorry to say folks, they have no idea what you’re talking about when you use this voice on them. Squirt guns do not work. They do not work.
Now let’s use an example. Let’s say your cat is counter surfing. Counter surfing of course means that they’re just walking across the counters, and it’s something that drives you insane. And you would much rather that your cats aren’t counter surfing.
If you wanted your cat to stop counter surfing, then every single time, 24/7, that they jump up on the counter– if you wanted to be hanging out with Mr. squirt bottle, and you wanted make sure that they got off the counter, when then you’ve got to camp out there, all day, every day.
Then when you’re not around, I promise you your cat is counter surfing. I promise that you haven’t taught them a thing. All they know is that when you’re around, they shouldn’t do something. And when you’re not around, they will. So you have succeeded in diminishing the bond between you and your cat completely.
They are afraid of you, not afraid of the experience of getting wet when they jump up on the counter. So it’s something that I find really, really important, because it follows that line of thinking. Can cats be disciplined? No, of course they cannot. What let’s say that we were using an air-compressed canister and an electric eye, that tool.
Put down, cat jumps up, squirt squirt, OK, with air. And they’re gone. What’s the big difference there? That you didn’t do it, the counter did it. That’s an effective no. What can you do if there’s something that you would rather your cat not do? Well you’ve got to make it work for them.
So counter surfing– first of all, what does it attain? Are you keeping food on the counter and then asking your cat not to eat that food? Is your cat a big fan of running water out of a faucet, and yet there is no running water in the form of fountains any place else?
Or is your cat thriving on potentially negative attention? It doesn’t really matter. If you yell at your cat or praise your cat– it’s attention, right?
So if every time I jump up on the counter, I get attention, negative or positive, short of striking or squirting or whatever, then I’ll probably keep doing it. If absolutely nothing happens when I jump up on the counter– no food, no reward, no lovey dovey, no pick you up and put you down, no pet on the way down, no yelling your name, no nothing. Nothing happens. Then why would I continue to do it?
OK so now we get to the second part of this. Squirt guns are out. So now we get to what I call the yes no. It doesn’t matter whether you’re parenting someone with for legs or two. The yes no is a great way of doing things. Let’s go back to our counter surfer friend who, every time you’re in the kitchen, has to be out there. We can do something very simple.
For instance, use a placement. The placemat has double-sided sticky tape on it, which is a really cool little trick, because you can take it off, put away somewhere, put it back down, it’s sticky. Every time you cat jumps up on the counter– sticky, sticky. Eh, I got to go.
Or you use the compressed air canisters with the electric eyes that I use, like StayAway or Scat, any of those guys. They go. We just established the no.
Now where’s the yes? Well the yes for a tree-dwelling, inquisitive, counter surfer is something up in that kitchen that rises to the height, approximately, of that counter. Now away from the counter, so we’re not asking them to jump up on the counter, get sticky paws, get frustrated, go down, and do whatever they do. But for them to have a sill, a stand, a tree in the kitchen area so while you’re making dinner, they can observe.
Yeah. I approve, right? My name is Fluffy and I approve this dinner. Then we’re good. So the moral of the story here is that if you want your cat to do something, you’ve got to meet them halfway. Compromise is one of the highest forms of love in a relationship.
This actually signifies something completely different, on a deeper level. This signifies that we believe that we can bend our animals to our will, right? And if we step back from the squirt gun for a second, step away from the squirt gun, we may realize that that is not a humane operational system. Squirt gun diplomacy is not actual diplomacy.
In essence, think about the no and yes. And once you think about no and yes, you’ll probably get somewhere, alright? So anyhow. That’s all I got for today. Keep watching. Guys, thank you so much for subscribing. We passed 20,000 subscribers on the Cat Mojo channel, and I could not be more proud and grateful. And grateful to the folks at the Animalist Network, by the way, for helping so much and making this a reality.
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Don’t forget, we just had our second Google Hangout. We’ll be having Mojo Hangouts onward and onward every month, so you’ll find out about that by subscribing as well. In the meantime, be kind to all. We all deserve a break. Until next time. All light, all love, all mojo to ya, baby.
Ahh, love ya. [MUSIC] You’re a bad cat. I’m not a bad cat. You’re a bad cat. I’m not a bad cat. You’re a bad cat. I’m just misunderstood. Meow.