Discipline Your Cat

The first thing to remember is your cat is a cat, not a very short and hairy 4 legged human. It also helps to realize that your cat will look at you as a very large cat.

Second, never hit your cat. Being reasonable is by far the best advice. Be strong by saying "NO!" in a firm, no-nonsense voice for all infractions works well. If he won't listen, keep a squirt bottle of plain water handy (be sure to keep the bottle away from your children, so they don't use it as a toy against your cat). Alternatively, toss your keys toward him - not at him - so the noise will startle him.

Getting Your Cat to Come to You

Unlike dogs and children, cats are unlikely to come to you just because you want them to obey. However, a cat who knows he will be warmly petted, brushed, will receive a treat, or an extended period of lap-napping, is more likely to come to you. No animal will come to you willingly if you are raising your voice or if they think they are going to be punished.

Cats, by the way, respond best to names that end in an "ee" sound. They also seem to respond better to a higher-pitched tone of voice. Our cat is called Kiki and this name works very well as she more often than not comes when called.

Stopping Your Cat Biting
Does your cat bite when they play?
If so, respond as a cat: hiss at him. Or scream in painful agony; they'll stop (though they might not want to play with you for a while after!).
I had a cat that accidentally drew blood while we were playing - I put my arm up to their nose so they could smell the droplets of blood, and they never bit again.

Your Cat and Plants

To prevent your cat from digging in the dirt around your houseplants, go to your local craft store and buy a few pieces of the plastic needlepoint mesh. Cut it to fit the pot, with a slit and an opening for the plant. Place it on top of the dirt. Or, dampen a cotton ball with oil of clove, then bury the cotton ball just below the surface.

To stop him from chewing on houseplants, mist the leaves with water and sprinkle a small amount of cayenne pepper on the leaves. Or you can buy Bitter Apple from your local pet store and spray it on the leaves. Here is a list of plants that are toxic to your cat.

To keep cats out of the garden, pour 2 quarts of water into a large watering can and add 5 tablespoons flour, 4 tablespoons dry mustard, 3 tablespoons cayenne pepper, and 2 tablespoons chili powder. Mix it and sprinkle it around flowers and bulbs.

Chewing on Electrical Cords

Coating the cord with a pasty mixture of cayenne pepper, hot pepper sauce, nail-biting nail polish, or orange/lemon peel seems to work in most cases. A better solution might be to put the cords into a cardboard tube, which has the added advantage of keeping them all in one organized bundle. You can purchase mailing tubes, or simply save the cardboard tubes from your wrapping paper. If it's ugly, cover with Contac paper.

Cat Carpet Troubles

A few owners have a problem with their cat shredding the carpet, even with a convenient scratching post. First, look at the scratching post from a cat's viewpoint: it's covered with carpet .... this stuff on the floor has the same feel. Hmmm.... Since it's less costly to replace the scratching post than the carpeting, try getting a post that is covered with sisal fabric or rope, corrugated cardboard, or carpet turned wrong-way out.

If the cat is always scratching (or worse) at a particular spot in the carpeting, the reason might be due to a strong smell in that one spot - go to the vet or pet store and get an enzymatic cleaner specific for pet smells, then clean it thoroughly.

Sloppy Eaters

Most of the cats I have known insist on taking the food out of their dishes and dropping it on the floor to eat. Those who don't do it intentionally seem to end up with the same result as well. I tried putting down placemats - that ended up being inconvenient. Then, I bought a vinyl tablecloth (with a bright, multi-color pattern), cut off about 18"-24" along the width, and put that on the floor under the dishes. I'm pleased to report that the floor is much cleaner now, the drops of food blend in with the colors of the tablecloth, and keeping the area clean is a lot easier: I just roll their tablecloth up and shake it out in the garbage can, then wash it off while I'm doing the dishes. I also bought a matching tablecloth for the "peoples' table."

Cat drinking fountain
Another "new" thing at our house: a cat drinking fountain! This handy little thing has been worth its weight in gold - the water is always fresh (it recycles through a charcoal filter), the bowl doesn't get hard water deposits, the cats enjoy drinking from it - and the sound of water rushing is very pleasant for all of us!