Cat Behavior: Why Squirt Bottles Aren’t A Good Idea

cat behaviorCat behavior is a mystery to many cat guardians.  An article on helps solve the mystery of why cats often continue an unwanted behavior, even after punishments like squirt bottles are used as a deterrent.

As the article points out, often the behaviors we consider as undesirable are natural for cats.  Punishments like squirt bottles usually only do three things:

  • Frustrates the cat
  • Makes the cat fearful of you
  • Causes the cat to wait until you’re gone to engage in the behavior

Cat behavior is based on a pay-off , not purposely setting out to frustrate us as many would believe.  Scratching furniture is often a behavior that leads to punishment, but cats have a natural need to scratch.  It provides exercise and also grooms their nails.  If your cat scratches furniture, there’s a good chance there isn’t an alternative, such as a scratching post for him to use; or the location or type of scratching surface isn’t right for him.

The article recommends thinking more like a cat rather than being quick to administer punishment.  If scratching furniture is a common problem, be observant about his scratching “style”, does he scratch standing up or down on all fours.  For cats that are in a standing posture when scratching, try a scratch tower, for those that are on all fours, a scratch pad or other flat scratching surface should work well.

Thinking like a cat to solve behavior problems versus punishment will reduce stress for you and your cat and will allow him to trust you rather than be afraid.

To read the entire article, go to

For detailed information on a variety of cat behavior subjects, check out Think Like a Cat: How to Raise a Well-Adjusted Cat–Not a Sour Puss available on Amazon.

Written by Karen


Karen is Publisher of Fully Feline. She also owns a pet care business in Overland Park, KS called Joy of Living.

2 Responses to "Cat Behavior: Why Squirt Bottles Aren’t A Good Idea"

  1. I love my kitten dearly. But, what if he keeps scratching and biting ME?
    I’ve tried a loud NO!, taking him to another room and lately the water spray wich seems to work fine for a while, but after that he begins to tease me and biting and scratching even harder, so i keep the Neosporin close to me always. He is only hardly 3 months old. Is this a phase That he shall outgrow or should I worry about it?
    Thank you very much. Hope to hear from you soon.
    Pd. BTW he is my first cat, so I’m a rookie

    1. Stop interacting with him when he scratches and bites. Say in calm voice we don’t do that. Make sure you aren’t using your hands as “toys” for him to play with, but do make sure he has plenty of toys to interact with. Wand toys, laser lights both work well for lots of kitties.

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