It can be very frustrating for a pet parent when
their cat behaves badly. Instinctively, you move
to punish them, but there are very good rea-
sons why this is neither the most efficient nor
the most effective way of fixing the problem.
Cats, unlike humans, don't learn easily from their mistakes,
which is why punishing them can lead to other behavioural
Here are six reasons for why you should reward your cat
for their good behaviour rather than punish them for their
#1 Cats aren't actually mean
Although your cat can seem to be spiteful when they pee on
your bed or scratch the new sofa, they aren't actually thinking
about their actions in that way at all. In reality, your cat
is just trying to communicate and tell you that something in
the environment is not right for them.
Is their litter clean? Has something changed in your home?
Have you welcomed a new pet?
Learn to understand your cat - they aren't being mean on pur-
pose, so they won't behave badly once you find the root of the
problem and fix it!
#2 Your cat's bad behaviour reflects your own
As a cat parent, it is your responsibility to give them a stim-
ulating environment, love, and be sure of their health.
Bed behaviour begins when something is not right. You
need to take this as a clue that you need to fix something.
Something may have changed in your own behaviour or in
Placing the blame entirely on your cat will only augment
Try to understand what had changed in order to understand
why your cat is acting in this way.
#3 Your cat is scared of you
When a cat is acting in a way that is out of the norm for them
(particularly when they are being destructive), the urgency
of the situation can push you to act brusquely and this scares cats.
It is easy to build a habit of shouting, stamping your food, or
spraying water each time your cat behaves badly in order to dis-
suade them. This is a way to treat the symptoms, true, but you
are not dealing with the cause of the problem.
Your cat will end up being scared of you, becoming anxious
in your presence, which will compromise your relationship with
When your cat does something wrong, restrain yourself and try
to act in a positive manner.
To learn more about anxious or frightened cats, read this article.
#4 Your cat doesn't know why you are punishing them
Cats learn when they directly associate a behaviour with a result.
If you wait in order to punish your cat, they will not understand
why you are acting in the way you are.
This scenario is very common, often when a cat relieves them-
selves outside of their litter box. The pet parent finds the cat's
excretions hours after the fact, punishing the cat by making
them smell their excretions. In this case, the cat will not be
able to make the link between the fact and the punishment.
#5 Your cat's behaviour can get worse...
...but you can use pheromone diffusers such as FELIWAY®
which will help your cat to feel secure in your home and relax
- this may help stop unwanted behaviours in your home. It
is also a good idea to discuss your cat's behaviour with your
vet as there may be a medical reason.
#6 Your cat deserves better!
Isn't your cat the best? We're certain that if you have read the
article up to here, you won't hesitate for a second before say-
ing a loud YES!
Well, your cat also thinks that you're the best pet parent,
and you should confirm this to them with your behaviour.
You don't need to punish your cat, but be inventive - and to
turn bad behaviour into good!
You will need to be determined, but you will see that it is
by far the best solution.