Does your cat have a vice?

We all have at least one bad habit, but how do you deal with your cat’s vices? Does your kitty constantly jump on the table or scratch the furniture? Does she wake you up at five a.m. asking for food or to be let out? Or do you come home to find your pet has made a toilet out of your bath mat?

Whatever the bad habit, the first rule of teaching your cat to be good is to stop punishing her. Cats who are punished associate their owner with the bad experience and not only will continue their bad behaviour but might even decide to leave. Instead, try outsmarting your kitty.

There are a few things cats don’t like, including sticky surfaces, loud noises and cold water. You can use these to put her off her bad habits. For example, if your cat scratches your furniture, try putting something sticky temporarily on the surface, such as double sided sticky tape, or a piece of old net curtain. You could install a sound alarm to keep your cat away from a certain area. And splashing a bit of cold water on the cheeky pet who keeps jumping on the kitchen surfaces can work wonders too.

Think of the reasons behind your cat’s habits. If she begs for food every time you sit down to eat, do you encourage her by giving in? Do you get up and let her out if she wakes you early in the morning? Do you leave her litter tray dirty for days? If yes, change your habits and the cat will follow. Try feeding your pet in a separate room before you sit down for a meal. Make sure she has regular feeding times – this will ensure regular toilet times that you can control. Keep her litter tray clean at all times and make sure that your cat feels comfortable in that area. If all that fails, consult your vet – your kitty might have a health problem. Try setting some time aside for playtime: your cat might just be misbehaving to get your attention.

Hopefully, you will find a way of teaching your cat good behaviour. And if one or two habits stick – well, we all have a vice, right?

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