4 things you should never do to your cat, according to an expert

Woman telling off her cat
(Image credit: Prostock-Studio)

As cat lovers, we’d go to the ends of the earth for our furry friends. Despite what many people think, cats can be very affectionate pets and give you endless hours of joy. 

There’s nothing we wouldn’t do to keep them happy, whether that’s buying them the best cat bed, making time to play with them using the best cat toys, or learning how to keep a cat warm outside during this cold weather. 

However, there are some misconceptions about cat communication and a few things you might need to be aware of. Although you might mean well and see other people doing these things, your cat will probably misinterpret them. 

Amanda Campion, a clinical animal behaviorist, shared four things she would never do to her cat and why over on her Instagram: 

 1. Using water guns 

Using any form of water as a punishment (whether it's a gun, pistol, or spray bottle), is a big no-no for Amanda and is something she would never use. As everyone knows, most cats hate water, so it might seem like the best way to teach your furry friend a lesson. However, she explains that cats don’t respond to negative punishment, so it’s best to give this one a miss. If you want to learn how to discipline a cat when it’s being naughty, our guide has everything you need to know. 

2. Yelling at the cat

As humans, it’s natural to want to scream and yell if something has really ticked us off. Cats are playful creatures, so they’re probably going to make a mess and cause some kind of chaos from time to time. Shouting might make you feel a little better, but it’s not going to solve the problem in the future. Amanda explains that it will just make your cat frightened of you and spoil the bond you’ve created, so it’s really not worth it in the long run. 

3. Anthropomorphizing bad behavior

Amanda also says that she would never anthropomorphize her cat’s behavior (a fancy way of saying giving them human characteristics). Our cats might feel like part of the family, but it’s important to remember that they are animals and will never do anything out of spite like a human might. This means we shouldn’t be punishing them for ‘bad behavior’ (like peeing outside the litter box) as it simply isn’t true.

4. Ignoring their behavior

Never ignore your cat if they’re acting strange or their behavior is off - it could be a sign they’re trying to communicate with you. Amanda recommends looking into it further and paying a visit to the vet to make sure everything is ok. 

If you’re questioning, “Can you train a cat?”, we’ve got all of the answers you need. To keep your furry friend out of trouble, here are some of the best scratching posts they can use (instead of your brand-new sofa).

Frisco Valentine Unicorn Cat Tracks Cat Toy with Catnip

Frisco Valentine Unicorn Cat Tracks Cat Toy with Catnip

$10.84 at Chewy

Show your cat some love by treating them to a new toy. This interactive track tower will provide them with hours of fun rolling the ball across each tier. They’ll go crazy for it when they get a sniff of the cat nip. 

Megan Milstead
Staff Writer

Megan is a Staff Writer on PetsRader, covering news, features and buying guides. She has a wealth of experience looking after animals, having grown up with dogs, cats and horses all of her life. She’s particularly interested in pet happiness and behavior, which she loves to research in her spare time. You’ll often find her watching webinars on reactivity in dogs or researching cat body language. She loves going the extra mile for her cats Chilli and Nala (who also help out with testing the best products for our buying guides). 

Megan studied BA Journalism at the University of Westminster, where she specialized in lifestyle journalism and was editor of Smoke Radio’s online magazine. She also graduated from West Herts College with a Level 3 Extended Diploma in Journalism. Before joining the PetsRadar family last year, she worked on the editorial team at Harrods and has spent most of her career writing for specialized titles, like RunningShoesGuru, Licklist and Mr. After Party. 

Megan works alongside qualified vets and accredited trainers to ensure you get the best advice possible. She is passionate about finding accurate and helpful answers to your pet-related questions.