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Bonding Tip - Don’t Punish, Reward!

Hi everybody, Molly with Cat Behavior Solutions, here for your Bonding Tip of the Week! This week’s bonding tip is: don’t punish your cat.

In general, cats don’t do well with punishment. I think a lot of us have that image in our heads of people yelling at cats to get off of the counter, or squirting a spray bottle at them when they’re naughty. But when you do that, it doesn’t really change their behavior. They just end up thinking that you’re this big scary thing and wait for you to leave to whatever compels them.

The way that cats respond best is with positive reinforcement, which means we reward the behaviors that we want to see more of. For example, maybe you want to see your cat high-five your more often. Every time your cat does something you think is adorable you want them to do it again, reward them. For me, I like it when my cat Pico gives me kisses. We use Vitakraft’s Meaty Morsels, of course, because he loves them, so I give him a Morsel every time he gives me a kiss. So every time he does something which I think is adorable, and I want him to do it again, I reward him.

Now this could apply to problem behaviors too. Let’s say your cat is clawing your sofa; in order to reward the behavior you want to see more of, give them a treat every time they claw the scratching post. And, almost like magic, they’ll claw the scratching post more.

Contrary to popular belief, cats are really easy to train. All you need to do is think like a cat. As we’ve said before, most cats are highly food-motivated, meaning that food comes above all else in terms of things that cats care about. But using food for reinforcement can be a double-edged sword. Be careful what you reinforce, because the behaviors you’re rewarding might end up being annoying. As I’m writing this, Pico’s trying to kiss me again. Pico, I have bonding tips to write!

This week, lay off punishing your cat. It doesn’t do any good! Instead, find some things to reward them for—surely your cat does something adorable or well-behaved during the week that’s deserving of a treat. So do some positive reinforcement, and until next time, keep calm and purr on.

For more information on Vitakraft Cat Treats Please visit to learn more about Vitakraft’s collection of small-batch cat treats packed with healthy and flavorful ingredients in the shapes, tastes, and textures your favorite feline will love. Plus, find the best tips for cat owners to strengthen the bond with their cats.

For more information on Molly DeVoss, Cat Behaviorist go to:


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