Learning How to Discipline a Cat

naughty cat on shelf
(Last Updated On: June 15, 2021)

Cats can be comforting and affectionate pets to keep in your house. But they can also be quite feisty if they are not taught how to behave properly. There is an important part of a cat’s development where environmental influences can make or break how a cat behaves later on in life.

Being patient and considerate to your cat while creating a safe environment that your cat can simultaneously relax and be active in can really make a difference to your cat’s behavioral development. Here are some tips on how to train and discipline your cat. You’ll also learn what to avoid doing to prevent upsetting your cat.

What to Avoid While Disciplining Your Cat

No Physical Disciplining or Yelling

No matter how frustrating trying to train your cat becomes, you should never resort to physical discipline or yelling at/shaking your cat when they display odd behavioral patterns. Cats have difficulty associating physical forms of discipline to what they have done wrong, and it will only cause them to mistrust you and become more withdrawn.

They will also not understand what you mean when you are yelling at them not to do a certain thing, so it is more effective to teach them how to do something right rather than how not to do them. Maintain the bond between you and your cat by handling them in a calm and rational manner, so they do not actively try to avoid you and your methods of punishment.

Your Cat is Not Like a Dog

Cats do not learn how to behave properly in the same way dogs do, so you will have to try a very different approach if you want to discipline them properly. They will not understand how to sit or stay on command like a dog would.

Give them space and the opportunity to be trained properly so that your cat will learn how to behave properly in your home and do not ever compare their learning or training process to how a dogs would be.

Do Not Be Impatient

Training and disciplining your cat is a long and arduous process, and you will not gain total success in every attempt to correct their behavior. Being impatient and getting angry with your cat will only cause them to become stressed and lose trust in you.

It can cause them to become more withdrawn in actively trying to avoid you out of fear that you will use negative reinforcement.

It’s always better to give your cat the patience and understanding that they need in order to properly learn how to control and correct their behavior in the future.

Do Not Let Children Play with Your Cat Without Supervision

One important thing to keep in mind is that both cats and children are highly unpredictable and it is never a good idea to leave young children alone with cats. Children usually do not know how to behave around animals properly and will likely do something to make your cat upset or uncomfortable and they will act out accordingly.

Children do not understand that cats should not be mishandled and cats do not understand that children do not usually mean harm. It is best to keep your children away from cats until they are older or until your cat is properly trained not to lash out.

Proper Ways to Discipline Your Cat

Make Proper Accommodations

Sometimes there are explanations for why your cat acts in certain ways, such as climbing on top of places they shouldn’t be and knocking things over or scratching furniture whenever they get the chance.

This just means that your cat needs properly places to climb and scratch in order to take care of themselves and be comfortable. Place items that will block off the spots where your cat used to jump or claw at to discourage them from doing it again in the future.

Instead, get them a scratching post and buy a cat tower where they can climb and perch to their heart’s content.

Stop Playing When Your Cat Gets Too Aggressive

Playing with your cat is one of the essential ways that your cat can let out their energy and bond with you. However, your cat will likely end up becoming too aggressive during playtime and will start biting and clawing at you too hard.

The best thing to do is stop playing and redirect your attention somewhere else so that your cat knows that it has gone too far and will deviate from biting or clawing during playtime from then on.

Use Proper Voice Tones

Using the proper tone of voice when encouraging or discouraging behavior can be important to how your cat perceives their actions as right or wrong, as long as you are not actively yelling at them.

Be consistent with your tone of voice so they can acknowledge the difference between good and bad behavior. Using a special tone of voice will help them learn that what they are doing is wrong and will keep them from repeating their bad behavior in the future.

Encourage Their Good Behavior

Whenever your cat does something good and shows that they have learned not to repeat they’re bad behavior, they should be properly rewarded with treats. Treats serve as a form of positive reinforcement and will help them learn how to repeat good behavior rather than sticking with improper behavior. But stay away from bad unhealthy treats.

Reward your cat regularly whenever you notice it has stopped misbehaving and it will have an easier time learning what they should and should not do.

Training Tips

Discouraging Bad Behavior

There are some effective methods to training your cat that will discourage them from repeating bad behavior that does not involve physical discipline or yelling at your cat. In order to prevent bad behavior from becoming a natural occurrence, you need to set up a few deterrents to prevent your cat from doing things they should not do and use a firm tone of voice when they have done something bad.

Deterrents can include making startling noises when cats go where they are not supposed to, placing smells to prevent cats from wandering off or chewing things they should not put in their mouths, and placing double-sided aluminum foil tape to prevent your cat from scratching surfaces other than their own scratching post.

Building an Environment Where Cats Can Play Freely

An efficient way to keep your cat out of trouble is to give your cat an area to play like a large cat tree, climb, and scratch as much as they want without worrying about repercussions. Cats are highly energetic creatures and need an outlet for their energy. Or they will end up scratching furniture or climbing all over any high surface they can reach. That is why the best cat tree comes in handy!

Provide your cats with plenty of toys they can scratch and chew, place a scratching post away from your furniture, and set up a type of kitty playground where your cat can run, climb and play as much as they want.

Play With Your Cat

Playing with your cat can strengthen your bond with your cat, reward their good behavior, and give them an outlet for their energy. Cats love toys that dangle or shine, so stick toys, or laser pointers will definitely do the trick.

Laser pointers provide infinite possibilities by letting your point it wherever you want to lead your cat away from places they should not be, and it also allows your cat to experience the thrill of the chase as cats naturally do.


Training and disciplining cats are not easy by any means, but it will be worth it to have a nice furry companion to live and play with. Always make sure that your cat is comfortable in your home environment and never grow impatient or angry with it no matter how bad their behavior gets.

Teaching them will take a decent amount of time, but they will come to learn what they should and should not do, and your relationship with them will become stronger in due time.

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