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Cats should NEVER be hit physically.

If you are experiencing behaviour problems such as; furniture scratching or eating of houseplants, try using a spray bottle used for houseplants filled with water. This has the advantage of keeping the owner remote from the cat and the scene of the crime. It is very important that your cat does not associate you with the unpleasantness, as this can lead to a lack of trust, so make sure that you cannot be seen by your cat when using the spray bottle.

Quite simply, it involves squirting a jet of water at the cat with such force as to surprise and disconcert it, just at the time it is about to, or is actually, performing the behaviour pattern the owner wants to curb.

The cat dislikes this treatment intensely, but only its feelings are hurt and no physical damage is done. Also, you could throw a scrunched up piece of paper or throw a bunch of keys near the cat to startle it.

Some owners like to mist plants and place cayenne pepper on the misted plants - this should be discouraged, cats have very sensitive noses that can easily be damaged by such thoughtless actions. A more humane way to stop your cat from chewing the houseplants, is to regularly spray the foliage with diluted lemon juice - most cats dislike its taste.

REMEMBER the opposite is also true, if your kitten or cat has done something right, give them plenty of praise and if possible a favourite titbit.

If you are concerned about your cat's behaviour and are unsure on how to tackle the problem, do consult your Veterinary Surgeon or animal behaviourist for professional advice.

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