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Discipline with water bottle sprayer

kasey&roxie
October 7th, 2010, 03:49 PM
Hi all,

I think that I have created an aversion with my cat. Kasey is a two year old neutered male. He has a sister, Roxie, who is 2 years old and spayed.

We adopted them from a shelter a year ago. Our senior kitty, Tigger had passed on and we decided to adopt two to keep each other company and have someone to play with when we are not at home. They get along fine with each other.

We we talked about how to discipline them we decided to use the spray bottle idea as it removed us from being the "bad" guy and wouldn't make them scared or nervous of us. We used it for Kasey as he was scratching the carpet and furniture in spots and it worked fine there. We also would take him and put him on the scratching post where we wanted them to scratch.

Now, when we feed them they were getting fed in separate bowls in the kitchen. If they went after the other one's food we would give them a squirt with the water bottle.

Now, Kasey the male seems to have an aversion to eating in his spot. He will go to eat there but only eat about 5-10 pieces and then walk away from it. I have also had him to the vets for a thorough check up and blood work to make sure that there is nothing physically wrong with him and everything has come back fine. He is not eating as much as he was, but he is not losing any weight.

I feel so guilty about this. I should have known better :( He used to love his mealtimes, he would do a little happy dance across the floor whenever I would feed them.

Can anyone give me any suggestions on how I might overcome this with Kasey. I just feel sick and need to regain his trust again..:shrug:

Thank you for any advice you may have and you may beat me about the head for doing this...god knows I deserve it :cry:

Karen

14+kitties
October 7th, 2010, 03:59 PM
May I suggest you stop using the spray bottle as "punishment". You may think they don't look at you as the baddy but guess what.... they know who's on the other end of that spray.
Kasey may not be enjoying his food as much because he is anticipating that spray. Or, conversely, he may be full. As a cat ages they don't typically eat as much. Does he come back to munch during the day or do you lift his food?
Is there some reason you separate the cats to eat? Why can't you put the food in one dish and let them share? It does sound like you are feeding dry? We have a marvelous website for you to check out if that is the case. www.catinfo.org. You will learn a ton of information on there. But I digress. You did not come here to ask about food. You asked about discipline.
If Kasey is still scratching in spots you don't want him to could you temporarily move the scratching posts to where he is scratching? Or, better yet, get another post. I am not a fan of spray bottles. In most cases I find a sharp clap with a stern NO is good enough. :thumbs up

kathryn
October 7th, 2010, 05:52 PM
I also have a male cat named Kasey about that age :p

First of all, you probably only want to reserve the squirt bottle for major no-no's. I use the squirt bottle when the cats scratch the furniture, when they are fighting too rough (not sticking my hands in there!) or when they jump on the counter or table.

I learned a trick that you also don't want to say "no don't do X". that it confuses animals because all they hear is "no" and that you are angry with them. Instead, when your cat is going to the incorrect dish, pick him up, bring him to his dish and say "this is your dish. use this dish" and use positive enforcement.

many people often forget to use positive training. I have found it works good to incorporate both a bit of squirt bottle use for the things they absolutely not supposed to be doing, but to also redirect them. I would NEVER recommend any type of negative training when it comes to eating, drinking or using the litterbox. Like if your cat is peeing on the floor (like mine do), yelling at them for peeing on the floor just further confuses them. now they just think "oh my, I am not supposed to pee at all!". Get my drift?


I have about 6 separate food bowls in my house for dry food. I do NOT free feed, this is simply so when I do give them their small amount of dry food in the morning and afternoon that they are able to spread out. I have 11 cats. I also have 3 small water bowls, a big water jug thing that holds a liter of water and a fresh flow water fountain for them. In a multiple cat household or really even with a single cat it is very important to let them have access to more than one food or water dish.

When I do feed them wet food at dinner we use 4+ plates between all of them.

catlover2
October 8th, 2010, 12:49 PM
You've received some good suggestions re discipline. Yes, I think you've got Kasey spooked about the water spray. To turn things around, put away the sprayer, and change Kasey's eating place to another room, or if that's not possible, another corner of the room you feed them---make sure the first few meals are particularly appetizing with some special treats he likes, e.g. cheese. Put the food down and walk away and let him eat without any interference. Let us know how it goes.

BenMax
October 8th, 2010, 12:55 PM
I would move his food bowl to another room and ensure that NO HUMAN is present so that he does not associate the spray bottle with people. He may just want to eat in peace. He may overcome this however it may take time and patience.

Good luck.

kasey&roxie
October 17th, 2010, 09:41 AM
Thank you everyone for your advice and information.

I have tried to feed Kasey in a different area of the house but he still continues to only eat small amounts at any time.

As it turns out his calcium level on his bloodwork has some back elevated. The vet said the range should be from 2 - 2.9 and his has come back twice at 2.98.

I have been doing lots of research and elevated calcium can make them feel crummy. I have to try and get a urine sample and tomorrow he is going in for x-rays. The vet did do a thorough manual exam and did not feel any masses around his abdomen or intestines and his lymph nodes do not appear to be swollen.

He is not vomitting, does not have diarrhea, is sleeping a bit more but does still have his moments of play. It is mostly just not wanting to eat very much. He seems to drinking okay and his urine output is about the same as usual, not peeing in inappropriate places etc.

I am going to start a different thread asking about hyperparathyroidism and elevated calcium as this can be a cause as well as some types of tumors.

As his eating level seems to have dropped over time I am inclined to think as his calcium was increasing he was feeling less like eating.

Thank you again for the information.

Karen

Kitcat333
October 19th, 2010, 09:24 AM
might you try moving his eating bowl to a happier place until he starts eating again and also, do not hang around while he is eating. Cats do not like it when you are too close when they eat - their predator/hunting instincts kick in and they are very territorial. Good luck. I use the water bottle with my kitten but never at the food place :-)

kasey&roxie
October 19th, 2010, 10:34 AM
Thanks Kitcat333. With Kasey and food it seemed to be the other way around. He wouldn't eat until I fed it to him. I leave food in their bowls all night so they can eat early in the morning if they want. In the morning when I got up he would be waiting in the kitchen and as soon as I walked into the kitchen he would go over and eat.

I would go down for my shower and he would follow me and wait outside the bathroom till I was done. Then he would run up the stairs ahead of me and into the kitchen and then start eating again.

Then we were discipling them for eating out of each others bowls, so his poor little mind was probably thinking..okay she feeds me :thumbs up..then she sprays me when I try to eat :cry: I don't know what to do..so I'll just eat a little bit at a time so I don't get sprayed :shrug:. At least that is my interpretation of how a cat's mind works..:laughing: Probably totally off base !

If this is the issue, I know it didn't develop overnight so I have to be patient and leave them alone to eat as I know it isn't going to be fixed overnight. We are awaiting his x-rays and urinalysis from yesterday from his elevated calcium diagnosis.

Anyway, I am feeding them in their same spot with two bowls and I don't care who eats what, where or how. Just as long as they eat. We have a female, Roxie as well and its even taken her a while to realize she could eat out of the other bowl without getting in trouble.

Thanks,

Karen

Jim Hall
October 19th, 2010, 10:46 AM
Anyway, I am feeding them in their same spot with two bowls and I don't care who eats what, where or how. Just as long as they eat. We have a female, Roxie as well and its even taken her a while to realize she could eat out of the other bowl without getting in trouble. :D:D:thumbs up