But I can certainly think of times when I have told my cats 'no' and they didn't seem to hate me for it. They realized they were not making the right choice and made a better one. i.e. sitting on a bird cage. Trust me they don't do it when I am not home either or I would be coming home to tailess cats!
Right! That's exactly what I'm saying and you have just reinforced it. If the cats sit on the birdcage, and have their tails bitten, they will DECIDE that sitting on the cage is not a pleasureable or rewarding activity! They don't stay off the cages when you arent' home because you told them to make a better choice.
If they sat on the cages, and consequently had the pleasure of catching or playing with/torturing the birds, they would do it when you're not home, believe me, because NOT doing it would make no sense to them if doing so rewards them. Plus your birds are large parrots. Try having a cage full of finches and see if you get the same result.
A whole different ballgame.
I've said "No" to my cats also. But that is very different than squirting with water a 10 year old cat who feels his territory has been invaded and is in aggression mode. A cat like this need redirection/distraction and not punishment.