When cats misbehave, we often try to punish them. From our point of view, our behavior is meant to correct the cat’s behavior. However from the cat’s point of view, the cat is simply trying to do what he or she wants to do and some crazy human is getting all upset for no reason. Thus cats tend to look at humans as unpredictable apes who deserve nothing less than total contempt.
Rather than try to punish a cat, Dr. Buffington suggests that you use positive reinforcement. “The way to train a cat is through their environment,” Buffington said. For example, put two-sided tape on the corner of your couch, or tinfoil on the kitchen counter. Then, put the now-more-attractive alternative nearby: A scratching post covered with catnip, or the awesome cat tree you built from scavenged driftwood. When your cat does the thing you want her do to, reward her with a treat, or affection. “You let the house provide the negative reinforcement, while you provide the positive reinforcement,” Buffington said.