The easiest way to create a confident cat that behaves well is to spend more than equal time on the things the cat does right. Sure Kitty gets plenty of corrections when he does caca, doo doo, pooh pooh where he’s not supposed to—but do you spend the same or, better yet, more time kissing, hugging, and loving him when he uses the litter box or performs some other minor feat? I doubt it. Most people don’t. At best there is a “good boy” and a pat on the head. But what happened to “Yeah! What a good boy!” followed by kisses, hugs, a belly scratch, a head rub, more kisses, extra hugs and then “You’re a terrific cat, wow are you a good boy!” followed by more kisses and hugs, another pat on the head and then, when you’re done, repeating the whole process all over again?
Neighbors might find your antics a bit strange, but why would you care? Your cat will be well behaved, while they’re struggling along for months or years with homes reeking like bad pet shops and full of tattered furniture. You’ll always have the last laugh. I even had people tell me their kids got potty trained at the same time they were working with Kitty because of all the praising and loving going on. Now that’s a fringe benefit if ever I heard one.
You must present a clear picture for your cat of exactly what makes you happy. Cats usually don’t have an opportunity to see this as clearly as we think they do. We all know that pets are willing to please their guardians—so when they don’t, don’t you think it might be that their guardians just aren’t getting their points across? We don’t have to dominate our cats with corrective techniques, we just have to go overboard on all the things our kitties do properly. Believe me, they do more good things than you probably realize, so we must take the time to constantly tell them how wonderful they are. We must love, kiss, hug, and touch them for every positive accomplishment. Cats that feel good about themselves will behave better for you. If you build their confidence they will respond in kind. They must have a good self-image. If they think they’re a failure at life, then what’s the sense of trying? Let them know how smart, intelligent, and well loved they are. They’ll live up to your expectations.
And please don’t reserve your positive thoughts and actions only to those times when kitty has done something right. It’s OK to tell her how wonderful she is for no reason at all. Stroke her ego and help her build a positive self-image. So go ahead, give Kitty a hug and a big kiss. Tell her what a good cat she is, even if she’s doing nothing. Praise her, tell her she’s wonderful, and give her a kiss and a hug for no reason. And while you’re at it, give her a hug and kiss for me.