Scolding A Cat Tips
by Tamara T. Jessup
It's been my experience that cats always learn that you're "making it rain on their parade" (i.e. using a squirt bottle), and some cats really don't mind getting wet (unless you put cheap cologne into the water, in which case it can become a matter of which of you is more nauseated by the odor!). Two ideas - rattle cans/rattle booby traps and the nose tap. Putting some bits of metal with rounded edges (like washers or coins) into soda pop cans, taping them up, then arranging them so one is usually near, but out of the cat's reach, then dropping one very noisily (being careful to not actually throw it at the cat) when there's undesirable behavior or leaving them on a surface where you don't want the cat to go so they'll be knocked down if he/she jumps up there. Putting a few behind a light piece of cardboard for instance, not only acts as a deterrent, but is consistent, as the booby traps will work even in your absence.
For very serious infractions that occur when the cat is in reach, such as rough play that you didn't instigate, an affectionate nip that goes too far, or a pat or swat with claws extended, it can be effective to do what a mother cat does to her baby when it misbehaves in that manner: tap the cat on the nose with an extended finger (I can't overemphasize that what you'd be trying to do is duplicate the mother cat's paw action, NOT deliver a knockout punch; too much of a blow would likely make the cat head-shy). Used SPARINGLY, this is a good behavior modification tool.
© Tamara T. Jessup