Cats punish with water – That's why the water gun is not a good idea!

Is the water gun really a good and “anonymous” punishment for cats?

The idea itself isn’t bad: the cat scratches the new sofa and -ZACK! – a stream of water comes out of nowhere. It’s a well-known fact that cats don’t like to get wet.

But does it really work? Does the cat then think, “If I scratch the sofa, I’ll get wet, so I better not do that?”. And can’t she really see that it was you who splashed her?


Cats are not stupid. They will quickly understand that it is their human who is behind the water attacks. Maybe not the first time you use the water gun to train cats. But sooner or later she will link the punishment to your presence and to the item in your hand.

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Punishing cats with water can backfire !

Your So the cat notices that it is you who are making it wet with water. This can make her scared of you.

Your cat will notice very well that you have wet it with the spray bottle or water gun – it can get scared of you! Image: Elena Rozhenok / Because she understands not, why and for what you punish them. In her eyes she didn’t do anything wrong, she acted according to her instincts and needs:

Cats jump on the table for example because they like elevated places . And because they’re curious.

The sofa is scratched because it’s a great place to leave scratch marks to mark your territory. Or simply to stretch after a nap.

She pees on the bathroom rug because the litter box is too dirty for her. Or because it has a hood under which it smells very unpleasant for her sensitive nose. Or because she doesn’t like the location of the litter box in the busiest room. The issue of the litter box is a very tricky one for cats anyway…

And there is another big problem when punishing cats with water :

You don’t show your cat an alternative!

Even if yours Cat should understand what she did wrong – how should she know how to do it right?

Very rarely, but it happens: Some very playful and self-confident cats even see it as a game when their human shoots at them with a spray bottle! So it can even happen that she shows unwanted behavior even more often when she wants the attention of the cat owner.

To summarize again, why the punishment of a cat with water is not a good idea:

Your cat will know you’re getting it wet. She can get scared of you She does not know what you punish them for You show her in no alternative at the moment Some cats feel that Shooting with water even as a game This is how it works better: cat training without punishment – and without a water pistol

If your cat is doing something you don’t want, just say “No.” In one go strict tone of voice. But not too loud: cats don’t like to roar at all, after all they have much better ears than humans. If you yell at your cat, it can lose trust in you and become afraid of you. Always use the same word so your cat will learn it over time.

The “no” needs to be immediate while your cat is showing unwanted behavior. A late command confuses. Sie.

It is particularly important that you give your cat a Alternative on misconduct show:

Your cat is scratching the sofa? Say “no” and then gently carry her to the scratching post. Show her how great she can scratch the sisal with your fingers! Your cat jumps on the table or the kitchen work surface? Say “no” and pick her up on the awesome catwalk or scratching post. Maybe you can make those great raised spots even more attractive for them with a pillow, a toy, or some catnip? Does she have enough such places? Your cat is peeing into the flat? Say “no” and carry her to the litter box. You should also check the number, type, cleanliness, and location of litter boxes. Here you will find a checklist for the perfect litter box. Your cat meows unusually often? Find out why she’s doing this. Ignoring usually helps best here. Cat training works better with rewards

“Yes, who scratched the scratching post? Fine! ” – Rewards work much better than punishments in cat training! Image – Nils Jacobi / Punishments such as the water gun are therefore not conducive to cat training. It works much better with rewards if your cat is good or shows desired behavior:

She uses the scratching post instead of the sofa or the wallpaper for scratching? A few loving words, a little stroking or a treat will show your cat that you think it’s great.

She’s lying on the cat window lounger instead of on the dining table ? Reward her with your attention and a snuggle.

As with saying “No!”, it is also important when giving a reward that it is given at the right moment. That is, directly when she performs the alternative behavior that you once showed her on her own. There is one exception: cats don’t want to be disturbed in the litter box – so you shouldn’t throw treats at them when they’re doing their business…

534313 Featured image (whole above): Peleg Shir /

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