Reinforcing multiple behaviors - confusing?


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Jun 20, 2020
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Hi there everyone!

I have a very rambunctious and disobedient 7month kitten(?) on my hands. As he gets older lots of his behaviors are definitely not as "cute" anymore, and I'm to the point where I need some immediate intervention. Here are some of his less than favorable behaviors:
  1. Jumping on counters
  2. Sticking his nose into other people's foods (rude!)
  3. Crying excessively for treats, even after he's already eaten
  4. Crying for attention while I'm working or when my roommate is in her room (we give him plenty of attention on a regular basis)
  5. Biting when he doesn't get his way or when he's overstimulated from petting etc.
  6. Proceeding to attack and bite when he's averted from a bad behavior (this usually includes me moving away him from something he's gotten into or using a spray bottle)
  7. Sometimes attacking and biting with no provocation - just because he feels like it
So here's my question: I've read that spray bottles usually aren't effective, hence why he probably gets aggressive so I'd like to try ignoring him completely when he attention seeks or put him in time out when he bites, attacks, or gets into things he shouldn't. But I was wondering, would it be effective to use multiple "treatments" for multiple behaviors? Or would it be more effective to use one treatment for all the bad behaviors? Will he get confused?

I'm open to all suggestions and feedback!

I should also say that aside from these behaviors he's actually he sweetest kitty I've ever had (out of 7!) But certainly the most spoilt and the most demanding, opinionated, and disobedient! which I take part responsibility for.


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Jun 1, 2017
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Some folks here will give you a squirt gun lecture. I certainly won't, but it does seem to be true that some cats don't seem to mind the water. And if you have to run for the squirt gun, I'm dubious it works. So in the end, I'm with most folks here who think its just not the best option. We generally recommend a loud noise -- ie., "no!" "ouch!" clapping your hands, slapping the table, or making a "hiss!". For cases of biting that aren't responsive to that, there is a "make it not fun" strategy of holding the cat down (or onto you if he is latched on) by the scruff.

I don't think its important to use different methods per se. However, for jumping on counters, and/or trying to eat your food, thats just such a normal kitten thing that I use a different strategy as my first attempt. My first strategy is to simply pick up and put the kitten on the ground each and every dang time, 300x over weeks if necessary, which often works in the long run. If that doesn't work, you can go wit the loud noise approach, but it isn't any more effective or any quicker. For whatever reason, kitchen table/countertops tends to be one of the hardest ones, to the degree that many of us just stop worrying about it if food isn't being prepared/eaten at that moment. By contrast, you don't want to give up on or tolerate biting as that could get worse as the cat gets bigger/older.

I'd also carve out over-stimulation biting in that its best to learn the signals and simply avoid triggering the cat. Its not really fair to discipline the cat for over-stimulation biting and I'm not sure it would help either. Some of the gentlest cats will give a little nip if you pet them in a way they don't like or when they don't want it. A lot of times the sensitivity will go away as they age or get to know you better.

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May 1, 2020
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3.your the enabler and he knows he can work you :lol:dont feel bad i am an enabler also:lol:1. theres a thing called scat mat? i think its called gives a small shock to the cats paws i personally didnt like the idea of zapping my cat so i just figure long as she isnt on the counters(you can put money on it that when nobody is home he is up there) while i am cooking in the kitchen etc its fine she jumps down when i tell her to or say your not supposed to be up there 4. i just talk to graycie when she does that to me soon as i am free i play or give her the attention she wants 5.its gonna take time and patience to correct that and you should try to learn the signs o him getting to over stimulated ( ,ears going back ,eyeballs)could be just his tail swishing back and forth only or tail thumping the floor 6. and 7. this advice is not the best idea it worked for me and i got scars still because of it:lol: graycie used to bite etc when i would scoop her up and away from where she isnt supposed to be(breakfast bar ) she would bite hiss and all that but it doesnt scare me cause i am not scared to get bit by her after lots of times she knows she cant scare me or stop me so she just moves away on her own the biting attacking she went through that phase to my solution was to just pin her to the ground or against me just enough to immobilize her so she cant get to her feet and let her know hey i am bigger and stronger you cant win and telling her no biting! no claws!she would hiss and growl etc but i dont let her go until she meows after i let her go she might hiss at me still to get the last word and thats ok after she calms down and comes to sit next to me ( her way to say sorry )i talk to her give her head rubs ,treats or we play. keep in mind 6. and 7. are probably not the best methods to use you probably will bleed from it and its no good if you hold a grudge against him either 7 months he is a teenager cat so he is gonna rebel and become his own cat. graycie is spoiled rotten by me also took lots of time and patience from me to hash out the boundaries of whats acceptable behavior and whats not pics of her on the counter but i lose when she does that to me