Author Topic: When people disipline your pets.  (Read 8180 times)

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edgypeanuts

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Re: When people disipline your pets.
« Reply #30 on: January 04, 2014, 01:00:34 PM »

And I must say that I am also surprised at the posters who say that their cats are allowed to walk on the counters. Given that cats step in the litter box, if I saw that a friend allowed her cats on the countertops, I would never eat any food offered by that friend again.

I find that some people are shocked by this, which is why I mentioned it- so people don't assume that every cat on a counter is doing something wrong.

We have several high energy dogs and several cats.  The cats feel safer when the dogs are playing if they can get up high and out of the way. (they are not scared of the dogs, just don't like the commotion) They also each have an eating spot on the counter so that the tall dogs cannot bother them. 
We tend to live in our kitchen (it is where our main computer and TV are) and if the cats weren't allowed on the main counter they would miss most of their snuggle time as we don't tend to retire to a living room couch.  (Clyde is between me and the keyboard right now.) Our main island/counter area is NOT where we prepare food and we wipe it down with disinfectant at least once a day.  Similarly, we do not leave food or dishes out and areas are cleaned before we prepare or put any food on them.  All and all, I think our food prep is likely cleaner than most people who often think nothing of setting the mail or purses on the counter. 

If people choose to not eat my food because of it, I am fine with that and will try not to judge them for it.  I understand the feeling as if I saw someone roll out dough on a counter they had not cleaned first it would gross me out, whether they had pets or not!

Just providing some of the reasons why different families and households may have different rules.  :-)

Library Dragon

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Re: When people disipline your pets.
« Reply #31 on: January 04, 2014, 01:23:07 PM »
I think that a lot of people do see animals on a dining/food prep surface as directly affecting them.

But that doesn't give them the right to yell at the animals.

Perhaps not yelling, no. But I've noticed often that anytime some of my friends are relating a story about someone telling them something negative about themselves, they refer to that person as "yelling at them". For example "I was at the store and someone yelled at me for leaving my cart at the end of the aisle!" I then ask "Wow, they really screamed at you?" And their response is usually something like "No, but they told me not to do it and I could tell they were upset."

I have to wonder if these people were really yelling at the cat, as it seems very unusual to have two separate people scream at a cat for sniffing.

And I must say that I am also surprised at the posters who say that their cats are allowed to walk on the counters. Given that cats step in the litter box, if I saw that a friend allowed her cats on the countertops, I would never eat any food offered by that friend again.

Thanks Sharnita and menley for wording this better than I.

Growing up we always had indoor cats and dogs, but the cats were never allowed on the table or counters.

If a cat jumped on either one in front of me I might speak sharper than intended out of surprise. It wouldn't be malicious.

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citadelle

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Re: When people disipline your pets.
« Reply #32 on: January 04, 2014, 01:51:26 PM »
I think that a lot of people do see animals on a dining/food prep surface as directly affecting them.

But that doesn't give them the right to yell at the animals.

Perhaps not yelling, no. But I've noticed often that anytime some of my friends are relating a story about someone telling them something negative about themselves, they refer to that person as "yelling at them". For example "I was at the store and someone yelled at me for leaving my cart at the end of the aisle!" I then ask "Wow, they really screamed at you?" And their response is usually something like "No, but they told me not to do it and I could tell they were upset."

I have to wonder if these people were really yelling at the cat, as it seems very unusual to have two separate people scream at a cat for sniffing.

And I must say that I am also surprised at the posters who say that their cats are allowed to walk on the counters. Given that cats step in the litter box, if I saw that a friend allowed her cats on the countertops, I would never eat any food offered by that friend again.

Thanks Sharnita and menley for wording this better than I.

Growing up we always had indoor cats and dogs, but the cats were never allowed on the table or counters.

If a cat jumped on either one in front of me I might speak sharper than intended out of surprise. It wouldn't be malicious.

I think it is also unusual that both of these different people on different days used the expression, "Don't you dare!" Or maybe that is just how the OP remembers it.

sevenday

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Re: When people disipline your pets.
« Reply #33 on: January 04, 2014, 02:36:59 PM »
I'm with the others - "Don't yell at her, it's not necessary."  If you feel the need and trust them (you say you've been friends for 20 years) you can say "Let me handle it - but if I'm not in the room, just clap to get her attention and then say 'no' and that should do it. Don't worry, she's a good kitty."

I had a relative try to discipline my service dog once.  He was on leash at a family gathering (at my parents' house, semi-outdoors - garage with doors open) and wandered a bit away from me to check out someone sitting nearby.  Everyone was holding food, but the point of interest at the moment was not the food, but the person - he was sniffing their shoes if I recall.  Someone else behind us suddenly reached down and grabbed the leash and gave a hard jerk toward me, which made him let out a short yelp as he was forcibly dragged back.  Everyone in earshot turned to us, and I whipped around to look at my uncle.  "Don't DO that," I snapped, then reached down to check on my dog, who was now crowding against my leg in confusion and fear.  The uncle in question spent the rest of the day sulking in a corner because everyone kept giving him the evil eye.   Was what I said rude? Yes, but so was what HE did!  Another time I was at a friend's house, and her boyfriend used his arm to scrape her cat off the back of a chair without warning.  The friend didn't see, but I did.  I asked her later if the cat was allowed on the chairs and she said yes.  I told her what I saw, and she was initially just a bit... "OK" about it.  A couple weeks later she told me that my 'tattling' had made her tune in more and pay attention to how he treated her cat, and she did dump him shortly thereafter.

EllenS

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Re: When people disipline your pets.
« Reply #34 on: January 04, 2014, 02:47:13 PM »
I do have an incident with a cat to confess on myself.

When I was in high school, my best friend had 2 cats.  One was both affectionate and unpredictable.  I had never had pets, and my friend seemed unable to decipher her cat's behavior.

One evening while we were watching a movie, the cat came along the back of the sofa and started sniffing/purring and nuzzling my hair, which I thought was really cute.  Then without warning, she sank her fangs into the back of my head. (drew blood)

I confess, I knocked the cat quite a few feet across the room.  I am glad to say the cat was much less hurt than I was.  I still have no idea why she did that, but I did not let that cat get near me again.

Katana_Geldar

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Re: When people disipline your pets.
« Reply #35 on: January 04, 2014, 03:30:41 PM »
First time my Dad came over he put a bag on the couch for ten seconds and one of our cats (who loves bags and boxes of all kinds) came over to investigate. He yelled at the cat and scared her, which shocked both me and DH. DH said he would have a big problem with my Dad if that happened again, fortunately it hasn't even though the same circumstances happened again. He put a bag on the couch, she sniffed it and peeped inside, then he moved the bag.

I would never discipline someone else's pet, it's not going to make much sense to them coming from me anyway.

And about counters, when I first moved in DH let the cats on the table. I asked him if this could stop and it's been that way since. They still do it from time to time though and we have to remind them.

EllenS

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Re: When people disipline your pets.
« Reply #36 on: January 04, 2014, 03:35:00 PM »
First time my Dad came over he put a bag on the couch for ten seconds and one of our cats (who loves bags and boxes of all kinds) came over to investigate. He yelled at the cat and scared her, which shocked both me and DH. DH said he would have a big problem with my Dad if that happened again, fortunately it hasn't even though the same circumstances happened again. He put a bag on the couch, she sniffed it and peeped inside, then he moved the bag.

I would never discipline someone else's pet, it's not going to make much sense to them coming from me anyway.

And about counters, when I first moved in DH let the cats on the table. I asked him if this could stop and it's been that way since. They still do it from time to time though and we have to remind them.

As far as cats on the counters, I assume if someone has cats, their feet have been on every surface in the house. (including inside the cabinets and in the pots & pans-seen it too often)  I make my decisions about whether to accept food in that house, from how frequently and thoroughly the person cleans, rather than their statements or beliefs about whether the cats are "allowed" on the counters.

In my experience, "cat is not allowed" means "cat has learned to only do this when I'm not looking".

Amanita

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Re: When people disipline your pets.
« Reply #37 on: January 04, 2014, 03:39:43 PM »
I have gotten after a friend's cat on a couple of occasions- she likes to sharpen her claws on furniture and carpet. She's a few years old, my friend adopted her from the SPCA, so she probably picked up the habit from her previous living situation.  Now, my friend is trying to break her of the habit. So when I was visiting one day, he was at the other end of the apartment, while Miss Pussycat was in the living room with me. She got up, stretched, and proceeded to use the arm of the couch as a handy claw sharpener, with me sitting right there. So I said "Cat, Stop That!" just loud enough to get her attention. She quit digging the couch. When my friend came back into the room, I told him what had happened. Likewise on another visit when she started digging the carpet- my friend was elsewhere and I was right there. I knew she wasn't allowed to do that, so I discouraged her. My friend wasn't mad at me- I didn't scream at or hit her, just a firm "Stop that!", done when she's doing something I knew wasn't allowed, and he wasn't right there to deal with it.

immadz

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Re: When people disipline your pets.
« Reply #38 on: January 04, 2014, 04:21:58 PM »
Good ideas from other posters already. I think dealing with it at the time with "please don't yell at my cat" or some variation that sounds normal to you is good.

One of my friends tapped my cat on the nose once. She climbed up onto the back of the couch and was sniffing his head. I didn't know he didn't like cats. I thought it was cute that she was trying to smooch him. Anyway he kept shaking his hand in front of her which made her try and play so she grabbed his hand with her paws. He tapped her on the nose and said "No!"

I was horrified. I said "don't hit her" and I got up, grabbed kitty, gave her a cuddle and put her on the couch next to me. He left after that and has not been back.

 I love cats. I have been owned by a cat and I have tapped her on the nose to get her to stop doing something. To be honest, I kind of feel sorry for your friend. Your cat was in what can be defined a his personal space. His hair, his hands. I would say the same thing if your baby was walking over your friend and they told the child not to. It might have been better for your friend to ask you to get your cat away from his hair. But I don't think what he did was necessarily all that egregious.


cross_patch

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Re: When people disipline your pets.
« Reply #39 on: January 04, 2014, 05:04:11 PM »
I really think it's pretty much like "do you discipline someone else's child?"

In certain situations, non-pet-owners (and non-parents) are OK to step in. Life-and-limb situations (in which case, you don't so much yell, etc., as intervene--call the puppy/child away, pick up the animal/child and move them out of danger, etc.).

And of course, situations in which you've expressly been *delegated* the task of disciplining (you were taught the code words, or have been asked to be responsible).

Others, you either just shut up and butt out, or you say things like, "Kitty/Child, are you allowed on that table?" loud enough so Mom can hear.

And isn't it funny, OP, that the mere sniffing set both these people off? That they can't fathom that sniffing may be all the cat is intending to do, and you could probably wait and see, but they have to react RIGHT NOW? And they have to make a BIG DEAL out of it, instead of simply saying at a conversational tone, "no, kitty--don't you get on that table!" (But when the owner --or parent-- is right there, especially if it's not your table, I think it's off to issue an order directly to the pet or child. That's taking over their role.)

And I'm so intrigued by your choice of words--you described them both as "screaming." How much of your description is hyperbole, and how much is strictly accurate?

As for how to handle it, I think you might consider "channeling your inner daycare worker." Because you mentioned that when you thought about responding, you kept mentally wanting to yell back at them. To me that's a sign that your own emotions are deeply involved. And I think of the *best* daycare workers as being quite clinical about misbehavior. They don't get mad at kids in their care, because, well, that's just what kids are, so you correct them as calmly as possible simply because it is effective.
    So if you were a -good- daycare worker, and a 3yo in your care yelled at a pet, how would you respond? You'd teach, right? And you calmly lay down rules.

So you say, "We don't yell at the kitty--it doesn't do any good, because he doesn't speak English, and he doesn't think you're talking to him, but it upsets the people who also hear it. We don't interfere with the kitty until *after* he has actually jumped on the table, because otherwise it just confuses him. Expressing an interest in the bags on the table is not a problem. And since we wash the table before every meal, we really don't get that upset about the occasional foot on the table."

Or, you say, "Please leave all the yelling at and disciplining of the cat to me. If you think I need to be alerted to what the cat is doing, just say something quietly to me."

This just seems like a very patronising response. I don't think everything is a 'teaching moment', particularly for adults. Wouldn't it be more straightforward to say please don't shout at the cat?

PastryGoddess

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Re: When people disipline your pets.
« Reply #40 on: January 04, 2014, 05:54:25 PM »
I think it's bizzare.  I mean my cats listen to the people in this household because they know us.  I can't even imagine that they would listen to a strange person yelling at them. 

Really? I've never had a cat that listened to anybody. Especially anybody yelling.

Oh, I've been successful now and then in shooing them off from some place by clapping at them right next to them. But simple yelling? None of my cats have ever paid the slightest bit of attention. Oh, sometimes they might cringe a little bit, but it's *only* for show. It never stops them doing anything.

My cats understand and react to the word no, mostly because we don't use it very often.  They also understand that there are certain place in the house they can't go (when we're not looking of course).  The also know their names, although they pick and choose when they want to acknowledge us. 

I don't yell at my cats unless they are getting into a hissy fight.  Other than that, we simply give negative commands in a sharp tone of voice.

Mel the Redcap

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Re: When people disipline your pets.
« Reply #41 on: January 04, 2014, 06:13:00 PM »
I think it's bizzare.  I mean my cats listen to the people in this household because they know us.  I can't even imagine that they would listen to a strange person yelling at them. 

Really? I've never had a cat that listened to anybody. Especially anybody yelling.

Oh, I've been successful now and then in shooing them off from some place by clapping at them right next to them. But simple yelling? None of my cats have ever paid the slightest bit of attention. Oh, sometimes they might cringe a little bit, but it's *only* for show. It never stops them doing anything.

I've always had cats that do listen... to certain people, and certain tones. It needs to be someone they seem to think of as the 'boss' or 'parent', and it needs to be the tone that means "Stop That Right Now Or There Will Be Trouble". (And if they don't stop, the trouble needs to arrive!)

Right at the moment we've got Holly and April. Holly comes when she's called (with reasonable consistency); April won't, but both will get down off surfaces or stop scratching something if we raise our voices with a particular deep emphasis. There's another tone of voice that means "I See What You're Thinking Of Doing There" which will get them to turn around and go "Me? No, I wasn't about to jump up on the fish tank, I was just... looking at it! While wiggling my rear! Honest!", but doesn't have the same immediate "argh I'm in trouble" impact. I don't know if we've just always picked odd cats, or have lucked into the right tone of voice etc and kept using it. ;)

I'm fairly sure the "Stop That Right Now" tone of voice would upset a lot of people if I used it to their pets, in their home... but I wouldn't, unless it was something like seeing a cat about to launch itself onto a hot stovetop. :P
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Possum

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Re: When people disipline your pets.
« Reply #42 on: January 04, 2014, 06:50:41 PM »
(you didn't ask, but if you do want to train your guy off the counters- get him a high place where he is allowed to be (a cat tree or table that he is allowed to be on) and then try a boobytrap on the counters where you don't want him.  Empty soda cans with pennies in them on top of a sheet of tinfoil works great.  When they jump up, they disturb the foil and send the popcans flying.  It is loud but won't hurt them if it lands on them.  Works best if they are jumping up, less if they are able to step up from a stool or chair.)
I tried this once.  Didn't work too long.  It's not the method, it was my cat.  She was... Headstrong.  And crafty.  I tried cinnamon, cayenne pepper, and tinfoil, nothing worked for too long (though the pepper was the best and least wasteful), eventually she'd be back up there.

Of course, she did stay off the counter for a few weeks after the unfortunate flypaper incident.  Heh.  (It was totally her own doing.)

Roe

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Re: When people disipline your pets.
« Reply #43 on: January 04, 2014, 07:43:24 PM »
Like Toots, I also equate this with correcting someone else's child.  Unless the pet and/or child are in danger, you stay out of it.

I wouldn't like someone correcting my dogs or my children.  Stay out of it or go home!

Figgie

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Re: When people disipline your pets.
« Reply #44 on: January 04, 2014, 08:20:23 PM »
I just finished reading this thread and had to laugh.  :)  I just had to scruff one of the cats and give her a gentle shake because not even the dreaded squirt bottle kept her from appointing herself guardian of the food and water dishes and preventing all of the other cats from eating or drinking. 

I needed to remind her that the biggest cat here is me and treating her like a Momma cat treats a kitten is one of the ways that our vet recommended dealing with that kind of behavior.  It appears to have worked, as she is now in my lap purring away and her whole attitude is "what food and water dishes are you talking about?"  :)

I don't need other people to yell at our cats.  I can do that if it is needed. 

I don't allow them on counters or tables. I keep a 20 page booklet (the perfect size) where I can skim it along the counter/table at the cat so that they jump off.  I've never managed to actually connect the booklet with the cat, but it seems to startle them enough that they hop right down.  I prefer that to water because I have to wipe up any water whereas I just have to collect the booklet and put it back where it lives near the hallway to the kitchen.

My spouse says I should own stock in bleach wipes.  :)  I work under the assumption that when we are gone, the cats are performing all acts of A Midsummer Nights Dream on every counter and table top. 

Since I know where those paws have been, everything is wiped down before any food prep and I wipe them every morning and multiple times during the day.

I've never had anyone yell at any of the cats, but I have heard plaintive requests to remove the extroverted ones from non-cat lovers laps.  I just put them in the bedroom, as it isn't a relaxing visit for anyone if I have to keep removing a clinging cat from someone who doesn't like cats.  :)