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Is yelling at cat OK?

10 Ways to Crush Your Cat’s Spirit

10 Ways to Crush Your Cat’s Spirit

Famously independent, sometimes falsely assumed to be immune to feelings, cats are in truth super-sensitive to emotions, sound, and stress. Perhaps because felines lack the eager-to-please openness of their canine colleagues, humans overlook the big and small ways they can break a cat’s spirit. Are you guilty of any of these?

Not Cleaning the Litter Box

Leaving the box filled with kitty’s waste because some new cat litter promises freshness for multiple days. So you wait until the weekend for that dreaded chore of cleaning the cat litter box. Imagine leaving your own toilet unflushed all week long, and you’ll know how your cat feels. Dirty litter boxes also make it much more likely for cats to use another part of the house as their toilet. How often does a litter box need to be cleaned? Ideally, it should be done daily. The bonus is that it is not nearly as gross when done frequently.


Raised voices will terrify your cat. Feline ears are extra sensitive to loud and especially high-pitched noises. A cat who hears shouting will flatten her ears, lower her head, and look for a place to hide, away from the sound and fury.


Yelling “bad cat,” throwing things, swatting, and scolding your cat when she misses the litter box or claws the sofa does tell your cat that you are unhappy, but she’ll have no idea why. Grabbing her and shoving her face in a mess will leave her petrified, and fear will often make a cat’s behavior worse rather than better. Anger does not teach your cat to “behave,” it simply teaches her to be afraid of you.

Ignoring the Pain

Looking away when your cat repeatedly chews at a sore spot on her belly or furiously scratches at her ears. Cats are masters at hiding their discomfort, whether because an infected tooth makes eating difficult or a urinary tract infection makes litter box visits pure agony. Monitoring your cat’s well-being means being a pain detective so that you know something is ailing your cat, even if she can’t tell you directly. Make an appointment with your veterinarian if you ever think that your cat is in pain.

Not Providing Mental Stimulation

Left alone for long periods of times, cats will get bored and maybe a little stir crazy. When you leave, tune the radio to a classical music station (at low volume), place a comfortable cat perch by a window, and pack a food dispensing toy with a part of your cat’s meal. And at least a few times a week—if not every day—take time to play with your cat. Popular games are catching feathers or toys at the end of wands, and chasing laser lights.


Pulling on your cat’s tail (or letting your kids do so), blowing in her face, ruffling her fur while she’s sleeping, picking her up if she dislikes being handled, jiggling her in your arms—such antagonizing behavior confuses and agitates your cat. One of the few needs a cat has is to feel safe and secure in her home. An agitated cat who feels unsafe at home is more likely to run away at the first opportunity to look for a new home.

Skipping the Small Stuff

Never grooming your cat. Ignoring frequent hairballs, which may signal a digestive issue. Allowing her nails to grow so long that she snags them around the house. Not checking her ears for mites or infection, even when she shakes her head repeatedly. Ignoring her problems with chewing, which may signal gum or tooth trouble. These things add up and deplete your cat’s energy and well-being.


Hitting, kicking, or physically harming a cat in any way, from a “light tap” to a hard smack, is inhumane, morally wrong, and guaranteed to instill fear in any cat—breaking her spirit and her heart in the process. Physical pain never teaches correct behavior, only fear. And as previously mentioned, a cat who feels unsafe at home is more likely to run away at the first opportunity to look for a new home.

Not Cleaning the Water or Food Dishes

Filling a small bowl with water and forcing your cat to drink from it no matter how long it sits or how dirty it becomes is not just gross and stressful but can lead to health problems due to the “bad” bacteria that can grow in it. The same goes for the food bowl. Imagine eating from the same plate every day without cleaning it between meals.

Neglecting Your Cat

Offering your cat no attention, no conversation, no affection, no interaction, and no playtime can leave your cat depressed. Many people assume that cats are not social animals, but that is far from the truth. Cats benefit from affection and interaction from people. Some cats are naturally affectionate, while other cats are more skittish about being held and petted. If you have a skittish cat, leave yourself open to receiving affection from your cat and return it in kind. Your gentle attention and small gestures of affection will feed your cat’s soul and inspire her devotion to you.

Learn about cats’ hidden «stress symptoms:» 10 Signs Your Cat Might Be Stressed

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The content for this article is modified from 10 Ways to Unknowingly Crush Your Cat’s Spirit, by Kathy Blumenstock. It was originally published on

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5 Reasons Why Yelling at Your Cat is Wrong

The process of educating animals is a difficult one. It requires a lot of patience and remaining calm can be difficult when we factor in our daily stresses. Even with a companion animal we love dearly, it can be all too easy to lose our temper. Even though dogs are generally obedient animals, we can lose our patience with them from time to time. A cat’s nature means they don’t often acquiesce to commands, something which can be frustrating when they do something disruptive.

Regardless of the disruptions they can cause in the home, we cannot shout or yell at our cat. AnimalWised provides the 5 reasons why yelling at your cat is wrong. We not only show you what detrimental effect scolding has on your cat, but why it is an ineffective teaching method.

You may also be interested in: 5 Things You Do Wrong when You Walk Your Dog

  1. Why can’t I yell at my cat?
  2. Yelling at a cat is ineffective
  3. Yelling at a cat makes the situation worse
  4. Yelling at a cat hurts your bond
  5. Yelling at a cat is bad for you
  6. Yelling at a cat causes behavioral problems

Why can’t I yell at my cat?

For a cat and humans to live together in a home, there are certain boundaries which need to be respected. This goes both ways. While some people think you cannot train a cat, this is untrue. It can be seen in the fact most domestic cats can be taught how to use a litter tray easily. They are not likely to follow many orders, especially if they are complex. However, they can learn where they should or shouldn’t go, even if they may decide to flout the rules.

When we yell at our cat for doing something we disagree with, it can have a detrimental impact on their psychological well-being. Certain cats can be particularly sensitive. Although relatively independent, cats develop strong bonds with their human guardians. Yelling at or scolding them can hurt this bond. Yelling at a cat is wrong because:

  1. Yelling at a cat is ineffective
  2. Yelling at a cat makes the situation worse
  3. Yelling at a cat hurts your bond
  4. Yelling at a cat is bad for you
  5. Yelling at a cat causes behavioral problems

Below we explain why it is wrong to yell at a cat in more detail. You may be reading this article because you think your cat hates you, but avoiding yelling at your cat is a good start to improving your relationship.

1. Yelling at a cat is ineffective

When you yell at a cat, you usually do it because they have done something wrong. With a child, we can explain to them why what they have done is negative. This is not something which usually works when we scold them alone, but at least we can explain better after the fact.

With a cat, we often yell at or scold them when we see they have done something we don’t like. For example, if we come in to a room and see they have urinated on the carpet, it is understandable you will be angry when they defecate outside of their litter. But scolding the cat at this point will be ineffective. The cat will be doing something else at this point, perhaps napping or playing. Since these activities are healthy and important, if we scold them at this point, they will be confused. They won’t connect the yelling with the inappropriate urination.

Even when we scold a cat in the act of doing something wrong, it doesn’t mean they will connect the scolding with the action. If a cat hears us shouting in the home at general (down the phone, at the TV, etc.), they may not associate it with education and behavior. Much more effective is using positive reinforcement to encourage the cat to do something.

2. Yelling at a cat makes the situation worse

There may be various reasons why you yell at your cat. They may keep jumping on the counter, destroying property or even coming into your room when you sleep. Although they may be annoying for you, none of them are contrary to the cat’s natural behaviors.

A cat may be destructive because they are exercising their natural hunting instinct. They jump on top of counters because they like being in high places. This is related to sleeping up high in the wild to protect themselves from predators. Cats will also come in to see you when you are sleeping because they enjoy sleeping next to you.

When we stop our cats from engaging in their natural behavior, it will confuse them, but it may make the situation worse. Because they are stressed, they may be more likely to try to evade us by jumping on counter tops. They may become more destructive out of anxiety. They may try to bother us because they want to improve the bond.

3. Yelling at a cat hurts your bond

When we yell at our cat we are putting distance between us and the animal. Cats do not like loud noises or violence. For example, they will often not like to be around a vacuum cleaner. They may even be cautious and frightened of the inanimate object. Yelling and shouting at a cat will make them associate us with similar negative emotions. A similar response can include ignoring us or even becoming antagonistic.

Shouting at a cat hurts our bond to the point it can impair the more positive times we expect to spend with them. Cats usually love to be petted and caressed by the people they love. Scolding a cat means they will associate our presence negatively to the point they don’t want to be in our presence. Yelling at a cat is just one of the common sounds cats hate.

4. Yelling at a cat is bad for you

We have already discussed how yelling at a cat is bad for your bond and we explain more about the trauma it causes a cat below. However, it is important to remember the psychic effect it will have on you as a person. Yelling at a cat is a violent and negative behavior. It will encourage negative thoughts and feelings in ourselves.

If our response to seeing an innocent animal simply carry out natural behaviors is to scream, there is probably something wrong with us. Shouting may seem natural, but it is rarely a healthy way to deal with a problem. We should examine ourselves and our own feelings to see if we are stressed or suffering in some way. After such an examination, it is likely to reveal how our own frustrations contribute to how we treat the animals in our lives.

Rather than yelling at a cat, we should spend more time playing with them, show them affection and understand them better. You will likely see problematic behavior resolve itself and you will have less desire to shout in general.

5. Yelling at a cat causes behavioral problems

This is something particularly important when we consider what it is we are shouting at them about. A cat has the nature of a cat. While this may seem obvious, too many cat guardians try to treat them like human beings. This means we expect them to understand certain boundaries and conventions which are beyond them. For example, it would make sense for us not to bring something dirty on to a clean white sofa. A cat won’t understand the concept.

When we scold a cat for doing something we don’t like, just because we don’t like it we cause great confusion. This leads to psychological stress and anxiety. When we regularly shout at a cat for doing things we don’t want them to do, we can cause them trauma. If we hit them physically, this will compound the problem further. Our article on signs your cat is stressed can help us recognize when this is happening.

Yelling at a cat can cause them to worsen behaviors, but it can also create completely new ones. They may scratch and bite us when we try to pet them because they fear we are going to continue trauma. When we behave negatively toward a cat, it is foolish to think they won’t act out negatively in response.

Scolding and yelling at our cat is just one of the mistakes we cat guardians can make. Check out our video below to see what else we need to avoid when caring for a cat:

If you want to read similar articles to 5 Reasons Why Yelling at Your Cat is Wrong, we recommend you visit our Basic education category.

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