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Why the water bottle won’t work on your cat

In this blog we will look at why using a water/spray bottle on your cat to change their behaviour is not only cruel but why it WON’T work! And why it’s damaging your relationship with your cat one spray at a time.

It’s not a good idea

Maybe you’re at the end of your tether.

Perhaps and your partner are arguing about the cat(s) and there is quite a lot of stress and anxiety in the home.

I’m sure you’ve tried other things, but perhaps nothing seemed to help.

Do any of these statements resonate for you?

Are you struggling to understand, reduce or stop an unwanted behaviour from your cat?

Trust me when I say … the water bottle is not the answer.

Yes there are some cat behaviourists, animal professionals, cat guardians and even vets who may have suggested and sworn by the efficacy of the using a spray bottle on a cat, but I am here to share with you why it’s not a good idea to use one.

Why it WON’T stop the behaviour AND why it’s damaging your relationship with your cat.

I am a qualified cat behaviourist, cat mum for over 15 years and have been working with cats for nearly 20 years.

I can assure you the water bottle isn’t the best way for you to deal with the problems you are facing. Let me tell you why.

You are punishing a normal cat behaviour

Cats are a different species to us humans. Would you use a spray water bottle on a child to stop them performing a certain behaviour? (Goodness I hope not!) So why is it deemed acceptable to use it on a cat?

I’ve used a spray water bottle on a cat. Many, many, many years ago before I understood the consequences of using one or understood different ways to support the issue I was facing.

As the Two Crazy Cat ladies say: Know better, do better.

I don’t believe there is such a thing as a ‘problem cat behaviour’. There is either a behaviour we don’t understand or a behaviour we don’t like.

It’s us humans that have the issue!

Before you reach for the water bottle to try and stop your cat doing the behaviour you don’t like or don’t want, take a moment to understand …

there is always a reason for a cats behaviour

  • Overgrooming – stress response
  • Jumping up onto the counter – cats need vertical spaces
  • Scratching the sofa – territory scent marking
  • Chasing another cat in the home – bored, territory issues, blocked trauma
  • Climbing the curtains – cats need vertical spaces
  • Attacking your legs – instigating play
  • Yowling/crying – possible pain/discomfort or instigating connection


And I could go on.

When we look at our cats behaviour and decide we want to change it, try looking at it from the cats perspective. Are you the one who needs to change?!

If you do need to intervene and change a cats behaviour, the most effective way to impact it is using positive reinforcement and re-direction.

The damage it’s causing

When you reach for the water bottle you are creating fear in the relationship with your cat. You are punishing the cat for doing what comes naturally to them.

The first few times you use it your cat will be startled and shocked so it may indeed stop the unwanted behaviour.

Consider the emotional damage it is doing to your cat when they act as only they know how, and they get punished for it.

Let me ask you … how would you feel if you got shouted at when you brushed your teeth?

Or how would it impact your emotional state and energy if I threw a stapler at you every time you picked up your phone?

These may sound like silly comparisons but the point I am trying to make is how would you FEEL if you were attacked, punished or abused when you did a normal human behaviour?

When you reach for that water bottle you are bringing fear, dominance, lack of empathy and understanding, control and negativity into your relationship with your cat.

Is that how you want to show up for your feline friend?

Why it won’t solve your problem

Using a water bottle with your cat won’t solve the problem you have.

They will still attack the other cat when you are out of the room. They will still jump up on the counter when your back is turned.

Why … because they are trying to fulfil an emotional/mental or physical need.

That’s what you need to address.

Do you need to bring more vertical, cat friendly spaces into the home? Do you need to engage with the cat more to burn off their energy, so they don’t direct it to another cat? Can you bring in emotional support such as herb gardens, colour therapy or essential oils to help their emotional health?

There are SOOOOOO many other options you can employ that don’t punish or diminish the cat.

Next time your cat does a behaviour you don’t like, try this:

  1. Take a deep breath.
  2. Try to understand why the cat is doing it. Get help if you need to.
  3. Understand what need they are trying to fulfil.
  4. Consider other ways can you meet that need.
  5. Come into a space of love and gratitude, thank the cat for showing you what they need rather than sitting in an energy of frustration and annoyance because you don’t like the behaviour.


I hope this blog has helped. Remember…there is no such thing as a problem behaviour. There are only normal cat behaviours that we don’t like or understand.

So take the time to get to know and understand what your cat is trying to tell you so you can support them rather than punish them.

If you want to know what your cat is thinking or feeling consider coming to join me for the Become a soul led cat guardian programme.

I look forward to connecting with you.

With Love,
Julie-Anne, Leo and Baby Max xxx


All Blogs by Julie-Anne Thorne

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