Your kitty makes a show of sitting with his back to you, ignoring you? He may lick his paw or just stare ahead into nothingness. If this sounds familiar, it means that your cat is giving you the silent treatment.

Cats can show their discontent in many different ways. Some of these are fairly obvious – for example hissing at the vet. Other more subtle signs may be less obvious to people, but it doesn’t take a lot of thought to pinpoint the source of the hassle. A good example may be when cats use their paw to “bury” food they don’t like. It may happen though that your feline companion is trying his hardest to communicate, but you are completely indifferent to these efforts…

A typical example is the silent treatment.

When small kittens are born, their mother has to take care of their proper development. First, she tends to their basic needs, and, when the time is right, she teaches them proper behaviour. She shows them how to stay clean and hunt, but she also slips in a few tips on social life. It would be hard to mind the little rascals otherwise. When the mother wants to show her offspring that certain behaviour is unacceptable (though not a serious offence yet), she will seat with her back to her kiddies and ignore them.

Cats often use this mechanism in their adult life. That’s how their show they are not happy with someone’s behaviour. They do not limit this to their own kind. Everyone may fall victim to the silent treatment, be it a human or other animals in the household. So when your kitty sits with his back to you next time, try to figure out what he’s after. Maybe he is outraged by the lack of attention on your side?

Interestingly, this works both ways. Humans can also easily use this trick. If your cat is acting up, turn around and sit with your back to him immediately. The more theatrical you are about it, the clearer the message. This will show your cat that what he did was wrong. You pretty much use his own language to communicate. This method is much more effective than shouting or physical punishment (which is strictly condemned on this blog!)

Remember: cats learn the rules best when the desired behaviour is rewarded and the unwanted ignored. Shouting and punishing may only aggravate behavioural problems..

What about you? Does your kitty give you the silent treatment often? Or maybe you use this method too?

 

 

 

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