picking up a cat by his/her tail - VeggieBoards - A Vegetarian Community
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#1 Old 06-14-2006, 06:09 PM
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i just recently found out that when my cat (Lucky) does something wrong my dad will pick him up by his tail. from what ive heard it hasnt happened in awhile, but it has happened to Lucky when he was an adult and no longer a small kitten. my dad says this doesnt hurt cats, they just dont like it and its a form of punishement. i am not so sure. Lucky weighs 20 pounds (just big, not fat). it does not seem like a good idea to pick him up by his tail, it seems like it might break his tail.



any thoughts on this at all? i am very concerned and tried talking to my dad about it be he said that he will punish how he sees fit, and pain is the best form of punishment to get something (or someone) to obey. (he also smacks Lucky sometimes when he is on the table or where he shouldnt be)



im worried about Lucky. if he gets picked up by his tail again could he be seriously injured?
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#2 Old 06-14-2006, 06:13 PM
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I always thought that could break their spines.
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#3 Old 06-14-2006, 06:14 PM
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This is from the Purina Cat Chow Cat Care Center:



It is absolutely, 100% WRONG to pick up a cat by its tail. In fact, it could be dangerous. Some very important nerves run through the sacrum and down the tail. These nerves are involved in urinary and fecal continence. Damage to these nerves, such as trauma from picking a cat up by its tail, could cause a cat to lose bladder and bowel control. These cats don’t make acceptable pets, and usually end up being euthanized.

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#4 Old 06-14-2006, 06:47 PM
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Ask your dad if he thinks "it wouldn't hurt - he just wouldn't like it" if he were to be picked up and held by his pinky finger.
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#5 Old 06-14-2006, 07:05 PM
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Yeah, that's not cool. No offense, but your dad's an idiot if he think that's going to help train the cat.
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#6 Old 06-14-2006, 07:17 PM
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Agree and I feel bad for Lucky.
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#7 Old 06-14-2006, 07:23 PM
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Sorry to be so blunt, but your father's a sadist. I think you're lucky he hasn't abused you, too. (I hope that's the case).



If he was a stranger, I'd say contact the nearest Humane society. But I don't know what to suggest in this case. Perhaps try to keep the cat away from your father as much as possible.



Poor (not so) Lucky.

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#8 Old 06-14-2006, 07:41 PM
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A spray bottle with some water in it will train cats to stay off the table and say No firmly. it works very quickly and doesn't hurt the cat.
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#9 Old 06-14-2006, 07:42 PM
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yah well i dunno. i was so shocked to find that out, because i was trying to convince them to let us get a kitten, and mom said it should get declawed. and i was like "no no dont do that" (cuz they had declawed Lucky before i realized that is wrong) and so we got to talking about what to do if a cat does something wrong, and dad said that about Lucky. i was so horrified i dont even want another cat anymore, and im keeping Lucky in my room as much as possible. i tried telling dad that it would hurt Lucky to pick him up like that, and he wouldnt listen to me, then eventually said that thing about pain being the best punishment. its no use trying to convince him otherwise, he wont even listen to me and got all mad. so im keeping Lucky in my room as much as i can from now on.
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#10 Old 06-14-2006, 07:44 PM
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Originally Posted by berrykat View Post

A spray bottle with some water in it will train cats to stay off the table and say No firmly. it works very quickly and doesn't hurt the cat.



exactly. i tried to tell him that, but he said something about "im not gonna play games with squirt guns, when i punish him im doing it my way" and wouldnt even listen.
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#11 Old 06-14-2006, 07:47 PM
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The problem with applying pain (positive punishment) is that the animal associates the pain with the person and not with the thing they are doing. The cat doesn't learn "stay off the table", it learns "this guy is irrational and mean". It's much the same reason that you should never scold a puppy when housebreaking it, animals learn differently than us.



Lucky is lucky to have you watching out for his interests.
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#12 Old 06-14-2006, 07:58 PM
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Originally Posted by kpickell View Post

It's much the same reason that you should never scold a puppy when housebreaking it, animals learn differently than us.





One thing I learned from first hand experience is that baby talking "No no no! You're a naughty puppy! Yes you are! Yes you are!" while petting them is a bad idea too.
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#13 Old 06-14-2006, 08:21 PM
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Originally Posted by chocolatelover View Post

...then eventually said that thing about pain being the best punishment.



Oooh, oooh, I have an idea! Hit your dad over the head with a golf club every time he does something wrong. He'll eventually learn to stop being "bad"!



Wow, I thought my dad was bad because he yells "HEY!! NO! BAD GIRL!" at my cat and will sometimes give her a tiny pat on the butt (no idea exactly what he thinks he's accomplishing here) when she does something "wrong".. that is, if she doesn't run away first.. which she usually does as soon as she knows she's caught doing something she's not supposed to.
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#14 Old 06-14-2006, 08:23 PM
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I'm glad you found out about this so you can keep your dad away from Lucky as much as possible. If I found out anybody ever physically hurt any of my pets, I'd beat the living crap out of them w/no hesitation. Tough situation since it's your dad, and I saw in your profile you're 16 so you've got maybe 2 years left living with him. What does your mom think about the tail thing? Even though she thinks declawing is ok, many ppl don't seem to know it's wrong...so she might still be against physical punishment? Maybe have her try to talk some sense into him. And a 20lb cat? That's a LOT of strain! I really feel for Lucky and hope your dad knocks off his BS. GL to you & Lucky!
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#15 Old 06-15-2006, 01:24 AM
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Why don't you show him the quote someone had from the catfood website?



I'm sure the thought of an incontinent cat with no bowel control will have more of an impact on him than the thought he might hurt the cat.
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#16 Old 06-15-2006, 06:02 AM
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Well cats aren't pack animals and can't be corrected by punishment. Since they have no real drive to view you as pack leader, or please you, all punishing really does is piss them off.

What is it Lucky is doing that's making your dad angry.

As far as picking him up by his tail, cats tails weren't made for that. At best he's probably going to break his tail, at worst he could probably break his back. Your dad needs to grow the hell up.

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#17 Old 06-15-2006, 09:27 AM
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i showed him the quote karenlovessnow had, and i was like "see dad i'm right" and he was like "well you will always be able to find someone who agrees with you" he insists that he hasnt picked Lucky up by his tail in a very long time, and i asked him not to do that anymore to any other cats. all he said was. "okay. no more cats." so i dont know if he is agreeing with me, or punishing ME by saying we cant get another cat (i dont even want another anymore anyway).
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#18 Old 06-15-2006, 09:36 AM
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this is animal abuse.
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#19 Old 06-15-2006, 11:06 AM
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Originally Posted by animallover7249 View Post

this is animal abuse.





I agree with animallover. Surely he is mature enough to realise that he is hurting Lucky.

Ugh.
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#20 Old 06-15-2006, 11:31 AM
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if you want to train the cat, say to stay off the kitchen table etc, the squirt bottle with water method is the best way. I have even read this in cat behavior books. It is the least harmful. Although my cats are relatively well-behaved, I have gotten them to the point where if they are doing something I don't want them to do, all I have to do is pick up that spray bottle and they run.



I used to work at a cat shelter and we gave the spray bottle advice to people who called about how to train their cats to not go here or not scratch there. And if you do it right, when starting it out, it works really well.



This way they don't acquiant the negative punishment with you (or your dad in this case).



Sorry to say this but from what I have read so far your dad sounds like one of those people who no matter what you say or prove to him...he will do whatever he wants. Or it also sounds like maybe Lucky isn't doing anything really wrong but your dad has anger/control issues and needs to go for counseling??



I am surprised Lucky hasn't bit him yet. (too bad about the declawing - they took away one of his defense tools)



Hopefully that day will come ....what comes around goes around.



Even though you want to keep Lucky ...for Lucky's safety ..maybe you should find him a another home. I don't think your dad should be allowed around animals.



Try calling a local cat shelter for some advise. If they have room, they might take Lucky in for you (don't go to the animal control - call a no-kill shelter). Lucky would be safer there than in your house.



Maybe you could suggest to your dad and when Lucky does something wrong that you will handle the punishment and for him not to do it? Get your squirt bottle ready too to follow through!



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#21 Old 06-15-2006, 11:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Marie View Post

One thing I learned from first hand experience is that baby talking "No no no! You're a naughty puppy! Yes you are! Yes you are!" while petting them is a bad idea too.



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#22 Old 06-15-2006, 01:08 PM
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Originally Posted by chocolatelover View Post

i showed him the quote karenlovessnow had, and i was like "see dad i'm right" and he was like "well you will always be able to find someone who agrees with you" he insists that he hasnt picked Lucky up by his tail in a very long time, and i asked him not to do that anymore to any other cats. all he said was. "okay. no more cats." so i dont know if he is agreeing with me, or punishing ME by saying we cant get another cat (i dont even want another anymore anyway).



Well, maybe he got the message but doesn't want to come right out and say you are right and that he's sorry. Some people have a hard time doing that. If he said he hasn't done it in a long time, maybe (hopefully) it's true. I guess all you can do is give him the benefit of the doubt and try to keep Lucky away from him as much as you can, like you said you are trying to do. Good luck.

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#23 Old 06-15-2006, 07:35 PM
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no way can i give my cat away. hes my best friend. i have like, 3 friends total. giving him away would be like losing part of my soul, or my heart.



my dad isnt someone to lie, so at least i know when he says he hasnt done it in a long time hes telling the truth. now i know why Lucky is so scared of him. also, Lucky stays pretty much away from him anyway. im going to give my dad the benefit of the doubt and hope he doesnt do it again, but if i ever find out he does, i will DEFINITELY do something more drastic (for lack of better word).
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#24 Old 06-15-2006, 07:39 PM
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Originally Posted by MaryC1999 View Post

Well cats aren't pack animals and can't be corrected by punishment. Since they have no real drive to view you as pack leader, or please you, all punishing really does is piss them off.

What is it Lucky is doing that's making your dad angry.

As far as picking him up by his tail, cats tails weren't made for that. At best he's probably going to break his tail, at worst he could probably break his back. Your dad needs to grow the hell up.

Mary

Not that you're implying this, but I just want to make it clear that it doesn't work with dogs either. Positive Punishment techniques greatly slow a dog's ability to learn what you are attempting to teach him or her. (especially something as severe as tail pullling [or ear pulling, which used to be common in dog "breaking"])
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#25 Old 06-17-2006, 06:29 AM
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Not that you're implying this, but I just want to make it clear that it doesn't work with dogs either. Positive Punishment techniques greatly slow a dog's ability to learn what you are attempting to teach him or her. (especially something as severe as tail pullling [or ear pulling, which used to be common in dog "breaking"])



I don't advocate physical punishment for anyone, not even my kids.

I just meant punishment, in general, won't work on cats. I have found the stern talking and "sending to his room" does work on some things for my dog, he genuinely doesn't like to upset me, but only when he's in the midst of doing something bad. Like getting in between me and my baby or something because he's jealous. If it's something he did and I didn't catch him, I generally let it go.

Back on topic, another way to get a cat to stop, without the bottle, is by placing a coffee can of coins up where he likes to jump. If he can't see it when he jumps up he might knock it over and the loud noise will startle him.

Or double sided tape sometimes works. Cats hate having things stick to their fur. Sometimes a nice window seat (you can set it up in your room even) and making the counters sticky works perfectly. You make one unpleasant and the other is a nice alternative. Of course you could have a cat like mine who likes to lay in sticky stuff. Personally, I just push them off the counters when I catch them.

Mary

Mary
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#26 Old 06-17-2006, 01:16 PM
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I would just try my best to keep him safe while youre living there, but for heavens sake, don't subject a new cat to that. If you're going away to college, you might not be able to take either with you, and you won't be able to protect them. Wait until youre living on your own, trust me, the time goes by quickly.
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#27 Old 06-17-2006, 01:38 PM
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Well, what does/did lucky do that was 'wrong'? I cannot even think of anything my cats do that I would even remotely think of that as a punishment. Also, how does Lucky react?
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#28 Old 06-18-2006, 08:24 AM
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Originally Posted by chocolatelover View Post

no way can i give my cat away. hes my best friend.

i know how you feel (about pets being the best friends) but all your doing is keeping your best friend in an abuisive/dangerous household. You cant be home 24/7. Didnt you say you just got a job at mcdonalds? who will protect her then?
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#29 Old 06-18-2006, 08:32 AM
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I don't think CL should give away the cat. The dad has agreed not pull the cat's tail, and CL is keeping the cat away from the dad, so there's no reason to displace the animal. There's no gaurantee that a new home would be any better, and it could certainly be a whole heck of a lot worse. Tail pulling is very mild (albeit, unacceptable) compared to some of the abuse you read about. CL is committed to protecting the cat, I think that's the best you can ask for.
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#30 Old 06-19-2006, 12:03 AM
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It's not "pulling the tail," it's "picking a 20 lb cat UP by the tail." And, if I remeber correctly, the dad didn't really agree to stop doing it (his statement was very unclear), he just said he hadn't done it in awhile.



I think you might seriously consider rehoming or seeing if someone will foster your cat until you're on your own, unless your father will truly agree to keep his abusive hands off the animal. If you are planning on going away to college, dorms will not accept cats, and you should make a firm plan so that the cat is out of the house and they are not his caretakers.

"If you want to know where you would have stood on slavery before the civil war, don't look at where you stand on slavery today, look at where you stand on animal rights." - Paul Watson.

 

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