Using a cat shock collar is just plain wrong.
I'm more than a little incensed. It seems that some people find it acceptable to use an electric shock collar to train a cat.
These people think that the, hopefully mild, shock that the training collar gives the cat will deter a cat from carrying out some unwanted behavior such as jumping on the counter.
Thankfully the use of such things on cats does not seem to be widespread. It seems there is a greater use made of electric collars on dogs, needless to say I am also opposed to that.
The issues that concern me are, safety, cruelty and the inappropriateness of the use of these kind of things for training a cat.
I have little doubt that most of these cat training collars can be described as safe if the shock is truly very mild. That is if the collar is designed specifically as a cat shock collar.
However I've seen some of these collars advertised as being for cats and dogs.
Now we all know that there are large cats and small dogs, but come on, a collar that gives enough of a shock to even a medium size dog to harmlessly discourage it from doing something, is not in my opinion likely to be completely harmless to an average cat.
Likewise, some are advertised as pet shock training collars, you have to ask what sort of pet?
However, although safety and whether these shock collars can harm a cat is a big concern, my major point is that they surely can't be the right way to train a cat even if they are safe.
The theory is that every time a cat is caught scratching somewhere she or he shouldn't the human presses a button on a remote hand held device.
A signal is sent to the collar and a shock is given to the cat and so over time the cat comes to learn the only place to scratch without getting shocked is the scratching post. That's the theory anyway.
To me that seems a cruel way to deter a cat. Is there any difference between shocking a cat and prodding it with a stick?
Cats do not respond to punishment, there is no place for cruelty in training any animal. Cats will respond to encouragement, reward and praise.
I am wondering if I'm being a little bit hypocritical. On the cat fence page you will see that I discuss electric cat fences (along with other types of cat containment fence.) Now how can I be opposed to electric cat collars and yet accept electric cat fences?
That question did take some thinking about. First, I would favor a cat enclosure over a cat fence, but that's just personal preference. You can get pretty large cat enclosures but some folks like to give their cat the freedom of the whole yard, and so prefer a fence.
They do not have to choose an electric fence of course, there are many plain cat fences that do a good job, but an electric one may best suit their needs. These do employ a (mild) shock to discourage the cat from escaping, some even require the cat wears a collar.
The thing is, an escaped cat could soon be in danger, especially one that has only known indoor life. To my mind there is a difference in a cat getting a mild shock that stops it escaping, and quite possibly getting in danger, and a cat getting a shock for jumping on the counter. I really hope you see my point here.
These collars have a chunky box on them that presumably receives the signal and administers the shock. They cannot be comfortable for the cat to wear for one thing, another thing is what happens if you have success in stopping your cat from scratching your sofa, for example.
If the collar worked (and I don't have much faith that these things work,) and you then stop putting the collar on your cat, what does the cat do then?
Your cat must notice the absence of that big cat shock training collar, does she then go back to scratching, safe in the knowledge she will not be shocked?
I don't want to sound like I'm saying that everyone who uses a shock collar on their cat is an uncaring or cruel person. Folks have posted in forums that the only reason they have tried a cat shock collar is because they are at the end of their tether with their cat. They say they have tried everything else and nothing has worked.
Well it is true that there are cats and there are cats. Some cats can take a lot more persuading to behave than others, but at the end of the day it is persuading that works not shock treatment.
The use of electronic training collars, on both cats and dogs, has been banned in Wales.