Those of us with pets know that food is key to getting them to do what we want them to do.
The delivery guy is at your door with a delicious pizza, but your dog won’t get out of his way? Throw your pup a bone. Cat refusing to…I don’t know…do anything? Offer a treat. Turtles, birds, fennec foxes (don’t ask, one was loose in my neighborhood the other day)—they won’t turn down a tasty morsel.
But is it cruel to tease your cat with the promise of a treat and then not follow through ever time?
A woman on Reddit wanted to know if she was an a**hole for “lying” to her cat—and she caught some flack.
“My (23F) girlfriend (19F) claims I suck for lying to my cat (2M). I don’t like my cat roaming around the kitchen when I’m not there just because he might get his less-than-average-intelligence paws on something he shouldn’t. So I gotta get him out of there when I leave. On a small shelf next to the door I keep a tiny bag of kitty treats and sometimes when he refuses to come when i call his name, I shake the little bag to get him out and close the door behind him,” the OP writes.
“Enter the problem: I don’t actually give him a treat every time I do this. Sometimes I just pick him up and give him a big ol smooch. Sometimes he gets a treat.”
“My girlfriend thinks this counts and being mean to my cat because he might be expecting a sweet little treat, and that disappointing him is cruel. This isn’t a serious fight. Just something that sometimes comes up when i don’t give him treats. It isn’t creating problems between us, but this time she said ‘ask literally anyone else see if they think you’re being fair’ so we’ll be reading the responses together.”
Let’s see what Redditors had to say to the OP.
“YTA. Yours sincerely, Your cat,” said FloppyEaredDog.
“Genuinely though… you give hope just to take it away??? How unkind! Today I was making food for myself and our parakeets thought it was for them and I felt bad getting their hopes up so I gave them their treat,” said felixkahns
“It’s called Operant Conditioning using intermittent reinforcement, and it’s the most effective way to change behavior and make it persistent. I personally think it sucks especially since that’s what social media is doing to us to keep us addicted to it. I always valued a trusting relationship with my cats and I even let them know ahead of time whenever they had to go to the vet,” explained Psalm1267.
“That’s exactly how you train dogs (I know this is about a cat but same principle). You get them to do something and give them a treat, then eventually you stop giving them food treats and change it to affection. You are NTA. Assuming the cat is well fed and cared for I really don’t see an issue. You said the times you don’t give the cat a treat it gets a cuddle. It’s still a reward, as long as the cat is fine who cares,” noted EmotionalDay4025.
The OP’s cat enjoys getting affection, she says. Regardless, “my girlfriend is really loving you guys atm I don’t know if I’ll fully stop lying to him, but I might increase his chances of getting a treat,” the OP concluded.
What do you think?
Lead image: Pixabay