A Speeding Ticket and a Spray Bottle
I got a speeding ticket the other day. No big deal, a few miles over the limit and a small fine. But still I certainly didn’t like the experience, and I vowed not to let it happen again!
The next time I passed that spot, I noticed a recently installed camera. Surely, this was the camera that caught my speeding. Over the next few days, I noticed that other drivers on the road had noticed the camera as well because they slowed down before the camera and sped back up shortly after passing it.
Clearly, all the drivers were only modifying their behaviour only in this one circumstance. Otherwise it was business as usual.
I noticed a similar thing happening with one of my neighbours. He is not fond of the local cats coming in his yard. He uses a spray bottle to chase them away. They run away but when the man leaves the house, the cats return and roam freely about in his garden.
So, what does this have to do with my speeding ticket?
Well, the cats respond the same way to my neighbour’s spray bottle as I did to the speeding ticket: the cats modify their behaviour in response to my neighbour’s spray bottle only! Just as I slowed down only when passing the speeding camera. Our behaviour is not corrected, it’s only amended to avoid an unpleasant experience: my and the cats' behaviour modification is temporary!
Next time your cat’s naughty - maybe jumping on a workspace or climbing the curtains - take a moment to think before you grab that spray bottle. Will that work? Or will you just get your cat to avoid places when you’re around, but continue being naughty when they’re alone?