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Pet Ways to Ease Stress
with Jessica Loftus, Ph.D. & Jack Murray

Assertive cat saying "No!"

Just say “No!” The Best Catnip to Ease Stress

Unlike my canine colleagues, I have no stress. Why would any rational pet willingly submit to being trained? No self-respecting feline would ever play “fetch” or “beg” just to get a few treats. Instead, I quietly protest “NO! “

I train my owner (or my human as I prefer to call him) to give me treats. He also performs other tricks like petting me on command and buying all sorts of new cat foods until they satisfy my highly refined palate. Best of all, I fool him into thinking he’s in charge. He lets other humans walk all over him too. If he just followed my advice of just saying “NO”, he would have no stress too.

PuSneakity’s Nine ‘No’s’ to No Stress

  1. Just say “NO!”

Every time my human scolds me to get off the counter, stop climbing the sheer drapes or play nice with the other household pets, I firmly say “No.” Actually, I don’t even bother saying “No.’ I simply pay no mind to my human’s commands and proceed with my business.

  1. Tolerate NO abuse from any human, canine, feline or rodent.

If my human treats me with any disrespect, I scratch or bite him immediately to teach him manners. Any time an unruly pet bothers me, I let out a blood-curdling hiss and lash out with my claws. Mice don’t even bother to cross my path; they know better.

  1. Be NO pushover. Play hard to get.

There is no surer way to have your human shower you with loads of treats and affection.  It’s just animal nature – we all like the challenge of pursuing what we can’t get. The more aloof I am, the more my owner wants to pet me. Of course, I give him a little taste of my affections . . . just  to dangle the carrot in front of him.  But as soon as he gets too close, I’m more distant than ever.

  1. Make NO response unless it suits your purpose.

When my human calls me, I usually walk right past him with my nose and tail in the air.  Of course, I make exceptions when he is offering toys, treats or fun ways to play.

  1. Suffer NO insomnia. Sleep at least 15 hours a day.

I make it a habit to sleep most of the day, so I don’t have to be bothered with my human or other pets. Then, I prowl the house all night to keep my human awake so he is too tired to bother me during the day.

  1. NO compromise – Eat only what you enjoy.

If it ain’t a treat, don’t eat.  That’s my motto. I don’t reduce myself to table scraps or anything remotely resembling “healthy food’. Oh, and I would never eat anything generic. If the food is not top shelf gourmet, I am not interested.

  1. NO can do with a dirty litter box.

If there is the slightest odor or debris in my litter box, I do my business on the floor. This serves as a reminder to my human.

  1. Quietly suffer? NO way!

When I’m the slightest bit unhappy, I yelp, meow, hiss, scratch, charge, knock photos off the wall or paw fragile items until they drop on the floor. Once in a blue moon, I purr when I’m content.

  1. NO slipping. Always maintain an expression of disdain.

I never let my guard down. My human must always be reminded of his duty to please me.

Follow these nine tips, and you have NO stress in NO time.  Meow . . .my human just brought home several fancy shopping bags filled with designer clothes.  Time to indulge my curiosity.

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Just say “No!” The Best Catnip to Ease Stress

Jessica Loftus

Jessica Loftus has worked as a licensed clinical psychologist and national certified career counselor for more than 20 years. She currently offers counseling sessions via telehealth in Illinois. Her website,, outlines steps for making a career decision. details. See her retired blog, "Pet Ways to Ease Stress,"

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APA Reference
Loftus, J. (2019). Just say “No!” The Best Catnip to Ease Stress. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 31, 2020, from


Last updated: 22 Jan 2019
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