“Dogs have masters, cats have servants,” they say. Cats have their own character and it’s not always easy to understand what’s going through their minds. One minute they want to be petted and the next minute they’re clawing at you. As an owner, you have to accept that you can’t always please your feline.
On the other hand, there are some things you should absolutely avoid as a cat owner. Whether it’s out of misunderstanding or ignorance, cat owners unfortunately make the following mistakes all the time:
1. Regular bathing
For humans, a warm bath can be a relief, but cats panic at the sight of a full tub. Nevertheless, many owners regularly give their four-legged friend a full bath, often accompanied by screaming and yelling. This is not only stressful for everyone involved, but also generally unnecessary. Cats are very clean animals and maintain their own fur. If “cat washing” is not enough, owners can help with a damp cloth or specifically wash the soiled area.
2. Do not spay or neuter
In the case of spaying, the testicles are removed in male cats and the ovaries (sometimes also the uterus) in female cats. Many owners are reluctant to subject their beloved pet to such a severe procedure. However, in the long run, spaying and neutering is not only beneficial in preventing unwanted offspring, but it also eliminates undesirable and aggressive behavior and minimizes the risk of sexually transmitted diseases such as tumors and infections.
3. Get them declawed
Unlike castration, nail removal is not only unnecessary but also an excruciating procedure. This controversial procedure is banned in many countries, including France, and not without reason, because it involves breaking and then removing the bones of the paws. This causes considerable pain to the animal and can lead to secondary physical and psychological illnesses.
4. Leaving them alone with small children
Whether it’s a dog or a cat, pet owners should never leave their four-legged friends alone with young children. Children often don’t know how to pick up an animal properly and don’t know how to control their strength. This can lead to cats being treated like stuffed animals and getting hurt.
5. Feed them only dry food
Proper food selection is essential to the health of domestic cats. Some people rely almost exclusively on dry food and only give their pets wet food occasionally. But dry food is low in water and often salty, which can lead to long-term kidney problems. Cats should therefore be fed primarily wet food, while dry food should only be given as an occasional snack. Of course, the quality of the food must be taken into account in both cases.
6. Not going to the vet regularly
The only thing cats fear more than a full bathtub is a visit to the vet. This is understandable, because an unfamiliar environment, combined with unpleasant examinations and painful vaccinations, means considerable stress for every pet. But it doesn’t help that regular visits to the vet are essential for routine examinations and necessary vaccinations. It doesn’t matter if it’s an indoor or outdoor cat.
7. Owning the wrong plants
Cats love to nibble on plants. Anything green seems to have a magical attraction for these curious little ones. However, this can be dangerous both indoors and outdoors, as some plants are toxic to cats. So popular houseplants such as ficus, rubber tree and dragon tree have no place in a home where cats live.
8. Don’t leave them alone
Although they have a reputation for being loners, cats are not anti-social. But like us, they also need to retreat from time to time. Household cats usually signal clearly when they want to be left alone, and owners should respect this. If you constantly disturb your cat in its retreat, you can damage its trust in you in the long run.
9. Punish them
Cats’ behavior is not always easy to understand. If he keeps sharpening his claws on the couch, even though the scratching post is right next to it, you want to give him a hard time, and that’s okay. But if you respond to every unwanted behavior with a punishment, you usually only cause fear and confusion in cats. Instead, try to put yourself in his shoes, because cats don’t do anything without reason. You can learn a lot about these so-called temperamental animals by looking at their body language.
10. Feed them milk
Cats need to drink milk. This is a common misconception. Although milk is not harmful to cats of any age, you should refrain from giving your pet cat milk on a regular basis. This is because, like most people, cats become less tolerant of milk as they age. As they age, their bodies produce less and less lactase, the important enzyme for digesting milk. There is a special “cat milk” without lactase, but even this should not be in the bowl too often. After all, milk is very high in calories and can cause obesity in the long run.
Cats are not unpredictable, you just have to understand their language. As with any pet, you should always educate yourself on the proper and appropriate way to care for it before introducing a house cat into your life.