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20 Common Mistakes Cat Owners Make

20 Common Mistakes Cat Owners Make

We love our kitties but being a pet owner is not only cuddles and fun, Owning a cat comes with a lot of responsibility. On that note here are the top 20 common mistakes cat owners make.  

Washing their water bowl 

A cat’s sense of smell is 14 times better than that of humans.  If you wash their water or food bowl, make sure not to use scented dishwashing liquids. Cats hate strong odours and these scents can discourage your pet from drinking water from their bowl. 

A sudden change of diet

Cats are creatures of habit; they aren’t big fans of change especially when it comes to their diet. In their mind, eating new food is scary and risky. Cats prefer food that they have already found to be safe. Nevertheless, there can be a time that you may want to change your cat’s food.  It’s important to remember that sudden changes in a cat’s diet may result in vomiting, diarrhoea, reduced appetite and a sick feline. Your cat should be transitioned slowly from one food to another.  Plan on taking at least a week to transition your kitty. Start by adding a small amount of the new food in with the old food, gradually increase the amount of the new food and decrease the old food each day. 

Ingredients matter

Improper feeding can lead to obesity, malnutrition and many health issues. Always monitor the calories in your chosen pet food and adhere to the suggested serving sizes. Likewise, free feeding your cat isn’t healthy. It’s important to remember that food is not love and cat obesity is on the rise. According to the Association for Pet obesity prevention over 50 percent of dogs and cats in the U.S. are obese or overweight. 

Litter box mistakes

As a rule of thumb, it’s best to have at least one and a half litter boxes per cat. So if you have one cat you need two litter boxes, two cats three litter boxes. You get the point this is because cats are territorial and they see their litter boxes more than just a bathroom. It’s their private place and somewhere they can call all their own. Another reason to consider multiple litter boxes is cleanliness. Cats are very clean animals and they hate dirty smelly litter boxes. If cats’ litter box is not clean enough they’re more likely to

do their business on the floor. Having an extra box in the house ensures when you’ve been too busy to clean up your cats have somewhere tidy to relieve themselves. Likewise, it’s important to invest in a good fragrance-free cat litter box and place it in a quiet room that’s free of frequent activity.  If your cat is litter trained but urinates on the floor it’s usually either a sign of urinary tract infections or a dirty litter box. 

Toxic house plants

Some plants are toxic to cats. Removing toxic plants from your house or moving them to a room where your kitty doesn’t have access is the best way to protect your cat. Cats may ingest toxic plant substances while they lick themselves because they can be pollen or seeds stuck in their fur. Even worse, some cats may chew on the leaves or vines of a toxic plant.  Among the most toxic plants are daffodils, English ivy, azaleas, calla lilies,  aloe,  begonias and ficus. 

Giving bones to them

Contrary to what cartoons often show, house cats have no business gnawing on fish skeletons or any cooked bones. Cooked bones are a serious danger to felines because they can splinter and get stuck in the cat’s throat or stomach.

Essential oils and diffusers

 Essential oils can be toxic to cats whether ingested orally, applied to the skin or simply inhaled. It is because the cat lacks the enzymes that are needed to metabolise essential oils properly. Essential oils can be found in insecticides, aromatherapies, cleaning sprays,  hand sanitisers or skin moisturisers.  Likewise, many of the essential oils used in fragrance diffusers are dangerous to cats, as oils diffused in the air are inhaled or trapped on their fur, which results in your cat ingesting them during licking or grooming. 

Not training them

Just like dogs, cats can be trained.  Training your cat will improve your life and theirs and enhance the bond between you. For example, you can train them to get off the counter or not to scratch your furniture.  Basically, when they jump on your counter you tell them a q word like off when they follow your directions. Click the clicker and reward them with a treat.  Getting rewarded for a behaviour makes them want to repeat the desired behaviour. 

 Not cat-proofing your home

Cats love climbing vertical spaces.  It’s important to make sure all electronics and shelved objects are secure.  Make sure there aren’t any free-hanging cords,  tassels or fabric strips that could spell trouble for a climbing feline.  You may want to get a cat tree or other safe vertical climbing structure to keep your feline occupied and away from things they shouldn’t be climbing on.  It’s important to remember that cats love a warm spot to sleep. If that sleeping spot happens to be on top of a computer terminal or monitor the cat could block air vents causing dangerous overheating and fire hazards.  You can avoid dangers by providing your kitty with a heating pad. 

Not respecting their nature

Cats are neither a dog nor a child.  They’re unique animals with unique characteristics.  They can have traits like sharpening claws or seeking out high spots that might be frustrating to some people. It’s important to remember that a cat is a cat and we need to respect their singular natural needs. When you bring a feline into your home, accommodate its needs and you’ll have a fruitful relationship with him. 

Forcing them to interact with you

Cats are very independent creatures.  They don’t like to be smothered with affection and they need some personal space. Make sure you provide them all the personal space they want, likewise provide your cats with a place where they can hide, be alone and feel comfy and secure. 

Storing food in packaging it didn’t originally come

The food’s original packaging keeps it from going stale and drying out.  It’s essential to properly store and seal the cat food in an airtight container so it doesn’t go rancid or lose its useful substances. 

Exercise for cats

Just like dogs, felines need regular exercise to work off extra energy and stay healthy.  The best way to exercise a cat is by making them chase its favourite toys around the house. Interactive toys like wand toys with feathers, strings or other prey-like attachments that evoke a cat’s predatory behaviour are an excellent way to keep them fit. Likewise, it’s important to provide your cat with a scratching post or cat tree. Scratching posts to help them sharpen their claws and stretch their muscles and cat trees help them climb over and play on.

Feeding the milk

 Although feeding cow’s milk to cats is thoughtful as a pet lover it hurts them more than it helps. This is because cats are lactose intolerant. In fact, they will have a stomach problem within 10 to 12 hours after consuming it.

Not enough water

Many cats don’t like water so they don’t drink enough of it. Because of this, they are more prone to developing urinary crystals and even kidney problems. More often than not,  this can be prevented by simply adding wet food to your cat’s diet. You can even add a little water to your cat’s food and make sure to keep several water bowls in your home and move their water bowl to somewhere that isn’t alongside their food or litter box. Most cats don’t like having food and water right next to each other and remember most cats enjoy running water so it’s best to get them a water fountain. 

Ignore their vomiting

Some people think that it’s okay for a cat to vomit once a week but it’s not. While vomiting a few times a year or an occasional hairball is normal, vomiting once a week means there is a problem and a vet visit is necessary. 

Neglecting their dental hygiene

Like humans, cats need regular dental care. Their teeth are often home to hundreds of bacteria and need to be brushed just like yours do. Ideally, your pet’s teeth should be checked at least once a year by a vet. 

Rarely visiting a vet

The only way to ensure your pets are as healthy as they can be is by taking them to the vet for a checkup. An occasional checkup makes it easy to catch potential problems and illnesses before they cause too much damage. You also want to make sure that your pet gets all of its vaccinations.

Expecting a cat not to harm a smaller pet

A cat is very likely to kill small pets like rabbits, guinea pigs or hamsters because of their natural prey drive and they move so quickly that you likely won’t be able to stop it from happening.

Bathing them 

Cats are excellent at grooming themselves and they don’t really need to be washed often. If you decide to wash them once or twice a year is enough. 

By washing your cat frequently you’re doing it no favours. 

Not avoiding hairballs 

When cats groom themselves they swallow a lot of loose hair.  The majority of this hair passes through the digestive tract with no problem but some hair stays in the stomach and forms a hairball.  Oftentimes your cat will vomit the hairball to get rid of it.  To avoid the formation of hairballs you can brush your cat once a day and add more fibre to their diet.  High fibre diet improves the health of a cat’s coat and minimises shedding.  If you believe that your cat’s hairballs are a result of compulsive excessive grooming, you can interrupt their lengthy grooming sessions with a new toy, a new scratching

post or game.

Declawing them

This one is a must to avoid. Declawing is torturous to cats,  it would be akin to cutting off our fingers at the last knuckle leading to pain and mobility issues.  It can even breed a sense of feeling vulnerable or defenceless. Cats,  who go through such insecure emotions can develop aggressive behaviours to make up for their constant state of vulnerability.

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