Cats are one of the most sought-after pets in the world; in fact, more than 30% of families in the US own at least one cat. Despite this popularity, a surprisingly large number of cat owners (especially new ones) are unaware of the basic requirements of their cats and unknowingly make many mistakes.
In this post, we have summarized 11 common mistakes cat owners commonly commit.
1 Adopting A Cat Without Home Work
Many People are attracted to cats because they heard from more than one source that cats are independent and do not need much maintenance. It’s nothing more than cat myths.
You need to know many things before you have a cat. Although cats are a bit more independent than dogs, they still need a lot of care, time, effort, and money. The level of maintenance required varies among breeds, and some feline breeds are high maintenance.
So it’s crucial to do your homework and research the breed of cat you want to adopt, to know about basic requirements, behavior, personality, medical predisposition, accessories required, etc. Some breeds are more prone to specific medical issues, so owning such a breed can be more costly than other cats.
2 Hasty Introduction With Other Pets
A common mistake many new cat owners make is that they immediately introduce their newly adopted cat to other pets in the home. While it is evident that people want to see their pets play with other pets, rushing to introduce them can lead to fights and injuries.
The best way is to keep them separate for a few days, and swap their bedding, toys, and other accessories. This practice will allow them to get familiar with each other’s faces and smells and promote harmony for all involved.
3 Selecting Wrong Plants For Lawn Or Home Decor
Many people are fond of gardening and pets at the same time. However, if you have a cat at home or planning to adopt one, you need to re-arrange the list of plants for your lawn or home décor.
Cats love to chew on leaves, and ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) has a long list of common plants that are toxic to cats (like azaleas, lilies, narcissus, ficus, aloe, Callas, begonias, etc.).
So you must carefully select the safe plants for your feline friend. Some common cat-safe plants are ponytail palm, rattlesnake plant, bird’s nest fern, spider plant, African violet, parlor palm, certain succulents, calathea orbifolia, and so on.
Some of the toxic plants for cats are Swiss Cheese Plants (Monstera Deliciosa), Pothos (Epipremnum Aureum), Sago Palm (Cycas Revoluta). Learn more about the most toxic plants for cats.
4 Considering Regular Medical Checkups As Unnecessary
Data collected from different veterinary hospitals indicates that the number of dogs that come for a routine medical checkup is far more than that of cats.
The reason behind this is the belief of many cat owners on a myth that cats have nine lives and can’t get ill or anything terrible can happen to them. Another valid and factual reason is that cats are less expressive and don’t show any signs initially, or symptoms are so mild and subtle that it’s difficult to notice for most cat owners.
Therefore it’s imperative to take your cat to a vet’s clinic at least twice yearly because a veterinarian can detect any underlying issue. Early diagnosis means early recovery and improving your cat’s quality of life.
5 Feeding Milk To Cat
Milk is considered a staple diet for cats throughout the world, but the fact is that cats don’t have the necessary enzymes to digest lactose present in milk. So drinking milk can lead to digestive disturbance, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and vomiting.
It’s true that kittens feed on their mother’s milk and can also digest formula milk specifically designed for orphan kittens. Kittens have lactose digesting enzymes, and their ability to produce this enzyme diminishes as they grow.
So feeding milk to adult cats is not recommended.
6 Presuming That Indoor Cats Can’t Get Fleas Or Other Parasites
Many cat owners have a big misapprehension that fleas and other pests are not a cat issue because cats are indoor pets, and prevention against these organisms is unnecessary. They are utterly wrong.
Fleas can easily make their way inside through human clothes, shoes, dogs (who go outside often), and small gaps in the door and windows. Similarly, internal parasites (like tapeworm, roundworm, heartworm, etc.) exist and can create many problems for your cat.
So it’s crucial to regularly deworm your cat and take sufficient preventive measures to keep fleas, ticks, and mosquitos away.
7 Free Feeding Your Cat
Here is where the indoor nature of cats should be focused on and know that cats don’t get enough exercise, so they should be allowed to eat in calculated amount only, but the thing goes the other way round.
The stats provided by APOP (Association for Pet Obesity Prevention) shows that almost sixty percent of cats in the USA are overweight. This means most owners are feeding more than the cat’s body requirements.
You should make sure to feed the recommended amount of feed to your cat (according to the cat’s age and size) and ensure that the cat gets enough physical stimulation to maintain a healthy weight. Because cat obesity adversely affects the quality of life and longevity.
8 Feeding Dry Food Only
Generally, most cat owners prefer dry food over moist food because it is cheaper, convenient to handle, and you can preserve it for longer.
However, remember that dry food is like a snack; it’s not a good option for a regular diet. It would be best if you use a moist or wet diet; it helps your cat get sufficient water and is also good for kidney health.
9 Considering Hairballs / Vomiting, Normal
Many feline owners consider vomiting part of cat ownership and never pay attention to how much their feline friend is vomiting. But remember that it’s ok if your cat vomits (with or without hairball) occasionally.
However, frequent vomiting, nausea, or gagging indicates underlying health issues. So you need to plan a visit to the vet’s clinic as soon as possible.
10 Ignoring Oral And Dental Health
Brushing teeth is as important in cats as in humans; however, oral and dental health is the most neglected part of cat ownership. Teeth problems begin in cats at a very young age (before three years).
So it is necessary to brush your cat’s teeth regularly. It won’t be easy to brush the teeth of adult cats initially, but proper handling will become used to it.
Therefore, it is recommended to develop your cat’s habits from kittenhood.
11 Not Cleaning Litter Box Regularly
Generally, most new cat owners don’t understand the importance of regular cleaning of the litter box. Cats are naturally clean animals and will never use a litter box already dirty or stinky.
You must clean the litter box twice daily (morning and evening) and wash thoroughly before adding new litter. The consistency and color of urine and stool will also tell much about your feline friend’s health. If you do not do so, get ready to clean the mess from anywhere in your house.
We hope the above our post may have cleared up many of your misconceptions about maintenance and caring for cats.
After reading the above lines, you will be a better owner than before, and your cat will be happier than ever. Isn’t that what we all want?