First Time Cat Owner Tips: How to Avoid 10 Common Cat Owner Mistakes
These mistakes are actually serious mistakes that can lead to disease and stress in our furry friends.
At Now I’ve Seen Everything, we want to make sure that our world is full of happy cats and their parents. That’s why we prepared a list of 10 dangerous mistakes in pet care that people often make without knowing.
1. Shaving your cat
In an attempt to help their pets during the summer heat, some cat parents decide to shave them. However, you should never do this. The fact is that cats have sweat glands located in their paw pads through which they cool their body. To help your kitty feel more comfortable, it’s enough to arrange a dark, cool shelter where they can hide and make sure that the space is ventilated regularly.
A cat should only be shaved for medical reasons and under a vet’s recommendation.
2. Ignoring your cat’s personal space
A cat should have a place where it can feel comfortable and safe, just like any human being. They need a shelter to hide and sleep in peace, even inside your home.
We get that new cat parents want to spend as much time as they can with their new furry friend, but it is vital that you arrange a separate corner for your kitty in your house. Being with a first time owner can be very overwhelming for a cat, they need time to adjust to you and their surroundings, make your home theirs on their own terms. So let your new cat take their time, and they will come to you when they are good and ready.
3. Bathing your cat
Even dogs get nervous when being bathed. In most cases, bathing is not required for cats: they clean themselves regularly. But if your pet gets really dirty, you can wipe them with a wet towel. In the rare cases when bathing a cat really is necessary, try to wash only the dirty areas and not the entire animal.
This takes so much pressure of feeling obligates to give your cats baths when this is an absolute nightmare! Now, your new cat does not have to worry about enduring this process, you know you can trust the cat in taking care of itself.
However, one Reddit user, recommends giving your new kitty a quick bath if you already have another cat at home:
“When introducing a new kitten to the older house cat, bathe the kitten first. After the kitten is dry, brush it with the older cat’s brush. This will put the other cat’s sent on the new kitten. This will create a better relationship between the two cats in the future.”
4. Giving your cat milk
Kittens need their mother’s milk. If, for some reason, they are deprived of it, you can replace it with formula from a veterinary pharmacy, goat’s milk, or 10% cream. However, as a kitten grows up, its body changes and begins to produce less of the enzyme necessary for milk digestion, and adult animals even develop lactose intolerance.
So in this case, cats are a lot like humans. Did you know that humans needed to go through mutations in order for adults to be able to digest milk properly? And still many suffer from lactose intolerance. So do not feel bad for depriving your cat from milk, it is for their own good.
5. Feeding your cat only with dry food
Dry food is just a snack. Your pet can’t satisfy its hunger with it. Your pet’s diet must include wet food, which you should give them a few times a day in small portions. At the same time, you shouldn’t give up on dry food completely because your cat needs to have a snack throughout the day.
We get it, dry food is easy, it can be preserved longer and for a first time owner it is a saving grace. But if you got yourself a new cat, make sure to put some effort into looking after your cat’s health. So if you are going to take away any tips from this article, make sure it is this one.
6. Not taking your cat to a vet on a regular basis
If you have ever wondered how to be a good cat mom or dad, listen closely. Just like you, your cats need regular check ups at the vet. We know it is not enjoyable for anyone involved, but if you want a long and happy life with your kitty, that is just something you will have to endure. And wouldn’t you agree, you do not exactly need a cat owners guide to realize this, right?
Even house cats who have never been outside should get vaccinated because this lifestyle doesn’t guarantee that your pet won’t get infected. It’s worth taking your cat to a vet every 6 months for medical check-ups and vaccinations.
7. Not neutering your cat
Top: X-ray of a pregnant cat; bottom: X-ray of a neutered cat
Some owners feel sorry for their pets and don’t have them neutered or spayed. It feels like surgery alone is such a big stress on your cat’s body, that you start feeling too bad, and decide to avoid it altogether. However, this can cause more harm than good.
In most cases, neutering positively affects a cat’s body. It reduces your female cat’s risk of mammary cancer and your male cat’s risk of testicular cancer. Besides, neutered male cats won’t try to escape as frequently or show aggression.
8. Leaving plants within your cat’s reach
Some plants are toxic to pets. And since cats like to chew on different plants, it’s worth making sure that your leafy friends are safe for your furry friends. Some of the most toxic plants for cats include azaleas, narcissus, aloe, begonias, callas, and ficus.
Lucky for you, first time kitten owner, there are plenty of beautiful house plants that would be perfectly safe for your cat. Some of them include rattlesnake plant, spider plant, parlor palm, calathea orbifolia, ponytail palm, certain succulents, african violet, bird’s nest fern, and so on. With them, your cats will be safe and your house will still look cozy.
9. Declawing your cat
In many countries, declawing is forbidden by law. This procedure involves removing the whole phalanx, which causes the cat to experience severe pain in the paws when moving.
This sounds absolutely horrible, doesn’t it? You wouldn’t want your cat to go through something like this. Whether you are getting a new cat or thinking of your existing cats, avoid this procedure. Many people consider it in order to preserve their furniture or wallpaper, but things are not worth your cat suffering. If your cat is aggressive, and you are worried for your safety, try turning to cat behavior specialists, who can certainly help you with this issue.
10. Leaving the window open for your cat
You’ve probably heard stories about cats falling from great heights, getting up, and walking away as if nothing happened. These stories fueled the myth that cats don’t get injured when they fall. However, this is not true, and you can ask any vet.
Approximately 15% of all cat injuries result from falls from high places. Pets don’t realize the danger of falling. And even a window protected by a mosquito net can’t save a pet from an accident. A cat’s weight is enough to push the net out of its mount. To avoid tragedy, don’t leave your cat near an open window, even if it has a net.
We want to confess that all authors at Now I’ve Seen Everything have a cat at home. The author of this article, for example, has a cat named Monya. He was found on the street when he was a little kitten, and now he peacefully sleeps on the couch all day long.
Do you have a cat? What are your favorite first cat owner tips? Share the photos of your pets in the comments below.