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Common Mistakes new Cat Owners make! What Can You Do Instead?

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A little bit of backstory: My daughter decided to adopt a tiny white kitty living in the neighbor’s garden. This also coincided with the time the kids were leaving home.

I did not want pets, but she was insistent. So we ended up adopting that precious baby. When our daughter left home, Baby stayed with us. We did not know the first thing about caring for cats. 

Common mistakes new cat owners make? We made a lot!

This one kitty we fell in love with put us on a 35-year pathway of feline rescue and a lifetime of learning about cats. We’ve had dogs before, but never cats.

We must have done something right because Baby, aka Beebe, aka Mama Beebe, aka Grandma Beebe, lived to the ripe old age of 19!

We did make mistakes, but nothing that couldn’t be rectified or altered over time.

While all errors affect your cat’s life, there are a few that fight for the number one mistake spot. 

Common Mistakes New Cat Owners Make

As soon as you can, take your new cat or kitten to the vet for a complete exam and its first vaccinations. You may or may not need to organize for spaying or neutering. This is also a good time to discuss getting the cat microchipped for identification purposes if it ever goes missing.

Is Your Home Ready?

Not having your home ready to accept a new kitty is a common mistake that many first time cat owners make, myself included.

Be sure you have the following essentials at a minimum: These items make your new kitty’s life enjoyably easier.

  • I.D. tags
  • Must have an easy-release collar
  • Blanket
  • Toys
  • A scratching board
  • Cat bed
  • Cat tree (big, small, by a window, it makes no difference)
  • Cat litter box and cat litter
  • Food bowl

Over time, you will add to this list. This is the bare minimum. You will quite likely change the type of litter and litter box, but have these at home in readiness.

common mistakes new cat owners make
Don’t get carried away at the pet shop. There will be plenty of years to do that!

I know you saw the cute cat collar with the bling. Just hold off buying the bling and the “over the top” cat stuff until your cat is settled in to its new home.

By that time, you may have changed your mind about what you really need and saved money in the process.

Plus, how do you know what color your cat really likes?

Not Taking The Adoption Of a Cat seriously

The most significant mistake I have seen with cats (and dogs) over the years is the failure of a life-long commitment by cat parents when deciding to adopt a cat. Your cat may be with you for a long time. Think in terms of 16 or 17 years, although this is an estimate.

Adopting a cat should not be based on a passing thought, fad, phase, or convenience.

Thank you to the Humane Society’s hard work in cities across America and the no-kill shelters.

Not Considering the Cost of Properly Caring for a Cat

Cats do not have to be an expensive pet however there are costs to consider and many of these are ongoing..

  • Spaying/Neutering
  • Pet Insurance – Not essential but like any insurance a wise choice
  • Annual dental cleaning and emergency dental care
  • Annual wellness visits and essential vaccinations. For example, some states require rabies shots yearly, every three, or every five years. Rabies vaccinations are fast becoming the law in many states. Vets will not care for an animal that has not had its rabies shot.
  • Food
  • Litter
  • Supplies such as litter pan, food dishes, toys, cat bed, blankets, and grooming materials

Never Declaw Your Cat

My vet once told me that declawing your cat equals having all your fingers amputated! The cat will not survive outside, be able to hang on when jumping, cannot save its life if being chased by a person or animal, and cannot defend itself.

Furthermore, veterinarians believe that cats will experience phantom pain in their toes for the rest of their lives. How very cruel!

Feeding Your Cat Cheap Food VS Nutritious Balanced Diets

The cheaper brands of cat food certainly will not kill your cat, but they can decrease its life span when you do not manage its diet with healthy, balanced nutrition.

Feeding my cats cheap cat food is the same as me eating fatty fast food every day of my life. This thread is not current, however the information is not dated. It has some interesting points from cat owners and is worth a quick read.

Cheaper cat foods have an array of grains, and many brands have no meat. Cats are natural meat eaters and thrive on high-protein diets. Cats with a medical condition may require a special low-protein diet, as in the case of kidney disease. You are best guided by your vet in this case.

Just like with human food, become adept at reading the ingredients in your cat’s food. If chicken is listed as the first ingredient, that brand uses mostly chicken. If the first ingredient is a grain, your cat mainly eats grain or grain meals. This is simplified. This article gives more detail if you are interested.

Buy a few different types of food, such as turkey, fish, beef, chicken, duck, etc. Cats are like people, they like variety.

a cat eating a nutritious cat food
A nutritious meal for the cat

Buy one of each to see which food your cat likes best. Otherwise, you may be wasting your money. Some pet stores will give you samples of dry food if you ask. I found that our cats eat small kibble more readily than larger kibble. 

Cats Can Take Care of Themselves – Not With Everything

Cats need help with nail trimming, ear cleaning, dental care, brushing, flea control, and an occasional bath. Cats are highly independent. However, they also need a bit of help along the way.

If you don’t feel comfortable trimming nails, consider using a cat groomer for these tasks. Many cat groomers offer mobile services.

Cat Litter – Which One?

I love the scoopable, no scent, no odor, multi-cat litter. And it must be at least 99.9% dust-free.

Fresh Step Clumping Cat Litter, Multi-Cat Odor Control, 14 lbs

All you do with scoopable litter is clean the waste and replenish your supply. We wash our litter pans at least once a month or more often as needed. Dirty litter pans contribute to urinary tract and behavior problems in cats. 

Vets say you should have one extra litter pan for every cat in the house. We have six cats who share two small litter pans and two additional large pans and do fine. We clean them two to three times a day. This means the litter boxes are clean, and we can keep the area tidy.

Try to replace your litter pans at least every year. 

mistakes made by new cat owners

Other Common Mistakes New Cat Owners Make

Your cat has no ID

How will your cat find its way home if it runs free in the neighborhood and becomes injured? ID can mean a simple tag that is attached to the collar of the cat. Usually, a mobile phone number is sufficient.

Cats Dogs ID Tags Personalized Lovely Symbols Pets Collar Name Accessories Simple Custom Engraved Products for Extra Small Four Legged Child Necklace Chain Anti-Lost Shiny Stainless Steel Charm

Another method of cat identification is having your cat microchipped. This gives peace of mind should your cat ever go missing. The information is listed on a national database.

Using Harsh Discipline or Yelling at Your Cat 

Cats do not respond well to punishment: Cats are generally not responsive to punishment, and yelling at them may only serve to frighten or stress them out.

Allowing Your Cat To become Obese/Feeding The Cat Table Scraps

Increased risk of developing diabetes, arthritis, heart disease and respiratory problems:

not Controlling parasites And Fleas

Uncontrolled fleas can cause a variety of problems for cats. Some potential dangers include
anemia, allergic reactions, tapeworms and flea-bite dermatitis.

Committing to a flea treatment and regularly administering the treatment is the best way to keep fleas at bay.

not Keeping Nails Trimmed

Reasons for getting the cat ‘s nail trimmed are

  1. To prevent overgrown nails: If a cat’s nails are allowed to grow too long, they can become overgrown and curved. This can be painful for the cat and make it difficult for them to walk.
  2. To prevent damage to furniture and other household items: Cats’ claws are sharp, and they can use them to scratch furniture, curtains, and other household items. By keeping your cat’s claws trimmed, you can help protect your possessions.
  3. To avoid accidents: If your cat’s claws are too long, they may get caught on things and result in injuries. Claw trimming can help avoid these kinds of mishaps.
  4. Cats use their claws for a variety of activities, such as stretching, climbing, and hunting, but if they are too long, it can be painful or uncomfortable for them to use them, so trimming your cat’s claws can help increase their overall comfort.

Adopting A Cat When Children Are Too Young

Children under the age of 5 may not have the necessary skills to care for a cat. They may not understand the concept of responsibility and may not be able to handle the cat gently.

Children over the age of 10 are usually capable of understanding the responsibilities of pet ownership. They can typically handle a cat with more care and consideration.

Not allowing a Period Of Supervise introduction Between resident pets And new Pets

If you already have a cat or cats and are thinking about getting another one, this post explains how to do that in a safe manner for all cats.

Deciding Against Pet insurance

Pet insurance is a safeguard for those times when your cat may become ill and require ongoing veterinary treatment. Similarly, many medical procedures could mean a big expense. Many people do not have pet insurance. This is something for you to consider.

Not Being Aware Of everyday Things You use That May be Toxic To cats

Keep this information at hand if you are not sure about the toxicity or otherwise appropriateness of feeding you cat certain foods. Owning a cat means that you will become more familiar with what may be toxic to cats in the home and in the garden.

Tugging Or Pulling Your Cat’s Tail Or Allowing Children To Do This

Unfortunately this could result in the child being scratched. If choosing a cat and you have children, this article about child friendly cat breeds may be helpful

There are many other common mistakes that cat owners make. However, I believe these mistakes are the most serious and should be avoided at all costs.

We repay your kindness with love, companionship and lots of purring.

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