Top 15 Mistakes Cat Parents Make

© Can Stock Photo Inc.  sorsillo
© Can Stock Photo Inc. sorsillo

We all make mistakes. Whether you’re a new cat owner or you have had cats all of your life, you need to read this. Avoid making these top 15 mistakes cat parents make.

  1. Thinking Your Cat is Just Big

    Your cat is not just big. He’s overweight, and possibly obese. This can cause a variety of health problems.

  2. Only Taking Your Cat to the Vet When He’s Sick

    Your cat needs a yearly well-check just like we do. Your cat might have something going on that you aren’t aware of, but your veterinarian will find. Discovering a health problem early can make all the difference. Plus, it’s the perfect time to ask all of your cat questions. Make a list before your appointment. It’s not as expensive as you may think. Plus, some vet offices offer payment options, and there is Care Credit – a credit card just for vet visits. If you plan on using Care Credit ask your vet if they accept this payment option first.

  3. Not Taking Your Cat to the Vet When He’s Sick

    You might think your cat just has a cold or something that will heal on its own. However, when your cat is ill she needs to see her veterinarian to get a proper diagnosis and the appropriate treatment. Dr. Jeff Werber, a Los Angeles veterinarian, advises, “Cats are better at hiding illness, and often, by the time the pet parent gets to the veterinarian, the illness has progressed to a point where treatments are limited.

  4. Getting Cat Food Advice from a Pet Store Owner

    A pet store owner is not a veterinarian. They may have no education or expertise about cats. If you need cat food advice you need to see your veterinarian. Not only is your cat’s vet a true expert, he also knows your cat’s medical health history and specific needs.

  5. Smothering Your Cat with Affection

    Cats will come to you when seeking affection. If you overwhelm your cat with affection she will likely try to run away or just stay away from you. Cats do things in their own time. Never force hold a cat when all she wants is to get down. Too much attention causes too much stimulus for the cat that overwhelms her. Let her come to you. The wait will be worth it.

  1. I’m Not Going to Confine My Cat Indoors

    Cats thrive indoors. They don’t need to go outdoors. Kelly Meister, author of Crazy Critter Lady, informs, “Perhaps the biggest mistake cat owners make is thinking that their cat will be unhappy if it never gets to go outside. Outdoor cats tend to live no more than 3 years – mainly because predators such as coyotes will eat them, and also because they get hit by cars. Indoor cats can live 14 years or better, and be perfectly happy never going outside, so long as you provide them with interesting diversions inside, such as toy mice, boxes, kitty condos, catnip, and the like.” Many cats can live up to 25 years or longer when indoors.

  2. Not Getting Your Cat Spayed or Neutered

    This is an all too common cat parent mistake. Your cat needs to be spayed or neutered, even though she’s an indoor cat.

  3. Not Litter Training Your Kitten

    While cats do have a natural instinct to paw in dirt, or litter, they still need to be litter trained. The best way to do this is to get the smell of their urine and/or feces into the litter box. If your kitten has peed somewhere use a paper towel to sop it up and put the paper towel inside the litter box. Bury it in the litter. If she poops outside the litter box pick it up with a paper towel and drop it in the litter box. Throw the paper towel away. This will help your kitten understand that this is where she needs to go. She will put the smell of her urine and feces together with the litter box. Praise her when she does go. Listen for scratching in the litter box and wait for her to come out. Offer vocal praises, treats and pets.

  4. Not Grooming Your Cattop mistakes made by cat parents

    While cats do groom themselves with their rough tongues they still need some help from us. Get a good brush with which to groom them. Groom her regularly, depending on how furry your cat is. Some need to be brushed daily, while others can go a week. You can also get some help from a cat groomer who will trim your cat’s fur just like a dog groomer will trim a dog’s fur. This can help tremendously with shedding and make grooming easier for you.

  5. Not Cleaning the Litter Box Enough

    Cats need things to be clean. They despise anything dirty, especially when it is something they use. If your cat’s litter box isn’t cleaned enough she will start to refuse to use it. This can result in some health problems as she might try to hold it as long as possible, and then end up going outside of the litter box. This usually results in a urinary tract infection, which needs medical attention from her vet. Clean the litter box daily be using a slotted scooper to remove her urine and feces. Once a week the litter box needs to be emptied and replaced with clean litter. Keep up this litter box maintenance. If you have more than one cat you need more than one litter box – one per cat, and those need to be cleaned regularly too.

  6. Thinking Cat Vaccinations Are Optional

    They are not optional, just like children’s vaccinations are not optional. The vaccinations are there to prevent deadly diseases.

  7. Providing Never-Ending Food

    This will almost always result in a cat that is overfed. Cats tend to eat everything that is offered to them, even if it’s too much. You will soon have an overweight or obese cat on your hands. Consult your veterinarian on how much wet food and dry food your cat needs per day.

  8. Feeding Your Cat Anything

    Cats need a lot of protein along with the proper amount of vitamins and minerals, which is in their wet and dry cat food. They do not need human food at all. It’s tempting to give into those pleading eyes to share your food, but it’s best you don’t. Never offer your cat milk as they become lactose intolerant shortly after they are weaned off of their mother’s milk.

  9. Ineffective Cat Training

    Cats do not understand yelling nor physical abuse (never hit or throw your cat or harm her in any way). Training a cat takes patience and possibly a spray water bottle. When she is doing something she shouldn’t be, such as scratching a doorway, sitting on the dinner table, etc., you need to just spray her with water until she stops doing what she’s not supposed to be doing. While spraying you can sternly (not yell) say “No!”.You also need to praise your cat when she does something right. For example, when training your cat to use her scratching post and not your furniture, you need to praise her when she uses her scratching post. When you catch her scratching the furniture, pick her up, move her to her scratching post, and place her paws on it. After time your cat will understand what she is not to do, and what she should do. She will test your patience so stay strong and remain consistent.

    Kathryn Primm, DVM, says, “The biggest mistake that cat owners make is not training their cat not to fear the carrier!!! You WILL have to take your cat somewhere sometime and it is torture if you have not trained her to accept travel without fear. It cannot be stressed enough that this simple training technique improves and extends your cat’s life.”

  10. Ignoring Your Cat’s Oral Health

    Your cat needs oral health care. Poor oral care will lead to decay, pain, and eventually extractions. This can be prevented with good oral care. You can get cat toothpaste and a cat toothbrush at a local pet store. Never use human toothpaste as it is toxic to cats.

Avoid these common cat parent mistakes! Pass it on to your friends and family.

 Featured Image: Thinkstock


Nicky LaMarco has been a freelance writer since 2001. Nicky is an experienced ghostwriter and copywriter. She also writes for a variety of magazines. Nicky lives in Maine with her husband, two daughters, and two cats. Learn more about her at