cat mistake

Don’t Do this to your Cat! Common Mistakes Cat Owners Make

Last Updated on July 29, 2023 by admin

In this article we’re going to cover some common mistakes owners make when owning a cat. Whether it’s ignorance or borderline animal cruelty the unfortunate reality is some people simply do not do their homework before welcoming a cat into their own home. Even though cats are mostly independent and might seem more like a room mate than a pet they still require care and attention. Another thing first time owners need to be aware of is that cats have a tendency to hide their weaknesses and will only make very subtle cries for help. If you are not paying attention to your cat, you might miss some signs of life-threatening illness or injury. When you find out it’s too late to help because you missed a crucial window for treatment you will bitterly regret not paying attention. It’s easy to get caught up with life and miss things if you aren’t aware.

Below are some common mistakes owners make along with some unusual ones that we are strongly against (like declawing, which is mutilation and animal abuse to put it mildly).


Feeding Your Cat Too Much

Most cats are good at maintaining their own weight but it’s best to measure out food or keep track of how much you feed them and adjust their calories as necessary. If you like to give your cats a snack this need to be taken out of their regular meal or compensated with more activities. There are basically two ways to feed your cat: free feeding and meal times.

Sure we’ve seen chonky cats dominate social media but when you look at how obesity impacts a cats life, it’s a form of animal abuse. The excess weight will mess up their joints and in general shaves 2-3 years off of a cat’s life expectancy, which in human years is 25-29 years.

Free Feeding

With free feeding you basically top up their food bowl once a day and let your cat eat at its own pace. If you have more than one cat you need to make sure one doesn’t steal the other’s food. This can usually be accomplished by giving each cat their own feeding and watering station far away from the other cat. If you have a cat that steals another cats food both can end up with health problems since one cat will become obese while the other is malnourished.

Also, this method of feeding only works with dry food. Wet cat food can go bad if left out too long and lots of bacteria can grow on the food through out the day. It also requires you to clean the bowl with soap, hot water, and rinsed thoroughly to make sure the cat doesn’t get sick from germs. Even with the free feeding method, you still need to measure out the food. Most dry food packages come with a helpful chart of how much food should be given per pound of body weight.

When this type of feeding works, it can be less work for you and the cat gets to eat whenever it wants to. Also it’s easy to detect when your cat is lacking appetite which might be hinting at a different health issue. If your cat polishes off an entire bowl the second you refill it, you need to exercise discipline and not refill the dish until the next day. It’s also important to pick a time when you can refill the bowl throughout the week so the cat can expect regularity. Many cats will wake you up anyway and hold you to task so it’s better to train them to expect refills at a certain time but you also need to be consistent.

What Is the Healthiest Thing to Feed a Cat?

The healthiest thing to feed a cat is a balanced diet consisting of high-quality commercial cat food that meets the nutritional requirements set by organizations like the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). Cats are obligate carnivores, meaning they require a diet primarily consisting of animal protein. Wet or canned cat food is generally recommended over dry kibble as it provides higher moisture content, which is important for a cat’s hydration. Homemade diets for cats can be challenging to formulate correctly, as they require careful consideration of essential nutrients and potential deficiencies. Raw diets for cats can pose health risks due to potential bacterial contamination and imbalances in nutrients. Treats should only make up a small portion of a cat’s diet and should be nutritionally balanced. It is important to consult with a veterinarian to determine the specific dietary needs of your cat, especially if they have any health conditions or allergies. It is also important to note that cats should not be fed dog food, as it lacks essential nutrients that cats need to thrive.

What Do Cats Hate to Walk On?

Cats hate walking on surfaces that are uncomfortable or unstable. Some specific surfaces that cats dislike include ice, plastics, sticky tape, and aluminum foil. While cats may attempt to walk on plastic surfaces if they need to reach an important place, they generally do not enjoy the experience and are unlikely to repeat it often. However, placing a sheet of plastic in a cat’s way can elicit a funny reaction.

What Should a Cat Owner Not Do?

A cat owner should not feed their cat human food, especially items that are toxic to cats such as chocolate, onions, garlic, grapes, raisins, and certain artificial sweeteners like xylitol. It is also important to avoid giving cats bones, as they can splinter and cause choking or internal injuries. Dairy products should be avoided as well since many cats are lactose intolerant and can experience digestive issues. Furthermore, it is crucial to keep toxic houseplants like lilies, poinsettias, and aloe vera out of their reach. Cat owners should never give their cats alcohol or any caffeinated beverages, as these can be highly toxic and potentially fatal. Raw or undercooked meat should also be avoided, as it may contain harmful bacteria or parasites. Additionally, cat owners should never administer medication or supplements without consulting a veterinarian, as some human medications can be toxic to cats. It is important not to discipline cats physically or yell at them, as this can cause fear, stress, and damage the bond between owner and cat. Instead, positive reinforcement should be used for training. Lastly, cat owners should not ignore their cat’s basic needs, including providing fresh water, a clean litter box, and regular veterinary care, as neglecting these can lead to health issues and behavioral problems.

Do Cats Remember if They Did Something Bad?

Yes, cats have a good long-term memory and are capable of remembering events and experiences, including both positive and negative ones. This means that cats can remember if they did something bad. Negative experiences, such as being hurt, can be stored in a cat’s memory, and they may associate those experiences with specific individuals or situations. As a result, cats may exhibit fear or aggression towards someone who has hurt them in the past. However, it is important to note that individual cat personalities and experiences can vary, so forgiveness may vary from cat to cat. Building trust and providing positive experiences can help improve a cat’s perception and potentially lead to forgiveness.

What Not to Do When Owning a Cat?

When owning a cat, it is important to be aware of certain things that should not be done to ensure their health and safety. Firstly, it is crucial to avoid feeding them human food, especially items that are toxic to cats such as chocolate, onions, garlic, grapes, raisins, and certain artificial sweeteners like xylitol. Additionally, bones should never be given to cats as they can splinter and cause choking or internal injuries. Dairy products like milk should be avoided as many cats are lactose intolerant, which can lead to digestive issues. It is also imperative to never give cats alcohol as it is highly toxic and can cause severe health problems or even be fatal. Raw or undercooked meat should not be fed to cats as it may contain harmful bacteria like salmonella or E. coli. Furthermore, it is crucial to keep houseplants that are toxic to cats, such as lilies, poinsettias, and aloe vera, out of reach to prevent accidental ingestion. Using human medications on cats without consulting a veterinarian should be avoided, as many medications can be toxic or have adverse effects. Essential oils or diffusers should not be used around cats, as some oils can be toxic or irritating to their respiratory system. Declawing cats should never be done, as it is a painful and unnecessary procedure that can lead to behavioral and health issues. Lastly, small objects or strings should not be left within a cat’s reach as they can be swallowed and cause choking or intestinal blockages.

What Is the Hardest Part About Owning a Cat?

The hardest part about owning a cat is the combination of their independent nature and various needs that require attention and care. Cats may not always seek affection or attention from their owners, making it challenging to bond with them on a deeper level. Additionally, their natural instincts to scratch and mark territory can lead to damage to furniture and household items, requiring owners to provide appropriate scratching posts and consistently train them. Regular grooming is necessary to maintain their coat and prevent matting, which can be time-consuming and challenging for some owners. Cats are also known to be picky eaters, requiring a variety of food options to keep them interested in their meals. Furthermore, cats can be prone to certain health issues, necessitating regular veterinary care that can be costly. Their curiosity may lead them to get into mischief or escape from the house, necessitating owners to provide a safe and stimulating environment. Addressing behavioral issues like aggression or inappropriate elimination can be challenging and may require professional help. Cats also require a long-term commitment as they can live for 15-20 years or more, demanding time, finances, and care. Lastly, introducing cats to other pets or children in the household requires careful management to ensure a harmonious environment, and their shedding may require regular cleaning and can be a concern for individuals with allergies.

Do Cats Remember Bad Experiences?

Yes, cats have the ability to remember bad experiences. Research has shown that cats can remember traumatic events and may develop a fear of specific stimuli associated with those events. For example, if a cat has been attacked by a dog, it is likely to remember the incident and develop a fear of dogs in the future. This is due to cats’ survival instincts, which drive their memory of negative experiences. Cats are known to avoid repeat exposure to anything that has caused them trauma in the past, demonstrating their ability to recall and respond to bad experiences.

Fixed Meal Times

With meal times you divide feeding into several meals. Veterinarians recommended feeding kittens three times a day. For adult cats you can usually split it into two feeding windows but most adult cats do just fine being fed once a day. One con of fixed meal times is that cats might nag you for food between meal times.

Mixed Feeding

With mixed feeding you give them wet and dry food at regular intervals. Wet food and dry food have their own advantages and can give your cat much needed variety in their diet. But this style of feeding requires more tracking and planning on the part of the owner. Most owners will want to stick to one type but might need to adopt mixed feeding for health issues. Wet food is particularly good for ensuring your cat gets hydrated and helps with urinary and kidney issues. Dry food is good for your cat’s teeth not to mention less hassle in storing since it doesn’t go bad easily.

Different Cat Breeds Usually Need a Special Diet

Although it’s not necessarily required, certain breeds thrive with a specially formulated diet. Many pet food manufacturers have a line of food formulated by experts designed for a particular breed. If you have a certain pedigree, consider feeding it cat food designed specifically for the breed.

Putting Your Cat on a Vegetarian Diet

Cats are true or obligate carnivores (meaning they have no choice but to eat carnivore due to their make up) and require a meat-based diet. Certain proteins cat need to stay alive can only be found in meat-derived food. Even though dry food might look like it could be made from plants it is an animal product. Feeding your cat a vegan or vegetarian diet can lead to damaged health]( and even death.

Be Careful with Raw Food Diets

Just because a vegetarian diet is bad for your cat doesn’t make a raw food diet automatically good. Unfortunately you will find all kinds of misinformation on this but the truth is there is no real consensus on if raw food is good for your typical house cat. If you really must try this diet with your cat, try to find a commercial offering from a reputable company that is formulated by a veterinary nutritionist. Also make sure to discuss it with your veterinarian and monitor your cat’s health closely and note any changes. Otherwise you might be doing more harm than good for your cat despite your intentions.

Giving Cats Cow Milk

This is a myth propagated by pop culture, especially old cartoons and movies. The truth is most cats are lactose intolerant and will only take to milk specially formulated for cats. Once cats are weaned off their mother’s milk they usually lose the ability to process lactose. Don’t give your cats cow milk.

Not Making Sure Your Cat is Drinking Enough Water

Ensuring your cat is hydrated is very important for your cat’s health. If it’s your first cat you might assume your cat’s water intake is optimal. There are some tips to ensure your cat drinks enough water. For water bowls, make sure you change the water daily and keep the bowl clean. If your cat is reluctant to drink from a bowl you might want to get a water fountain for your cat since cats love running water. However fountains are higher maintenance because they require regular cleaning and sanitation (bacteria grows inside pumps if not properly cleaned).

Not Taking Your Cat to a Vet Regularly

Even though there are lots of things an owner can do to keep their cat healthy, nothing beats getting your cat to the veterinarian regularly and having a veterinarian that knows your cat. Paying a regular visit to the veterinarian will pay off in the long run and may even help you prevent your cat from experiencing a major illness.

Not Getting Pet Insurance

While pet insurance may seem like an extra, unwanted expense on your roster of monthly bills, it’s insurance that’s well worth it. One medical emergency will make up for months if not years of insurance premiums. Plus some insurance plans will make routine visits to the vet more affordable since it’s covered by the plan. If your uninsured cat ever experiences a serious medical issue, there is a chance that you will have no choice but to put your cat down because you can’t afford medical treatment. Think very carefully before you skip on this expense. Try to find an insurance plan that is affordable if money is an issue and be sure to red the fine print.

Declawing Your Cat

If you’re thinking of getting at cat you need to make peace with the fact that they will chew and scratch things no matter how hard you try to prevent it. Although some cats can be trained well with a mix of behavior modification you need to understand that this might not work for your cat. You can either pick your battles wisely and cat proof really important stuff or live in a house covered in bubble wrap.

Some cruel owners think declawing is the answer but declawing is a misnomer. It is limb amputation and nothing like pulling a fingernail off of a human. Imagine having your fingernails pulled out so you don’t “scratch” anything, this is way worse and akin to chopping off the first joint of all your fingers. Honestly this practice should be universally banned and any veterinarian that practices this barbaric mutilation should lose their license.

Not Paying Attention to Hairballs

Cats are very clean creatures and spend 30-50% of their day grooming themselves. If you’ve been around cats you’ll notice them licking themselves all the time. If they have a lot of loose fur that means they will end up ingesting a lot of fur, causing hairballs. Hairballs can not only cause a cat to vomit but can actually get stuck in their digestive tract leading to a medical complication. The best way to manage hairballs is to brush your cat and ensure they drink plenty of water.

Ignoring Excessive or Frequent Vomiting

A cat vomiting can indicate a health issue if it’s a frequent occurrence. Most isolated episodes of vomitting aren’t necessarily a health emergency. But if your cat is throwing up often or does so multiple times, even if the episodes are spaced out, you should investigate further. Do not ever assume, “that’s just the way they are” or “it’s just become a habit”. There is always a cause. Even if it’s caused by hairballs alone that means you need to find a way to reduce hairballs with regular brushing or occasionally feeding them with anti-hairball cat food. If your cat vomits frequently it can be symptom of a serious health issue.

Letting Your Cat become and Outdoor Cat

Giving your cat access to the outside world is a personal choice but it is not a no-brainer by any means unless you’ve adopted a stray and they’re stressed out by being locked indoors. On average outdoor cats only live 2-5 years versus 10-15 years for indoor cats (with many living even longer with great care and good luck with their health). Cats that roam outdoors are at risk of getting run over by cars, mauled by dogs, getting into fights with feral cats, bringing back worms and flees, get kidnapped, captured by pest control, and even harmed by malicious neighbors. It’s something you need to carefully consider.

Also if your cat isn’t neutered or spayed they can wander off looking for love when they go into heat. It’s really heartbreaking to read about missing cats on social media. Many of these owners will never know if their cat is alive and living a happy life away from them or if they became another statistic. Think carefully before you let your indoor cat get a taste of the outdoors, they may never be happy being locked in the house again.

Not Neutering or Spaying Your Cat

Neutering or spaying your cat will give it a longer and healthier life. It will also lead to a happier cat. You should seriously consider getting your cat fixed before it reaches sexual maturity. Cats that aren’t neutered are known to be escape the house to go look for love. Also if you have a female cat you can end up with an unwanted litter of kittens. Pregnancy complications will lead to a huge vet bill too.


Cat vaccines come with many benefits but you also need to be aware of injection site sarcomas (cancer caused by injection needles). If you plan to travel to foreign countries with your cat, it usually involves your cat getting vaccines. The more injections your cat gets the higher the risk of developing injection site sarcoma which usually requires surgery, amputation, and other treatment. Be sure to read up on the issue and discuss this with your veterinarian.

Not Protecting Your Cat from Fleas and Other Bugs

Just because your cat is indoors doesn’t mean they can’t get fleas, parasites, or other bugs. Even brief contact with other animals can lead to an infestation if they’re unlucky. Make sure you consult your veterinarian to make sure the issue never becomes a problem with good preventative measures and regular checkups.

Neglecting Dental Care

It’s best to brush your cat’s teeth regularly especially as they get older. Some cats will fight you to the bitter end if you try to brush your teeth so it’s best to start early. If not you should seek professional dental care from a veternarian or experienced pet groomer.

Not Keeping their Litter and Personal Space Clean

Unfortunately some people slack with keeping the cat’s litter clean. Cats hate filth and you can end up giving the cat constipation and other behavioral problems. Your cat might end up relieving themselves outside the litter box because they can’t stand the filth. Also unclean cat litter can become a breeding ground for germs and pathogens that are also harmful to humans.

Disciplining Your Cat with Verbal or Physical Abuse

Despite their mischievous nature cats are delicate beings. You should find ways to reinforce positive behavior while distracting them from bad behavior. If you frequently yell at your cat, it can traumatize them and cause deep psychological issues. Once you break that bond, they may never trust you or be constantly bombarded by stress hormones just being in your presence. You need to find creative ways to modify cat behavior without harming them psychologically. When cats act out they usually have a good reason, address the root cause and not punish the cat for being a cat.

Caring for a Cat is a Commitment

If you’re considering whether you should get your first cat, know that it’s a huge commitment. Although the list above might seem daunting, it’s nothing compared to the love and joy a cat can bring into your life. But that’s only if you are ready and willing to make the commitment to give them a long and happy life. If you are ready for the cat life and can provide these things you will be rewarded by the experience so much that you can’t imagine a life without cats.