Over the past 2 decades, our family has raised many cats. In fact, we currently have 7 feline family members! We’ve taken in rescues, adopted kittens and provided a home for strays. These cats have all had their own unique issues, and they’ve taught me A LOT about things you should never do with your cat.
Don’t feel bad if you do some of these things with your pet. They are all common activities that a lot of pet owners do with their cats. I’ve had bad experiences with all of these activities, or I’ve known a friend or family member that has firsthand experience dealing with these issues.
These activities aren’t things that we would necessarily think of as “dangerous”, but they pose serious health risks for our cats. If you read through this article and think that these things are perfectly fine for cats, think again! Just do a quick Google search, and you'll find a lot of scary photos and stories from pet owners who wish they had known this information.
7 Things You Should NEVER Do With Your Cat
String is one of the most cliche cat toys that there is. You see cats playing with yarn on television, in photographs and in memes all over the internet. Sadly, yarn and string are actually very dangerous for cats.
When ingested, your cat’s intestines can become knotted as they attempt to pass the yarn. This results in the death of sections of the intestines that must be surgically removed.
2. “Free feeding”
Most pet owners think that leaving food out for your cat at all times is standard practice. However, cats will overeat, which will lead to obesity. Pay close attention to the serving size guidelines of the food that you feed your cat, and discuss feeding options and recommendations with your veterinarian.
Obesity is one of the biggest health concerns for pets in the United States. It’s important to keep your cat fit for his overall health and well-being. Being overweight can lead to serious health problems including diabetes, heart disease and will end up shortening your pet’s lifespan.
If you aren’t able to be home for regular feedings, consider investing in an automatic feeder that can be set with a timer.
This is another common untruth about cat care. Did you know that most cats are actually lactose intolerant?
They don’t have the same enzymes in their intestines as humans, so cows milk is actually not good for cats. Their body’s can’t digest it the same way that ours do. Feeding your cat milk could lead to stomach upset or lead to other health problems.
Cats tend to like their own space more than their canine counterparts. You should never force attention on your cat. If your kitty doesn’t want to be pet, snuggled or held, let him be. Forcing attention on your cat could actually make him dislike the attention even more and become more solitary.
5. Human food snacks
Many pet owners make the mistake of sharing human food with their cats. Most pet owners also think that giving their cat a human food treat will make their pet happy. While that may be true, there are lots of other ways to make your cat happy.
Fatty, unhealthy human foods will lead to obesity and other health problems. As I mentioned, being overweight can lead to serious health problems including diabetes, heart disease and will end up shortening your pet’s lifespan.
Use positive reinforcement and toys to make your cat happy and reward him for good behavior. Attention and love will make your cat happier than any treat you could provide.
6. Underestimate his emotions
Cats have feelings too. Lots of research has been done on this topic. If you yell at your cat or throw him off the counter, it will make him sad and/or scared. Cats can get depressed when left alone a lot, when there is a change in their environment or if they lose a family member (furry or human).
Cats can suffer from stress and anxiety. Paying attention to your cat’s emotions is extremely important. If you notice any behavior changes or you think your cat is struggling emotionally, reach out to your veterinarian and ask for a consultation.
7. Smoke around him
Secondhand smoke isn’t just bad for humans, it is detrimental to your cat’s health as well. In this day and age, everyone knows the dangers of smoking. If you choose to subject yourself to those dangers, that’s your choice.
If you smoke around your cat, he has no way to escape. A cat’s sense of smell is powerful. Your cat probably hates the smell of smoke and doesn’t want to be around it, but he doesn’t have a choice if you blow secondhand smoke around him.
Cats exposed to secondhand smoke have more eye infections, allergies and respiratory issues than other cats. They are also more likely to suffer from certain kinds of cancer, including lymphoma.
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