Experts uncover 13 things you should never do with your cat

the tired sleeping yawning cat
Some pet owners don’t always know what their cats need. Shutterstock

Cat owners know that each cat species has its own distinct personality, but there are certain guidelines that animal keepers need to be aware of.

Insider has consulted with veterinarians and veterinarians in order to highlight some of the things that cat owners sometimes make wrong.

From exposure to harmful houseplants to random training to scratch people, here are some of the worst things you can do with your furry friend:

Never force attention on your cat.

Petting Cat
Let your cat turn to you and learn to understand when you want to leave him alone. Chris J Ratcliffe / Getty Images

Veterinarian Wendy Hauser told Insider that keepers can never force a cat to socialize or hug if they don’t feel like it.

“Cat owners should not force attention to cats. Although cats enjoy human attention, they love it in smaller doses than dogs and on their own terms. Owners should respect the basic needs of their cat lovers and never force attention on them like e.g., keeping them against their will, ”Hauser said.

Do not bring plants into your home before checking to see if they are safe for cats.

There’s nothing like a fresh bouquet of flowers that tosses up a room – unless, of course, your cat is poisoned. Shutterstock

“Never bring plants or flowers into your house without checking to see if they are non-toxic to cats. Lilies, which are common in flower bouquets, are very toxic to cats, and consuming any part of the plant can lead to kidney failure and death,” Ruth told Insider. MacPete is a veterinarian and author.

The lily is so toxic to cats that even sipping water into the vase containing the lily can lead to kidney damage.

For a complete list of plants poisonous to cats, visit the ASPCA Animal Poisoning Center website.

Don’t let your cat play with yarn or cords.

cat with yarn
The classic image of a kitten patting around a ball of yarn is actually a dangerous scenario. Shutterstock

PurringPal’s animal nutrition expert Jaimee Alsing, a former veterinary technician, told Insider that the yarn is not a safe toy for cats.

“Entering the yarn or cord can cause what veterinarians call a linear foreign body. The intestines crack and knot when they try to pass through the yarn. This results in the death of sections of the intestines that need to be surgically removed,” Alsing said.

Cat safety certified toys are a much better way to entertain cats. Contact your veterinarian if you are not sure if your favorites are suitable for any of your toys.

Owners are not allowed to teach their cats to “play by hand.”

cat attacking hand
Cats may start to think that your fingers are toys. Shutterstock

Whether it’s a laser pointer or a light cable, cats love to hit things that move their way.

But during game time, owners should avoid using their own hands as bait.

“Owners should never play with their cats by hand. This is because cats are willing to chase and hunt prey. When people teach their cats that hands are suitable objects to hunt, the result is usually unpleasant and potentially dangerous for both. human and the cat, “Hauser said.

A more appropriate way to play with a cat is to use a lifeless object (usually a toy) as an intermediate device.

Never punish your cat directly, whether you are knocking on the bottom or using a loud sound.

Your cat may be avoiding you. iStock

For a long time, dog owners who adopt a cat for the first time may be shocked to learn that training a cat for behavior is not as easy as it is for their canine cousins.

For starters, Hauser told Insider that directly reprimanding your cat could have unintended consequences.

“Cats should never be punished directly, verbally or physically. If some owners clap their hands, trample their feet or ring coins in a can to teach the dog that their behavior is unacceptable, this method will hit back with a cat,” he said. Hauser. “Cats are very sensitive to loud noises and raised sounds, they find them scary. They can perceive the person making the sound as a threat and they will avoid them.”

If your cat is behaving in a way that you find unacceptable, it can actually be a completely healthy behavior that simply requires the right solution.

For example, cats that constantly jump on worktops and tables may benefit from a cat tree or dedicated tall perch to see what’s going on around them.

And cats who love to scratch can stop destroying furniture if they get a scraper pole or a toy into which they can go into their claws.

Avoid feeding your cat only dry food.

cat food water
Cats need to stay hydrated. Shutterstock

Alsing told Insider that cats adapt to living in a dry environment and can get all the water from their meals if they are offered a proper diet.

And since cats don’t have a strong desire to be thirsty, they should drink hydrated food.

“Even cats that seem to drink a lot of water don’t drink enough. Chronic dehydration all too often leads to tooth decay, bladder stones and urinary tract infections. Many health problems can be prevented by just eating a daily meal with moist food.” .

There is also a common misconception that feeding cats an occasional dose of canned food leads to obesity, as most of the calories in canned food come from fat. But Alsing explained that due to the higher water content of the cans, the caloric content of wet foods is lower than that of dry foods of the same volume.

Do not “feed” your cat.

cats eating dry food
While you can easily leave an overflowing bowl of food for your cat to snack on, cats are tempted to overeat if their food bowl is always full. Shutterstock

Rary veterinarian Gary Richter told Insider that “feeding cats” for free by allowing them to graze on food at any time can lead to obesity.

“Make sure you only provide the right amount of hard food and moist food that your veterinarian recommends to avoid weight problems,” Richter said.

If your schedule doesn’t allow you to return to a regular diet, you may want to consider purchasing an automatic pet food dispenser that dispenses a pre-dosed amount of dry food at intervals throughout the day.

Cats usually love the sweetness of milk, but avoid pampering them with a saucer.

cat drinking milk
Your cat may like milk, but it may not be good for them. Shutterstock

Richter told Insider that most cats are actually lactose intolerant, so giving cow’s milk can cause significant health problems.

“Milk isn’t necessary for cat food, and while you may think it gives your pets a delicious treat, many cats will suffer from stomach aches or other related problems when given dairy,” Richter said.

Stick to water for hydration, or recommend a small, low-calorie pet treatment for your cat if you want to give them something special.

Never give your cat chewing or eating animal bones.

bones for dogs
No pet should chew bones. Shutterstock

Contrary to what cartoons often depict, domestic cats have no commercial snacks on fish houses or other animal bones.

“Bones are a serious threat to both cats and dogs. Poultry bones in particular are very dangerous because they can shatter and get stuck in a cat’s throat, stomach or intestines,” MacPete said.

Make sure any fish or meat you give your cat as a treat is completely boneless and call your veterinarian immediately if you suspect your pet has ingested bone and shows signs of anxiety.

Unless your veterinarian has given you a medical reason, do not shave your cat.

shaved cat
Cats do not need to be shaved. Shutterstock

Although lion-haired cats are often very cute, Richter says shaving a cat isn’t exactly healthy.

“Cats’ hair helps self-regulate their body temperature to stay warm in winter and cool in summer, so there’s no reason for a cat to shave. Shaving actually reduces their ability to control their body temperature,” Richter told Insider.

There are cases where your veterinarian will advise you to shave some or all of your cat’s fur for medical reasons, but for non-aesthetic reasons, it is advisable to give your cat a tightly cut hairstyle.

Do not give your cat medicines that are intended for humans or dogs.

cat pet carrying cage
Be safe and always ask your veterinarian before giving any medicine to your pet. Shutterstock

Medicines that are safe for humans and dogs can do more harm than good when given to cats.

“Never give your cat any medicine without first talking to your veterinarian. Some medicines can be safe for us or even your dog, but they can be deadly to your cat. And it’s not just prescription drugs; over-the-counter medicines can be just as deadly, “MacPete said.

For example, acetaminophen, a number of human painkillers, is very toxic to cats.

You should not leave your cat alone for more than 24 hours.

sleeping cat kitten
Cats are not always completely self-sufficient. Shutterstock

Many people choose to adopt cats instead of dogs because they have the impression that cats are essentially taking care of themselves. But even though cats tend to be more independent than dogs, they are not self-sufficient lonely.

“Some people think that if they miss enough food and water, cats will be fine on their own for several days. In reality, someone should check their cat lover at least every 24 hours,” Richter said.

If you can’t arrange for a friend or relative to swing your place while you’re away, you can often arrange a night’s supervision or scheduled play times with a trained pet caregiver.

Don’t ignore changes in your cat’s behavior.

sad sleepy cat
Cats cannot express their feelings in the same way as humans. iStock

It is often the responsibility of owners to decipher the traces of their cat’s condition based on physical and behavioral changes.

“Two of the least recognized feline diseases are terribly painful: dental disease and arthritis. When cats suffer from this condition or experience other pain, they change their behavior. Hauser said.

If you notice that your cat’s behavior has changed dramatically, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian to determine if there is a medical reason for your pet’s personality change.

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