Every paw parent wants only the best for their kitty. However, it’s still possible for cat owners to make potentially fatal mistakes when it comes to the care of their cat. The feline reputation for independence often gives the impression that they are low-maintenance and easy to care for. But, like with any pet, caring for a cat is a big responsibility and it’s all too easy for even the most loving cat owners to accidentally make mistakes. Are you a new cat owner and worried about making a fatal mistake when it comes to the care of your cat? Below, Cat in a Flat breaks down the most common mistakes and how you can avoid them. 

Fatal mistakes cat owners should avoid

1. Improper cleaning routines

Cats are very clean animals, and a lack of tidiness can cause a variety of health issues for your feline. For example, a fatal mistake some cat owners can make is to not clean their kitty’s food and water bowls or litter trays frequently enough. Mr Whiskers might avoid their water bowl if it’s dirty, causing them to drink less water and become dehydrated. Or, a dirty litter box might cause your kitty to poop or pee outside their designated bathroom. This can lead to stress and dangerous conditions like cystitis

How to avoid it: Set up a daily and weekly cleaning routine. Make sure you properly remove waste from the litter box every day. Once a week, empty it out, clean it, and fill it with fresh litter. Take a similar approach when it comes to food and water. Have multiple food bowls available so you can feed your cat from a clean bowl daily. And wash water bowls or fountains once a week to keep them fresh and mold-free.

rich environment, mistakes cat owners make

2. Lack of environmental enrichment

Your feline’s activity levels will depend on their breed, personality, and age. However, even the most docile cat needs plenty of environmental enrichment. A lack of stimulation is a fatal mistake many cat owners can make without even realizing it. Not only can bored cats become aggressive and destructive, but boredom can cause other serious issues too. Mr Whiskers may start over-grooming (which can lead to skin conditions) or become increasingly stressed and depressed. 

How to avoid it: Make a point to play with your cat multiple times every day—aim for 10-15 minutes per session. Create vertical space and set up multiple cat trees throughout your home so your furry friend can climb and play. If you have a garden or a patio, cat proof it so your kitty can safely access the outdoors. You may even consider getting a second cat to keep your feline company (just make sure you take the right steps to introduce your two kitties!).

3. Inadequate nutrition

It’s important for us humans to have a balanced diet in order to stay healthy, and the same goes for our felines! A potentially fatal mistake for some cat owners is to overfeed their cat, or not feed them a proper balanced diet. We know it’s hard to resist doling out treats when your furry friend is staring at you with big, cute eyes. But resist you must if you want to have a healthy and happy feline! 

How to avoid it: Feed your cat a balanced diet of both wet and dry food. Ask your vet how much food they recommend daily for your kitty’s breed and size. Try to avoid leaving food out all day for your feline to graze on, as this can lead to weight gain. Instead, set a daily feeding schedule and leave the food dishes out for just 30-45 minutes. Mr Whiskers may cause a scene at first, but after some time they will get used to their feeding routine. Just be prepared for your kitty to start waking you up in the morning if you sleep even just one minute past their usual breakfast time! 

4. Neglecting healthcare

What’s one of the most common fatal mistake cat owners can make? Failing to keep up with their cat’s dental and health care! Cats and humans don’t share a common language, so it’s not possible for your kitty to tell you when something is wrong. A huge accidental (and potentially fatal) mistake cat owners can make is forgetting to stay up to date with their kitty’s overall physical health care. It’s always better to be preventative rather than to wait until your cat is seriously ill or in pain. Hence, regular proper health care is a must for your feline. 

How to avoid it: Set up a yearly check-up with your vet. Many veterinary offices will even call or text to remind you about your kitty’s annual health check. Be sure to request that if it’s an option! The vet will check everything from your kitty’s teeth to their heart and lungs, and make sure they’re up to date on all their vaccines. And trust your gut. If you think your furry friend is behaving differently, eating less than usual, or acting lethargic, take them in for a check. It never hurts to be cautious with your beloved fur friend! 

5. Improper training methods

It’s a common misconception that felines can’t be trained. In reality, you just need to know the proper methods to use when training your cat. Punishment-based training is NEVER a good idea with kitties. Punishing your fur friend will only result in a lack of trust between you. This is a fatal mistake for cat owners because a distrustful cat is more likely to become withdrawn or try to run away and escape. 

How to avoid it: You only need a few key things to train your cat. A clicker, treats, and patience! For example, if you’d like to train your cat to sit on command, wait for them to sit naturally, press the clicker, then reward them with a treat. After a few weeks, your kitty will associate the clicker with reward and you can begin giving them treats less frequently. You can use similar methods to train your cat to use a cat flap, litter box, or scratching post. Treats certainly are the way to your feline’s heart! 

One potentially fatal mistake cat owners can make is to go on holiday without planning proper pet care for their kitties. Avoid causing your feline unnecessary stress and anxiety by hiring a cat sitter to look after them in the comfort of home. Finding a caring and trustworthy cat sitter is easy through Cat in a Flat. Mr Whiskers will appreciate being able to stay at home, you’ll have peace of mind, and your cat sitter will get to make yet another furry friend. It’s a win for everyone!