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Common Mistakes Made By Cat Owners

  • Failing to desex (spay/neuter) a cat: Every year millions of cats are euthanised in shelters due to a chronic shortage of homes. As such, it is important for every cat owner to do his/her part and have their cat desexed to prevent the creation of more unwanted kittens. Not only is this the responsible thing to do but it is better for your cat to be desexed. Entire female are at risk of developing the following conditions: breast cancer, pyometra, tumours of the uterus and ovaries. Male cats have a risk of developing testicular cancer.
  • Obtaining a cat without considerable thought: This is another common problem. People see a cute kitten and immediately decide to adopt it. Once home they realise they have made a mistake. They are not prepared for the responsibility of a cat, not all members of the family are happy to have a cat, resident pets don't adapt well to the new addition or it just doesn't fit into your lifestyle. Buying a cat isn't the same as buying a new pair of shoes, time, thought, discussion with other family members and research should all be done before making a decision to bring a cat into your home.
  • Obtaining a cat without thoroughly checking out its health and personality: When a household decides to adopt a cat, be it from the shelter or a breeder a great deal of time should go into selecting the right animal. Do you want a purebred or a mixed breed cat? What kind of personality are you looking for? Is the animal in question in good health, appears friendly and sociable. If you are buying from a breeder, ensure they are registered with an appropriate cat council. Ask if the cat comes with a health guarantee. When visiting the cattery check out the overall health of the animals. Have everything put in writing, including the final cost of the cat, health guarantees etc. If you have put down a deposit, make sure you obtain a receipt. For further information on buying a purebred cat, read here...
  • Buying purebreds from pet shops or backyard breeders: This is an expensive exercise. Pet shops generally charge more for purebred kittens than a registered breeder would. Not only this, but there will be no history of your cat's parentage and no registration papers will be supplied. Some breeds of cat have genetic problems which breeders can screen for. If you are buying from a pet shop or a backyard breeder there is probably little chance that this screening has taken place. As a result, you may be buying a cat who could have substantial medical bills in the future or even pass away suddenly.
  • Not seeking veterinary help: Sometimes people don't realise the seriousness of a medical condition and fail to take appropriate action and get the cat to a vet. This may be because the owner doesn't have sufficient funds at the time, they don't have the time, or they don't believe the condition to be serious. It is advised that cat owners either set up a special "cat fund" where they can deposit $5 or $10 per week, only to be used in the case of an emergency or have pet health insurance. Cat owners should be aware of their cat's physical and emotional state of being at all times. Look out for signs of illness such as loss of appetite, increase in appetite, coat condition, general appearance, changes to toileting habits, the presence of wounds or injuries and seek appropriate veterinary help. It is better to be safe than sorry and delaying veterinary care may result in prolonged suffering for your cat, greater expense as untreated medical conditions may be more complex to treat or even death.
  • Not vaccinating: Failure to vaccinate can have a dire consequence on your cat. Even if you have an indoor only cat, it must still be vaccinated as recommended by your veterinarian. Vaccinating helps protect your cat from some serious and life threatening diseases.
  • Not cat proofing your home: This may result in injury or death to your cat. For further information on how to cat proof your home, read here...
  • Physically punishing a cat: A cat should never be physically punished. Cats don't understand this type of punishment and it induces stress and fear in your cat and doesn't teach your cat anything. If you have a specific behavioural problem which needs to be addressed, behaviour modification done with kindness and respect will have a far greater success rate than smacking or hitting your cat.
  • Using the wrong flea product: Unless stated by your veterinarian, cats should be treated with a cat flea treatment only. Some pet owners think they will save money by using a dog product on their cats. This can prove fatal. Cats are extremely sensitive to pyrethrins and pyrethroids which are often in dog flea products. The use of these on cats can result in death. So, only ever use a cat flea product, and we recommend you speak to your vet to see which product he/she suggests is best to be used on your cat.
  • Not feeding an appropriate diet: Cats have very specific dietary needs and as such need a balanced diet. There are many commercially available brands of cat food available which will fulfil your cat's dietary requirements. Don't attempt to feed your cat a homemade diet unless you have spent a great deal of time researching.
  • Letting your cat roam: There are so many risks to free-roaming cats and their lifespan is considerably shorter than that of indoor only cats, or cats with limited/supervised access outside. Not only are they at risk of being hit by a car, attacked by another cat or dog, plus many other dangers they encounter, but they are also a problem to the wildlife and a nuisance to your neighbours. Just because you love your cat doesn't mean that your neighbour does. The best solution is to either keep your cat indoors or provide it with a cat enclosure or cat proof your yard. That way, your cat can enjoy the outdoors without the dangers.

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Kitten care   Common cat questions