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Bring a Kitty Home, Avoid These Rookie Mistakes
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Bring a Kitty Home, Avoid These Rookie Mistakes

Critter Culture Staff
Updated Jul 6, 2022

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Owning a feline can be one of the most rewarding choices you make. But you can't go into the situation unprepared. Whether you've just acquired a kitten, rescued a senior, or are considering adoption, it's important to know the ins and outs of keeping cats. Learn the most common mistakes of ownership; realize what you should avoid or embrace. Give Fluffy a healthy and happy life by understanding the dos and don'ts of kitty care.

1

Blindly going into the situation

Young woman playing with cat in kitchen at home Maryviolet / Getty Images

What type of cat do you want? Are you looking for a specific breed? Where can you find the right animal? Will it fit in with other pets or children? How conducive is your lifestyle to ownership? Can you afford vet bills and upkeep? Before getting a cat, you need to understand that it's a commitment. Many people act impulsively and fail to consider the time, money, care, and maintenance an animal requires. Don't make a move until you're fully prepared for the responsibility of bringing a pet into your home.

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2

Not understanding a cat's personality

woman hugging cat Maryna Terletska / Getty Images

Just like people, cats have unique personalities. Owners sometimes fail to realize this, which is a big mistake. Some kitties are affectionate, while others tend to hide and watch from afar. Whatever the case, be forgiving, understanding, and patient. It's important to take the time and effort to establish a bond with your newest addition. You'll learn from each other and build a solid relationship.

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3

Keeping toxic plants in your home and garden

A small white British cat with green eyes lies upside down on the couch and sniffs a Lily flower SunRay BRI Cattery RU / Getty Images

Cats are curious creatures. They're not shy about sticking their nose where it doesn't belong. Plants are intriguing to them, so if you're growing anything indoors, make sure it's feline-friendly. The same rings true for anything in your garden, especially if your kitty likes to spend time outside.

Tragically, some owners make the mistake of overlooking the dangers of plants until it's too late. Many common offenders are toxic or fatal to cats; lilies are a prime example. Learn what to stay away from so you can keep your furry friend safe.

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4

Failing to know proper litter box care

Woman cleaning cat litter tray at home

Be aware of the N+1 rule: keep one more litter box than the number of cats you have. This is an important concept that most owners don't consider. A kitty may want their own private space or prefer a certain litter type over another.

Litter boxes are often trial-and-error at first. You'll need to discover what works best for your pet. And don't forget about scooping, cleaning, and frequent litter changes for proper hygiene.

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5

Establishing improper eating habits

kitten eats from a steel bowl Magone / Getty Images

Over half of felines are overweight, and obesity is a major contributor to heart disease, diabetes, and other issues. Don't leave food out all day to prevent your cat from overeating. Establish regular feeding times, and use a protein-based food with low filler. High-quality wet and dry varieties have their benefits, and mixing the two is fine.

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6

Deciding upon declawing

person holding kitten paw with claws in hand Kyryl Gorlov / Getty Images

Banned in many areas, declawing is falling out of favor with many who practice veterinary medicine. It's often considered inhumane, as the procedure involves bone amputation. Unless there's a medical need, don't have your cat declawed. Without claws, cats have no defense.

No cat owner wants their flesh or furniture scratched, but permanently removing an animal's means of protection isn't the right way to go. There are better alternatives to declawing, such as training, providing scratching posts, trimming nails, and using claw covers.

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7

Skipping routine vet visits

veterinarian examining cat's ear didesign021 / Getty Images

One of the biggest mistakes owners make is avoiding the vet until something goes wrong. Routine veterinary visits will help curtail some of these problems in the first place. Cats need a wellness check every year, and seniors should have one twice yearly. Animals often don't display signs of illness until the disease progresses to a later stage, so checkups can help find and treat these issues before they intensify.

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8

Not medically protecting indoor cats

veterinarian vaccinates the kitten Dina Damotseva / Getty Images

Some owners don't keep up-to-date on their animal's preventative care. Even if your buddy isn't one to go outdoors, you still need to protect them. Indoor cats aren't entirely safe from rabies, fleas, ticks, and heartworms. Vaccines and monthly treatments are important to a pet's well-being. This simple upkeep could mean the difference between life and death.

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9

Electing not to spay or neuter

cat wearing e-collar Olga Kolesnikova / Getty Images

Unless you're a kitty breeder, it's vital that you take the step to spay or neuter your cat. Millions of homeless animals are in shelters, and only a tiny fraction gets adopted, so the rest live their days in a cage until they're euthanized.

Don't contribute to this unfortunate and unnecessary cycle. As an animal lover and responsible kitty parent, sterilize your cat. Plus, spaying and neutering decreases the likelihood of developing reproductive cancers and diseases. It also makes pets more friendly and less aggressive.

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10

Ignoring hairballs and vomiting

person cleaning cat vomit on the carpet krblokhin / Getty Images

It's not uncommon for a cat to vomit. In fact, it's possibly the most ignored health issue in felines. Owners are just so accustomed to it that they don't consider throwing up a big deal. Yet if a human were to chronically vomit, they'd take action immediately.

Vomiting may be nothing more than expelling hairballs. It could also be from a food allergy. Either of these situations should be treated. More serious problems like cancer, heart disease, or organ failure can also be at play. If your cat tends to throw up, it's imperative to consult a vet.

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