10 Common Mistakes Cat Owners Make When Caring For Their Cat



10 Common Mistakes Cat Owners Make

By Dr. Karen Becker -Proactive and integrative wellness veterinarian

Note from The Catnip Times:  I personally take exception to #7 below.  I feed my cats both wet and dry food.  I choose organic, grain-free brands of food that are human-grade.  I do believe the dry food has to be top quality, grain free and organic for optimum health.  I have heard that some vets encourage wet food if a cat isn’t well hydrated, but otherwise, there is a long-standing debate over wet vs. dry food.  Dry food is also good for the teeth and preventing tartar build-up.  Ultimately, you should consult your veterinarian. 

Cats require specialized care, which is a fact even many cat lovers don’t realize.

Ten common mistakes people owned by cats make:

1. Using products intended for dogs on their cat. Under certain circumstances, this can prove to be a fatal mistake. Never assume any product designed for dogs is safe for cats as well. Use only products that clearly state they are safe for kitties.

2. Giving human medications. This, too, can prove fatal. Always consult your veterinarian before medicating your kitty.

3. Allowing Fluffy to grow obese. Over half the domesticated cats in the U.S. are overfed and under-exercised.

4. Inattention to the litter box. Cats are extremely clean creatures. They don’t like dirty, smelly litter. They also have individual preferences when it comes to types of litter and litter boxes.

5. Taking a hands-off approach to your cat. It’s true kitties are independent and self-sufficient by nature, but your furry feline still needs your help with brushing or combing, nail trims, dental hygiene and even the occasional bath.

Read:  10 Most Common Cat Behaviors

6. Not taking Garfield to the vet for regular wellness checkups. Just because kitty doesn’t like to visit the vet (or even leave the house) doesn’t mean he shouldn’t. Housecats are much less likely to see a vet regularly than their canine counterparts, to the detriment of their good health.

7. Feeding dry food. Dry kibble is hands-down the worst thing you can feed your precious kitty. Most brands are devoid of exactly the kind of nourishment your cat needs to be healthy all her life. If you’re feeding your cat dry food, I recommend you start today to make gradual improvements in her diet.

8. Misinterpreting behavior changes in your kitty. Cats are stoic creatures. As a result, it can be challenging to know when your favorite feline isn’t feeling well. One thing to look for is any change in his behavior, and in particular his litter box habits. Never assume a kitty that suddenly starts eliminating outside his box is misbehaving just to misbehave. Something about his health or his environment is causing the change, and he’s depending on you to help him sort it out.

9. Assuming it’s normal for your cat to throw up. It’s not. While it’s true too many cats vomit too often, throwing up is a sign of an underlying problem that requires attention. There are reasons kitties throw up. Hairballs are just one of them.

10. Not brushing those tiny teeth. Dental disease is one of the most common reasons cats visit the vet, and also one of the most costly. Dental disease isn’t always confined to the mouth, either. It can lead to a host of other health problems for your furry feline.

Read:  Study Finds Pets May Influence Human Behavior

Sound off! Tell us what you think!


  1. Victoria James

    Number 7 is correct. According to Dr Lisa Pierson of catinfo.org, a major cause of feline obesity, feline diabetes and kidney problems is dry food. Cats are not designed to eat dry food. The worst canned cat food (AAFCO approved) is far healthier for your cat than the best dry food. I learned this the hard way. When I got my cat, I did my homework. I fed her a diet consisting of both wet and dry food. That is what my cat’s vet recommended, as well as a feline nutrition expert I knew. Six months ago, my cat developed diabetes. Fortunately, my cat’s vet and I caught it early. Feline Diabetes, if caught early, can be reversed. I did a lot of research. I discovered that the dietary recommendation for cats changed two years ago, based on research done by many vets, including Dr Pierson. I put my cat on an all wet food diet, “The Catkins Diet” which is the Atkins Diet for cats. My cat gets less than 10% of her daily intake of calories from carbohydrates. Her food’s ratio of protein to fat is 60/40. We were able to control her diabetes through diet alone. I did have a prescription for Lantis, the recommended insulin for cats. Most newly diabetic cats do best if they are put on insulin early. Lantis is expensive, but it has the best track record of helping diabetic cats go into remission–and eventually off the juice. Unlike people, some diabetic cats, if treated early, do regenerate some islet cells in their pancreas and return to a non-diabetic state. When this happens, cat caretakers still have to feed their friends the Catkins diet–and avoid kibble style treats.

    • Wesley

      I still disagree, with the caveat that the quality food I refer to is grain-free. So the dry food I feed my cats is all protein. They get both wet and dry food and we don’t have obesity issues.

      I agree that a diet high in carbohydrates can lead to obesity and cats are carnivores. They are meant to eat high protein diets.

      I also had a diabetic cat as well – and so I know what it’s like to give insulin shots, etc. I adopted her knowing she was a special-needs diabetic cat. I also fed her a low-carb diet. Thanks for your comments.

  2. Greta Miller

    I never brushed my cat’s teeth, and I’ve had cats most of my life. Is there a special brush and paste you are suppose to use? Is there a chew thing like they have for dogs? I have a kitten who is about a year old. I would brush her teeth if this is something I should be doing.

    • Wesley

      I have never brushed my cat’s teeth either. This is why I disagreed with #7. Good quality dry food can usually help keep your cat’s teeth healthy.


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