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Health and Wellness

Common Mistakes of Cat Parents

Although cats have a reputation for being independent animals, that definitely doesn’t mean, “no care necessary.” Even the most experienced cat owners make mistakes. But, avoiding these common ones will result in a healthier, happier cat and a better relationship between you and your furry companion! Here are five mistakes cat owners make.

Failure to Spay or Neuter

This may come as a shock to some, but there are a lot of cat owners who don’t have their pets altered, ever. Many are under the belief that their cat’s personality will change, that he or she will become overweight, that it isn’t necessary because the cat stays indoors all the time, or that (yes, this is a common reason) they want their cat or child to experience the miracle of birth.

The benefits of spaying and neutering cats are so significant, it’s surprising the topic is still up for debate. Altering your cat helps control pet overpopulation. It decreases many forms of cancer and infections. It greatly reduces negative behaviors like aggression, marking and spraying, calling, and desire to leave the home. The procedure is common, safe and can be done inexpensively. By all means, please, have your cat spayed or neutered. You and your fur kid will be happier for it!

Using Dog-Specific Products on Your Cat

Dogs and cats are not created equal. And – neither are the products that are made for them! In fact, The Pet Poison Helpline lists topical spot-on flea products for dogs as one of the top 10 toxins they get called on from worried cat parents. While flea protection is a necessary part of caring for your cat, it’s vitally important that you carefully select products that are labeled for use in cats! Flea treatment intended for use on dogs only can actually kill your kitty. There are plenty of safe, cat-specific, flea treatments for kitties like Advantage for Cats. Or, you can look into some natural flea treatments. Curious what else is toxic for your kitty? Check out this list of the most common toxins for cats.

Not Paying Attention to the Litter Box

You know that icky feeling you get when you walk into a filthy public restroom or (even worse) a port-o-potty at an event? Now imagine if your sense of smell was fourteen times greater than it is now! That’s what a cat feels like when he has to use a dirty litter box.

If the litter box isn’t scooped daily and completely emptied and washed out regularly, your cat will likely look for another place in your home to “do his business.” Can you blame him? Additionally, cats can be picky little creatures, and may be turned off by the texture of some litters, the size of the litter box, it’s location in your home, and other factors. Pay close attention to your cat’s litter box behavior to be sure you’ve got a system that both you and, most importantly, your cat are happy with! If you’re having problems in this area, check out our guide on Solving Litter Box Problems.

Not Taking Care of Your Cat’s Teeth

Dental problems are one of the most common reasons cats go to the vet – and also one of the most expensive. Many cat parents don’t realize that dental disease doesn’t stop in your cat’s mouth. It can lead to painful infections and abscesses, and later – kidney, heart and liver disease. It’s important to start early, when your cat is young, getting her used to routine at-home dental cleaning.

Brushing your cat’s teeth is the very best you can do to keep them pearly white and free from plaque. Be sure you only use toothpaste made specifically for cats – not human toothpaste that often contains artificial sweeteners that are toxic to pets. If your cat won’t allow brushing, you can try additives for your cat’s drinking water or dental treats.

If you notice your cat has bad breath, red gums, or a lot of tartar on her teeth, take her to your veterinarian for a routine cleaning.

Letting Cats Get Bored

A lot of people choose cats as their companion because they are low-key, independent pets. Just because kitties nap for a good portion of the day and may be quite content to gaze out the window for hours at a time – that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have access to toys! Additionally, cat parents should make time every single day to interact with their feline companions. Toss your cat a toy, play with a wand toy like Neko Flies or DaBird, or let kitty chase the laser around. Playing is important for both the mental and physical wellbeing of your cat. Not only that, but bored cats can often get into trouble. Here are 10 Totally Cool Ways to Entertain a Bored Cat.

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Just when this dog-eat-dog world has handed you all the poop you can take, it's time to walk the dog. Or wash the dog. Or feed the dog. You get the idea. So welcome to the world of easy-to-care-for cats. Entertainment comes bundled in a furry, huggable, self-cleaning cat who won't beg for your food. In his eyes, you don't eat well enough anyway. Just keep a laser pen handy, sit back and wait for the fun to begin! Cats...ya gotta love 'em.

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