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Common Mistakes Made by New Cat Parents

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12. Failure to Prepare Your Cat for Changes

Whether it’s a move to a new house, a pregnancy, adding another pet, or renovation, it can be very scary for your cat to suddenly find herself in an unfamiliar situation. Take the time to ease your cat through changes. For example, if you’re expecting a baby, take time now to help your cat adjust to the changes taking place in the household. If you’re adding to the cat household, do a gradual, positive introduction. Don’t shock the cats by tossing them in together with the expectation that they’ll “work it out.”

13. Punishing Your Cat for Unwanted Behavior

Cats don’t misbehave out of spite. If you think your cat is doing something wrong in a deliberate attempt to make you mad you are mistaken. Animals exhibit behaviors that serve a purpose. They’re trying to solve a problem in the best way they know how. If you punish your cat by hitting, yelling, rubbing her nose in her mess, putting her in time-out, or any other method you may think of, all you’ll succeed in doing is to make her afraid of you. Take the time to figure out the true cause of the cat’s behavior and what is the cat getting from the behavior. You have an obligation to provide for your cat’s needs so she can engage in normal, natural behavior. If she’s scratching the furniture, it probably means the scratching post available isn’t appealing. If she’s peeing on the carpet, it’s not because she’s mad at you — it may be because there’s an underlying medical problem or maybe the litter box is too dirty or not the right set-up. If she bites people, maybe there was no training done or maybe the person approaching is making her feel threatened and trapped. There’s always a reason for the behavior and it’s important for you to look at it from your cat’s point of it. In other words: think like a cat!  By doing that you can create an option that will work for both of you. Punishment is inhumane and counter-productive.

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14. No Environmental Enrichment for Your Cat

A cat is a hunter and she needs stimulation and the opportunity for discovery. Many behavior problems are the result of a boring environment. Your cat needs interactive playtime, solo play, places to scratch, cozy hideaways for napping, elevated areas for climbing and perching, and time with YOU. She also needs to feel secure in her environment. Look around and evaluate whether your environment is really cat friendly.

Want More Information?

For more specific information on cat behavior and training, refer to the best-selling books by Pam Johnson-Bennett. Pam’s books are available at bookstores everywhere, through your favorite online book retail site and also right here on our website.

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For more information on cat behavior and training, refer to the articles on our website and the best-selling books by Pam Johnson-Bennett. If you have a question about your cat’s behavior or health, contact your veterinarian. This article is not intended as a medical diagnosis nor is it a replacement for your cat’s regular veterinary care. This article is for general information purposes only.

 

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