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Common Mistakes Made by New Cat Parents

cat's claws on scratching post

Photo: Fotolia

8. Poor Litter Box Maintenance

You don’t want to use a dirty bathroom. Your cat doesn’t want to either. The most common reason people call my office with a cat behavior problem is because the cat isn’t using the litter box. In many cases the reason is because the human family members aren’t keeping the box clean enough. Make sure you provide your cat with a litter box that is the right size, filled with the type of litter most appealing to her, locate the box in a convenient spot (for kitty) and keep it clean! Scoop at least twice a day. If you have more than one cat, make sure you have enough litter boxes and that they’re located throughout the house so one cat doesn’t have to pass through another cat’s area.

quote from dr. haug



9. Declawing

Don’t put your furniture ahead of the emotional and physical health of your cat. Declawing is essentially 10 amputations. It would be the equivalent of having your fingers amputated at the first joint. Your cat’s claws are a vital part of her physical and emotional health. Scratching serves multiple vital functions in a cat’s life. If you take the time to understand how this instinct works and why it’s beneficial for a cat, you’ll realize how inhumane it is to declaw.

black and white cat on side

Photo: Shutterstock

10. Not buying the Right Scratching Post

If you bought the cute little carpet-covered scratching post from your local pet product store you’re going to be very disappointed because the cat will prefer your furniture to that useless object. Cats need to scratch on a rough material. The post also needs to be tall and sturdy. Do your homework and buy (or make) a scratching post a cat can lean her full weight against and get a good scratch and full body stretch.

scratching post

Photo: Fotolia

11. Failure to Pay Attention to Your Cat’s Behavior

A cat is a creature of habit. When she changes her behavior it can be an indication of a potential medical problem or the reaction to a stress trigger. If your cat’s litter box habits have changed, her food or water intake has changed, activity level is different, etc., view it as a potential red flag that something isn’t right. Contact your veterinarian to make sure there isn’t an underlying medical condition. If your cat gets a clean bill of health then begin an investigation to see what is going on in the environment that might be causing anxiety.


  1. I love this post. I had a cat for eleven years and she was a joy to be around. I had tons of hanging toys for her to play with, scratch posts to scratch and balls to chase.

    She was shy around strangers but when they started shaking her toys she would be right there with all her love.

    I also knew her signs of “That’s enough mama time to relax.” The swishing tail, ears back or eyes narrowed.

    I received a lot of joy from my days with her and she was well looked after. When I found her the vet told me don’t expect a long time, two years at most but she out did them and made it 11 great healthy years with the proper care.

    When you get a cat you need the same attitude as getting a dog and understand there is work and training involved as you would a dog.

  2. Outdoor cats are also more than decimating our song birds.

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