20 Common Mistakes of First-Time Cat People, Part 2

Cats are curious, intelligent, wonderful pets — just be sure you’re prepared for what it means to care for them.

Don’t be so sure your new kitty is the cuddly type. By: Fabian Canosa

Editor’s Note: This is Part 2 in a 2-part series. Be sure to check out the first 10 common mistakes new cat people make in Part 1.

Hey, we all make mistakes. But maybe we don’t have to — if we have some great advice thrown our way.

Here are the next 10 mistakes that are common among first-time cat people.

11. Cats Belong Outdoors

A common reason people leave cats outdoors is to reduce spraying because they’re not neutered. The solution? Get your cat fixed and don’t add to the overpopulation problem.

Other dangers exist outdoors aside from the stalking behavior or “thrill of the kill” you think your cat needs. Cars can hit, raccoons can transfer rabies, the neighbor doesn’t clean up an antifreeze spill — or your cat could get locked in a building while exploring. The possibilities are endless.

If you allow your cats outdoors, have them spayed or neutered, as well as keep them updated on vaccines. While I firmly believe cats will have longer, happier lives indoors, I know others enjoy giving their cats that outdoor freedom.

12. Cats Can Eat Anything

False. Several foods, plants and other items are toxic to cats and can cause illness or death.

Giving cats the wrong medications, medications designed for dogs or even human medications is a leading cause of death among household pets. Always use medications specifically designed for cats.

13. The Other Pets Won’t Mind

If you have existing pets, spend the time to properly introduce and socialize them with your cat. Some small animals and rodents may be considered prey by your new feline addition and need to be regularly secured and supervised.

Some dogs with high prey drives cannot be trusted with cats, so do your research. And even if your dog doesn’t attack the cat, the cat can always attack the dog.

Never give your cat medication that’s intended for use in dogs or people. By: Melissa Wiese

14. My Indoor Cat Doesn’t Need a Checkup

The truth? They should be checked so the vet can evaluate their coat, ears, teeth, eyes, skin, blood work, weight and many other concerns.

Allowing hidden illnesses to go unnoticed will only increase your pet’s problems — and your expenses.

15. My Cat Will Never Get Lost

Outdoor cats’ nearby proximity is not guaranteed. They may get distracted by something and venture farther than they realize. Finding their way back depends on the distance traveled and their instincts.

Don’t chance it — always have a collar and tag on your cat for easy identification. Another option is microchipping, which is inexpensive and ensures your pet’s return if they are lost and scanned. There are also pet amber alert systems in place, but it’s best to plan ahead — consider the microchip option.

And here’s something exciting to know: You can get reimbursed for the cost of microchipping under Embrace Pet Insurance’s Wellness Rewards. Curious about the cost of pet health insurance? It’s more affordable than you probably think. Get your FREE, no-hassle quote here (affiliate link).

16. Pet Meds Are Good for Any Pet

No, they’re not. Many medications and treatments for dogs and humans can be deadly to cats. Even the wrong type or dosage of flea medications or collars can kill a cat.

Always read the label before giving anything to your cats to ensure it is specifically made for them.

17. She’s Just Acting Funny

Notice a change in attitude or appetite — or is your cat missing the litter box? Some of these symptoms can be telltale signs of bigger problems and should not be ignored.

Check to see if you’ve made any recent changes in food, litter or furniture, or other household changes and additions that might have thrown your cat off track. If nothing stands out, prepare to make a vet trip to get the kitty checked out.

Sometimes cats and dogs really do get along:

18. Cats Always Vomit

Cats shouldn’t vomit hairballs all the time. Additional grooming attention from you can help curb the frequency of hairballs.

If your cat is vomiting regularly, there could be a more serious problem with the digestive system. Have the veterinarian check out the stomach and intestinal track.

19. Training Is Unnecessary

Cats and dogs mostly learn best from positive reinforcement; getting rewarded for a behavior makes them want to repeat the desired behavior, so try training your cat to, say, not scratch up the furniture.

20. All Cats Are Affectionate

Not true — as my little furball can attest. He plops himself in my lap when I’m working, but if I pick him up and want to snuggle, I get the rawr of displeasure and ol’ jump-and-run behavior. Be prepared to adapt to your new cat — not the other way around.

Certain cat breeds can be very friendly, but genetic predispositions won’t determine every personality. If you’re getting a cat just to have a snuggle buddy, be realistic and patient — or get a stuffed teddy bear instead.


This pet health content was reviewed by a veterinarian.

Kristine Lacoste

View posts by Kristine Lacoste
Kristine Lacoste, editor in chief of Petful, is an author, poet and pet lover from Louisiana. She is the author of an award-nominated book, One Unforgettable Journey, and was host of a weekly pet news segment on the National K-9 Academy Radio Show. She was the New Orleans coordinator for Dogs on Deployment, a nonprofit that helps military members and their pets, for 3 years. She is also employed as chief operating officer for a large mental health practice in Louisiana. Kristine has a bachelor’s degree in psychology, a bachelor’s degree in English and a Master of Business Administration degree.

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