Ten Ways…

…to Unknowingly Crush Your Cat’s Spirit


Famously independent, sometimes falsely assumed to be immune to feelings, cats are in truth super-sensitive to emotions, sound and stress. Perhaps because felines lack the eager-to-please openness of their canine colleagues, humans overlook the big and small ways that they can break a cat’s spirit.  Are you guilty of any of these?

Not Cleaning the Litter Box: Leave the box filled with kitty’s waste because some new litters promise freshness for multiple days–so you wait till the weekend for that dreaded chore of cleaning the litter box. Imagine leaving your own toilet unflushed all week long, and you’ll know how your cat feels.

Shouting: Raised voices will terrify your cat. Feline ears are extra sensitive to loud noises, so yelling is amplified to extreme levels. A cat who hears shouting will flatten her ears, lower her head and look for a place to hide, away from the sound and fury.

Punishing: Yelling “bad cat,” throwing things, motioning in anger and scolding your cat when she misses the litter box or claws your sofa, tells her you are unhappy, even if she has no idea why. Grabbing him and shoving her face in a mess will leave her petrified. Her eyes will darken in fear, but will not alter her displeasing behavior because all you’re teaching her is to be afraid.

Ignoring The Pain: Looking away when your cat repeatedly chews at a sore spot on her belly or furiously scratches at her ears. Cats are masters at hiding their discomfort, whether an infected tooth makes eating difficult or a urinary tract infection means litter box visits are pure agony. Monitoring your cat’s wellbeing means being a pain detective so you know what ails your cat, even if she can’t tell you directly.

Leaving the Lights Off: Left alone in a silent home when darkness falls, your cat will feel abandoned. Yes, cats can see in the dark. But why not provide a radio for murmured sounds of companionship, and a nightlight, a small beacon of brightness to remind Tabby that you’ll be home soon.

Teasing: Pulling on your cat’s tail (or letting your kids do so), blowing in her face, ruffling her fur while she’s sleeping, picking her up if she dislikes being handled, jiggling her in your arms—such antagonizing behavior confuses and depresses your cat, who wants to love you. Why goad her into feeling dislike instead?

Skipping the Small Stuff: Never grooming your cat, allowing her to experience the discomfort of hairballs. Not trimming her claws, so she snags them around the house. Not checking her ears for mites, even when she shakes her head repeatedly. Ignoring her problems chewing, even if it signals gum or tooth trouble. The little things add up and can deplete your cat’s energy and health.

Hurting:  Hitting, kicking, physically harming a cat in any way, from a “light tap” to a hard smack, is inhumane, evil, morally wrong and guaranteed to instill fear in any cat, breaking her spirit, and her heart, in the process. Physical pain teaches cats to fear people.

Not Filling or Cleaning the Water Dish: Filling a small bowl with water and letting the cat drink from it no matter how long it sits, how much dust accumulates, what spills into it, then topping off the same bowl a few days from now without washing it—this gives your cat the opportunity to drink stagnant water, down to the last drop. And how many times have you enjoyed a bottled water today?

Neglecting Your Cat: Offering your cat no attention, no conversation, no affection, no interaction and no playtime leaves your cat confused. She craves even the smallest gesture or word of kindness in exchange for her pure devotion to you.

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