You know how skeptical I am when I see stories involving cat advice on the internet. Usually, it’s some half-baked ideas from a writer who really doesn’t understand us kitties. So I was surprised, and really charmed by the story this week in the Mercury News called “10 Things You Should Never Do to Your Cat.” The writer, Jack Hagerman, is on staff at the Pasadena Humane Society, and he clearly get us cats. So I thought I would share some of his advice, and offer up how I’m different (or not) from regular cats.
First on his list was You should not force attention on cats. How come people are so rarely told this in plain language? It’s true! Forcing yourself on most cats already gets your relationship off to a bad start. Cats will get to know you in their own time, not yours.
Me? Yep, I’m different, and I have to be in my role of a therapy cat. I mean, I would much rather not have people be grabby, and my human is there to make sure they don’t go overboard. But I don’t hold it against people who can’t hold back, either. Since I’m already predisposed to being friendly, it’s not a big deal to me.
The writer also tells you not to bring plants into your home before making sure they are safe for cats. My human really knows this one! She can’t bring any plant into the house without me chewing on it, guaranteed. So we don’t have any plants here. And when I’m outside on my leash, she actually doesn’t let me examine most plants too closely. Except for catnip, of course.
Another important point he makes is Don’t teach your cat to ‘hand play.’ I was specifically trained that hands are not toys from the start. And when I was young, if my human tried petting me and I was going crazy, she would either stop, or calmly tell me to be gentle. She would also give me a kicker toy to get out my energy. This is how you humans keep your hands from turning into bloody stumps down the line.
He also points out you should never punish a cat. I’ve gone into this many times. Cats just don’t react well to punishment, and will see the punisher as someone who is a threat to their wellbeing. You don’t want your cat to look at you that way, do you? So figure out positive reinforcement and distraction as ways to keep cats behaving.
Another good one is never leave your cat alone for more than 24 hours. The writer reminds you that cats are not “self-sufficient loners.” We need human interaction… or in Boodie’s case, when she was much younger and still very shy, she still needed someone to show up. Even if the sitter didn’t see her, Boodie knew she’d been there, and she would eventually come out. Also, cats bored at home might get in trouble, and you don’t want to leave them in potential danger. So you really need a pet sitter, or at the very least a highly trusted friend, to come by and look after your cat when you are away.
If you’d like to see more of what this writer has to say — and it’s all good! — you can read the article here.
Other posts you’ll enjoy:
LESLEY CASTLE says
I’m a pretty seasoned cat purrson but one can always use helpful reminders <3
SMARTY CAT says
My Human knows what happens if my play time is skipped for a day! They used to go somewhere during the day after feeding me of course, but lately they don’t go anywhere. I secretly like it, especially the warm lap in front of the computer.
As Rosie is now an inside cat, I buy her grass ! That’s what the vet told me to clean her stomach and hairballs come out with the grass ! Since we are here, she started to attack my leg when I sit on my bed, and then I bleed you could think she murdered me ! I don’t know why she does it, then she runs quickly away before I am able to react ! I always watch that she has her play time and that she doesn’t get bored so I really don’t know why she scratches my leg !
Lola The Rescued Cat says
The last two really make us mad! Some humans just don’t get it, do they? Thanks for sharing this great info.
That Mr. Hagerman does seem to understand more about us pussycats than most humans do.
My mom won’t bring any plants in to my house either, Summer Sweets, ‘cuase like you I also like to nibble on all kinds. Tee hee hee.
Sue Janson says
So good of you to share these “Things not to do to cats” with your readers. They are all very good points. We do not have any plants in our house either. At least one of my kitties would be tasting them for sure, if they were available to him. One of the thing I have the most trouble with is company wanting to force themselves on my cats, because they are so pretty. One cat is much like you and readily goes to people and doesn’t mind being petted, but the other one usually never shows her face unless the person has been in the house for a day or two. The hands are not toys is a great rule.
The K Clowder says
We like everything Jack Hagerman and you said! Especially about “hand play”. Our human has had 3 older rescues (Marv, Penelope and Ghengis) that have had this habit. We have to say that Marv is the worst. Even after 3 years he still grabs, bites and scratches hands. Patience is the key! Great post.
Marv, Jo Jo, Kozmo, Cinnamon and Barb
Melissa & Mudpie says
These are all very important points. I don’t think Mudpie could handle being alone for 24 hours. She wouldn’t act out or be destructive or anything, but I think she would become a little basketcase.
Cathy Keisha says
The writer knows his stuff re: cats. TW made that hands as toys mistake with her families first cat, Faith. They got Faith when she was just weaned and so tiny. She’d wrap her paws around TW’s arm and TW would carry her that way. She continued using TW’s arm as a toy and luckily she was barely 6 lbs when full grown.
After Pop was laid off this year, they mailed his office plants to him. One was a spiky aloe cactus type thing. The first thing TW did was google. It went on the top shelf where I couldn’t get it. Now it’s gone.
Ellen Pilch says
Great information. I never even leave my cats for more than an hour without either my hubby or mom around.
Charles Huss says
Those are all great tips. I think some people expect cats to be like dogs and need to understand that they are not dogs.
Those are all excellent points, Summer! I must admit I had never heard of “kicker toys,” but now I have them bookmarked so I can get my mom to get me some!
gonna have to keep working on the hand thing with norma and alias.
Emma and Buster says
Good points. Hope all’s well with you there.
The Poupounette Gang says
We think that #1 passes.
Tama and Genji
Pat K says
Punishing a cat is kind of like punishing a baby – they don’t understand
why they are being punished and just think you are mean to them.
Eastside Cats says
Well, Summer…I fail miserably at the first item…at least to any cat living here!
In fact, just this morning, I picked up CB and put him on my lap. I gave him smoochies, pets, and hugs!
Sure, he wanted to jump down, but he didn’t tear off like I’d try to pull his tailio…progress!
Caren Gittleman says
This is all fabulous advice! With Bobo I did leave him for 48 hours but he had someone come and play with him and feed him, is that the same as leaving him alone?
Summer Samba says
Having someone come over like that is what you are supposed to do!
The Florida Furkids says
Mom would never let us be alone 24 hours. No plants here either.
The Florida Furkids
the ISland Cats says
Those are all excellent, Summer. Especially the last one. We can’t believe how many people think it’s okay to leave cats alone for days.
Katie Isabella says
All true to the bone so to speak.
Brian Frum says
Absolutely sweet Summer, those are must not dos!
mickeys Musings says
Those are all good points that I agree with 🙂
Rachel Gorlin says
In addition to the plant safety point (a good one!), I’d add that candles and cats don’t mix well. A candle-free home is a small sacrifice for your feline’s safety. How are you with candles, Summer?
Summer Samba says
I’ve actually never seen a lit candle! My human has those Luminara battery operated candles with fake flames.