How to Treat Your Cat: Pets Are Not Fur People


I’ve already tried to debunk the claim, often couched in scientific terms, that your cat thinks you are a giant furless cat. That is a silly and quite unprovable claim but at its heart is another, perhaps harmful myth:

Your cat is a furry little human. Many of us think of our cats as our children. Not only do we prescribe human emotions to them, but human needs. We treat them like humans, instead of cats.

Your cat is a cat.

Cats are unlike humans in many ways. Your cat’s needs, desires, and motivations are a probably a mystery to you, but studies of cat behavior can tell us that cats have different needs, both physical and emotional, than humans.

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Sure, giving your cat love is a good thing. But, is carrying kitty around like a baby also a good thing? Is dressing up kitty in pretty clothes a good thing? Is lavishing all sorts of attention on kitty a good thing if it means denying her what she really needs to be happy and healthy?

Learn about what you cat really needs and what he or she really wants. Your cat does show you affection and expects affection in return, but he is not a little furry human. He has needs that aren’t addressed by treating him like a human child.

For example, the same instinct that tells us our cats are kids tells us that they “misbehave” or “act out” just like a human child. When a cat behaves in negative ways, it may be trying to communicate something to us or reacting to a problem. It may also have a health problem. Cat’s react to unseen cues and situations in their environment, including body language, smells, etc. Cats aren’t trying to get revenge when they misbehave but they are communicating, nonetheless. When it comes to caring for your cat, you may need to try to think like a cat.

These pages and many other good websites, as well as many cat behavior books, can help prepare you to be a more responsible cat parent – but they’re not your kids!

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