Too Many Misleading Articles About Cat Behaviour

On the Internet there are hundreds of thousands of articles on websites written about cat behaviour with the intention of helping people to understand it. There are very many self appointed cat experts. Even people who really are expert and who understand cats well still get it wrong. As Ruth says, there are some things that we do not understand about the domestic cat but it doesn’t matter. We don’t have to understand everything about the domestic cat in order to respect him or her and behave kindly towards our cat. All we have to do is observe our cat whilst living with him. We can use our intelligence to provide our cat with a good environment based upon those observations.

I have a feeling that the Internet can provide a lot of misleading information because a lot of it is recycled. Also it is very easy for anybody to write something on a website or build a website of their own. The person can be anonymous and often is anonymous. This allows them to be free with their opinions and we have no idea about their qualifications or experiences.

Unfortunately, many people will read this information and possibly act upon it with bad consequences. There is also conflicting information on the Internet about cat behaviour and what it means. This can confuse people. Writers about cat behaviour should be cautious in the way they present information. A lot of the time it may be a person’s opinion rather than fact and that should be made clear. There is definitely a place for opinion and to explore ideas and thoughts about cat behaviour because it can advance our understanding of the domestic cat but it should be expressed as opinion.

In the old days, people wrote books in order to instruct other people. There was no Internet. And in writing a book you have to have considerable resources and obtain the agreement of a publisher to publish it. This barrier was a filter which ensured that most often only the best writers had their work published.

Nowadays, anyone can write about anything and get it published on the Internet. We are all experts. We can write a book and get it published on Kindle. This is now commonplace. And starting your own website is easy. This is both good and bad. The upside is that there is more discussion which can lead to a better understanding of the domestic cat but there is also more misleading and/or misleading information. You have to do wade through the information and be selective.

It is important to be selective when reading about cat behaviour. For example, beware of the following:

  • Scientists who write about the predatory aspects of domestic cat behaviour particularly in relation to preying on native species and birds.
  • Cat breeders and authors who write about the behavioural characteristics of different breeds of cat. In my opinion, it is doubtful whether you can categorise a whole group of cats (a cat breed) as having the same personalities. A cat’s personality/character is unique to the individual cat.
  • Cat behaviourists who like the idea of training cats. It is more sensible to train the person than the cat!
  • Veterinarians who sell the idea to cat owners that declawing a cat is perfectly alright and that a cat’s behavior will be unaffected.

The person most able to write about cat behaviour is the caring and sensitive cat caretaker who has thoughtfully observed her cat or cats over many years and found ways to ensure that her cat is content, stimulated and in good health.

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Too Many Misleading Articles About Cat Behaviour — 5 Comments

  1. So called experts can be very dangerous, I’d far rather believe the cat loving community here on PoC who live, work or volunteer with cats and know them well.
    No we don’t know everything about cats, we should always be open to learning more about how to care for them and ensure they are happy and healthy and fulfilled. But we can never know everything, only a cat can know everything about a cat!
    I love the air of mystery about them, let them keep some secrets, I hate scientists or cat ‘experts’ trying to get into their minds, they never will!

  2. Sadly very often people believe what they want to believe because it suits them, take for example 2 articles on de-clawing; 1 says its absolutely fine to de-claw your cat and the other says you should never do it. Now take a person who has it in their mind that they want to do it anyway they may read both articles but they choose to take the 1st as more accurate because that’s what they want to hear and by taking this on board they will reconcile themselves that they are doing the right thing when probably deep down they know they aren’t.

  3. Yes that’s one of the disadvantages of so much media these days, online and offline with magazines and newspapers there is a plethora of information both right and wrong, everything is analysed and so called experts are ready to give advice on any and every subject, to me the wise thing to do is learn the basics and then go by instinct, good care and good feeding, lots of love and affection, treatment when needed, preventative treatment as routine, there is no need to know every detail about every subject, there is that saying “Too much information” and I think these days there is a tidal wave of information that is just surplus to requirements.

  4. Michael-

    I just wish that some people that take on the responsibility of having a cat would care just a fraction about them as this group does, and get the RIGHT information. You are so right about the misleading and inaccurate information that is posted all over the internet about feline care. Several months ago I ran across a question posed by a cat “owner” asking about a cat that wasn’t eating. A so called “expert” responded to her saying that when a cat is hungry enough they will eat. I nearly lost my composure but corrected that information immediately.

    All I can add is thank God for people like Jackson Galaxy, whose programs are viewed by so many people. I am beginning to see his influence starting to make a strong, positive impact.

    ANYONE can proclaim to be an “expert” in anything online. It is a damned shame.

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