Cat Owner Attitudes Leading to a Broken Bond with Their Cat

Certain attitudes with respect to cat ownership can result in noticeable human behaviours which can be considered as signs that there may well be a breakdown in the human-cat bond or an imminent breakdown which can lead to the cat being given up by the owner.


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Very briefly, here, I set out the signs:

  1. The cat is “intact” (meaning the cat is not neutered or spayed) and/or the cat is under 6 months of age.
  2. There is either no veterinary care or it is inadequate.
  3. The cat was acquired at no cost or little cost and the decision to adopt the cat was made spontaneously without careful consideration.
  4. The cat does not live in the house with his/her owners.  For example, the cat or cats are confined to a garage or basement area.
  5. The cat caretaker reports cat behaviour problems such as inappropriate elimination, aggression or scratching furniture etc..
  6. The caretaker allows inadequate time for attachment between him/herself and her cat.  This probably demonstrates a lack of commitment which ties in with number 3 above.
  7. Importantly, the caretaker has unrealistic expectations regarding all aspects of cat ownership such as the cost of maintaining a domestic cat and with respect to cat behaviour (expecting human-like behavior or unprepared to accept cat behaviors).

Can we summarise the above seven points into one short paragraph or a phrase?  All of them would fall under the heading of “a lack of commitment and understanding”.  One of the most important steps in cat ownership is the moment before it begins.  Considerable consideration needs to be undertaken before adoption to ensure that the adoption is for the life of the cat.

The above seven points were arrived at in surveys conducted with cat owners and at animal shelters.  Cat owners in stable relationships with their cat were interviewed and their attitudes compared with owners who had recently relinquished their cats to a local animal shelter.

Source: Myself and The Cat It’s Behavior, Nutrition & Health.

7 thoughts on “Cat Owner Attitudes Leading to a Broken Bond with Their Cat”

  1. 10-years ago my beautiful Maine Coon became a Mamacat and gave birth to 6-gorgeous kittens, all very unique meaning no two alike. When the time came at the age of 3-month’s or rather my human time; I began the process of adopting them. Asking a fee did not enter into the plan. However when potential clients started to appear and want to see and hold the kittens, I asked for $.They would be returned to me this way, if the adoptees changed their minds later! very important> they will return them for the cash back policy. Eva

  2. May I add #8? The cat has severe human based fear reactions. The animal is skittish, very shy and is not used to gentle interactions with people.

    I’m speaking about Samirah, of course. I have my suspicions that she and her human lived in a house with someone who hated that cat and tormented her at every turn for the first 13 years of her life. When the original owner went to the nursing home the family did not want the cat and called the shelter to come get her. Samirah was already fixed, but she had a huge tumor underneath her throat, was overweight and in very poor condition. I’m not sure if her owner was the source of the abuse, but I do believe that her life changed for the better the moment she was picked up by that no-kill shelter.

    • Nice point. I guess, though, that the origin of the problem goes back to the original poor human behavior. A cat developing an anxiety in human surroundings is quite possibly the result of a broken human-cat bond caused by a human.

  3. I see the validity of all these points. I also believe that most animals are acquired from emotional impulse rather than reason, and there is little foresight into what’s actually involved. The result is many shelter and rescue animals who end up dead. A small percentage get a second chance, and are transformed by well informed/educated animal guardians with positive intentions.

    Unfortunately, we know that human babies are conceived in much the same way, but children can’t be taken to a shelter for a 2nd chance. They may suffer on all levels, physical, mental and emotional. Some are able to rise above the undesirable conditions of birth, but most are not. As adults, they continue this pattern. unless they are influenced in a better direction.


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