Do you struggle to be tough enough with your cat?

This is about tough love. Domestic cat management sometimes requires the cat owner to be quite emotionally tough. We love our cats. We are emotionally tender towards them. We want to please them and do our best to ensure that they are happy and able to express their natural instincts and behaviour. There are times when we have to do things which we know they won’t like. As cats don’t always understand why we have to do certain things which they don’t like but which are in the best interests of their welfare it can be tricky to do this things at an emotional level.

You love your cat genuinely. The problem is that you don’t want to upset him even though it is good for him. He does not understand this. This is the human emotional challenge.

Ugandan kitten
Ugandan kitten Michael. Very nice photograph. I love it. I don’t know who took it. Probably the husband of the woman we see with this cute Ugandan kitten.
Until September 7th I will give 10 cents to an animal charity for every comment. It is a way to help animal welfare without much effort at no cost. Comments help this website too, which is about animal welfare.

For instance, you have to give him a pill regularly. Really, for some cats even giving him one pill takes a lot emotional courage from the cat’s owner. I may be exaggerating but I have made the point. Your cat will object to it. He may wrestle with you and make life difficult. But you have to deliver that bloody pill and you put off the evil moment because you (a) don’t want to put your cat through the experience and (b) you don’t want to upset him and (c) you don’t want to put yourself through the experience.

If the illness is low level or if the pill is for preventative medicine you can see how administering such a pill can be put off almost indefinitely.

There are many examples of situations where a cat owner has to be tough on their cat and at least for a while upset him which may present a barrier to doing it to some cat owners who perhaps lack the emotional strength to do what is necessary or they are great cat owners but perhaps overly sensitive.

You are travelling to see a relative. You can leave your cat at home and have a neighbour pop in to check up on him. Or you can make good arrangements to take him with you. You know he’ll object to travelling but it is the best way in the interest of cat welfare when weighing up the pros and cons. You know he won’t like it initially but he’ll settle down. You are going to put him through some uncomfortable moments but you have to do it.

Even when your cat is an indoor/outdoor cat and enjoys being outside there may be times when he has to be kept inside. He won’t like it. You have to dig deep and be emotional strong to keep him in despite the fact that you are a fervent believer in letting your cat express his innate natural desires in the interest of contentment.

Do you have moments when you struggle with your emotions to be tough on your cat when thinking of his welfare? Perhaps you don’t. I do as you can tell. Perhaps some cat owners are too emotionally sensitive towards their cat. This can lead to a laissez-faire attitude towards cat caretaking to the cat’s detriment.

There is an element of genuine animal management when looking after a domestic cat and we have to be professional about it. It may sound too unemotional to call our relationship with domestic cats “animal management” but there is an aspect of our relationship which is exactly that.

5 thoughts on “Do you struggle to be tough enough with your cat?”

  1. This is a comment from Sandy:

    Yes, giving pills is the toughest thing I’ve had to do, besides are the reasons you mentioned, I have arthritis in my hands, so it makes pilling even more difficult. I’ve had help, but not with an experienced cat person.

    Another thing I find difficult is nail trimming. I wear a glove on my left hand to hold her paw, so I can trim with my right. I don’t try to do them all at once, even though it would get the job done. I go for the sharpest claws, and usually only in front. But now, I must do the back ones, because she’s scratching above her eye, and causing some bleeding and scabbing. I’m not sure why she’s scratching there.

    I have used Calendula ointment, and am amazed at it’s healing properties, in a short time. But I’ve got to get those nails, so she doesn’t keep scratching. I’ve also used cortisone ointment to stop the itching.

    She’s due for flea treatment, which I also hate doing. It’s not hard, but I don’t like using those products. I recently ordered Sierra Edge Flea Repellent, so I may try that. Before I take her out for walks, I use an herbal flea repellent wet wipe. It seems to help. It smells like cinnamon, but it’s very light. She puts up with it.

  2. Michael, yes, *parenting* — be it cats or people — can be very difficult at times. My biggest problem is setting aside time to trim the nails. I tend to be very lazy about it. Thankfully, I have plenty of scratching things for my *kids* or their nails would be really long sometimes!! I also have the medicine difficulty occasionally. But overall, with the help of a VERY supportive vet (who is a personal friend also), it makes my decisions with my cats much easier, and I don’t have the *guilt* feelings. My *kids* seems to understand me and listen well. I have no major issues with them. As I mentioned to you before, I truly think my cats believe I am Mom Cat. . . ♥♥♥

  3. You are so right, Michael. It’s all about weighing the pros/cons, what is absolutely necessary, and what can be delayed or dismissed.
    Every day is a struggle here over something, but usually food. I have cats that will, literally, harass me to open a can that they prefer to the one I’m offering. I have one cat that would live only on treats if I allowed it. I admit that, on rare occasions, they just wear me down and I comply to their demands; but, I feel guilty when I do. So, the best move for me, sometimes, is to just walk away. Not one will starve or be harmed if I do.

  4. Oh my gosh had to take the babies to their first vet appointment yesterday. Six weeks old on the dot. They’re well socialized but it was hard to hear them cry and see fear in their eyes. Blood draws, first shots and worming. I feel like a heel.

  5. One of the best cat-buddy’s I’ve had (Buddy) was a champion of “I just want my way, period.”. One time he meowed for 7 straight hours to go outside. He wasn’t antagonistic about it, I didn’t take it personal, that was just something he wanted and he meowed himself hoarse asking for it… he literally could barely make a sound after that for a couple weeks. He loved me no matter what, and same here, so I simply resisted the inclination to give in or to yell at him (that never worked either, he just meowed louder). I simply had to resolve myself to the fact that this was going to be this way sometimes. I looked at it as a problem he wanted to solve and this was the only way he knew of to solve it. Of course it was for his own good and safety, and it’s a shame I couldn’t convey that to him, but if there’s one thing about cats I’ve learned, it’s that humans cannot and should not battle to “win” the “I’m right” war over them as to “why” he’s not going out, even if it’s “because I said so”. It’s not personal. It’s not in their repertoire of understandings. That’s a human ego thing. Forget about it; or think of it as music, or turn up the music. One day (usually it a he) will be dead and you won’t want to remember him in adversarial terms. You’ll feel guilty rather than loving.


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