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.
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.