The do’s and don’ts of owning a cat

Do's and don'ts of owning a cat
Do’s and don’ts of owning a cat. Image: MikeB
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles:- Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

If you live in America and would like a short four-point list of the do’s and don’ts of owning a cat, I’d suggest the following. Of course, the list could be huge but I’ve tried to whittle it down to four. Also, this is a personal choice. Everyone will have their own. Please share your thoughts.


  1. Respect your cat as a cat which means learning about cat behaviour and nutrition ideally before adoption (together with checking out budgetary requirements). It also means not treating a cat as a baby or a dog. It is okay to treat a cat as a little human on one level only: they are an equal member of the family (i.e. human-level rights) but it should stop there.
  2. Handle and interact with your cat in a way that she enjoys. This includes petting. Cats do not have an unlimited tolerance of petting. There are rules to follow which means learning about petting from websites like this one and learning what your cat prefers.
  3. Keep your cat safe. The first ‘do’ is keeping your cat safe. This is a big one as there are many dangers in the human environment for cats. A lot of them are invisible such as lilies which can be fatal and fire retardants which are inside furniture. I have many pages on this site in dangers for cats and stuff which is toxic for cats.
  4. Think about the human environment in which all domestic cats live and try and make it as mentally stimulating as possible as I see this as the ‘elephant in the room’ for full-time indoor cats. It keeps them safe but at what price? Jackson Galaxy has one of his made-up feline words for this: catification.


  1. Declaw your cat for non-therapeutic reason (99.9% are for non-therapeutic reasons). It is very cruel and unnecessary. The operation is banned in 38 countries and it should be banned across the entirety of the USA. There are some bans in place in the US.
  2. Punish your cat as it will only make your cat anxious and damage the relationship between cat and caregiver. The concept of punishment is way too complicated for a cat to understand as it is based in morality and social norms.
  3. Yell at your cat as it will only do what I’ve said about punishing your cat. Yelling at a cat is sometimes understandable but unforgivable. It achieves no purpose other than to vent anger. The recipient of human anger should not be the family cat.
  4. Abandon your cat because there are always ways to make things right. If it is in the best interests of the cat to give her up find a good cat caregiver for a transition which is as smooth as possible

You can see why I have specified America because it is only in North America were declawing cats for non-therapeutic reasons occurs. It is a process which is diametrically opposite to excellence in cat caregiving.

Why are Americans so patriotic? Does it affect cat ownership?

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