1. Declawing your cats is like cutting off each of your fingers at the last knuckle
Some people think that declawing is a simple surgery that removes a cats nails, this is not true. Declawing involves amputation of the last bone of each toe, removing claws changes the way a cats foot meets the ground and can cause pain similar to wearing an uncomfortable pair of shoes. There can also be regrowth of improperly removed claws, nerve damage and bone spurs. Most cats will become biters because they no longer have their claws as a defense. Cats scratch to remove dead husks from their claws, mark territory and stretch muscles.
2. Trimming a cats whiskers can be psychologically traumatic for them as they are needed to properly gauge and make sense of their environment.
In short, cat’s have a sensory organ at the end of their whiskers called a proprioceptor. If you trim them, it can cause them to become disoriented and have trouble moving around.
3. When cats have their eyes half closed, we read their facial expression as judgmental, annoyed, or mean, when actually this is an expression of being relaxed and happy!
Cat facial expressions are a lot different from ours. Remember, they haven’t gone through nearly as much selective breeding as dogs to be perfect companions to humans, so it’s harder for us to relate to and interpret them. And all too often with cats, our assumptions are the opposite of reality.
Cats will only let their eyes rest in that half-closed position when they feel completely safe and trust the people they’re with. Of course it’s fine to make fun of how serious this can make them look, but just remember that expression is a good sign that your cat is very much enjoying themselves and likes being with you. This is also useful to remember when you’re getting to know a cat that seems a bit shy—you may be making more progress than realize!
4. Lilies are extremely toxic to cats. Eating just a small amount of a leaf, flower petal, pollen grains, or vase water can cause your cat to develop fatal kidney failure in less than 3 days.
Because these lilies are so dangerous for cats and there’s a high risk of death if they’re ingested, it’s best to not bring these plants into your home if you have a cat. Early signs of lily toxicity in cats include decreased activity level, drooling, vomiting, and loss of appetite.
These symptoms start 0 to 12 hours after ingestion. Signs of kidney damage start about 12 to 24 hours after ingestion and include increased urination and dehydration. Kidney failure occurs within 24 to 72 hours, leading to death if the cat isn’t treated. Early veterinary treatment greatly improves the cat’s prognosis. However, if treatment is delayed by 18 hours or more after ingestion, the cat will generally have irreversible kidney failure.
If you suspect that your cat has eaten any part of a lily or its pollen or has drunk water from a vase containing lilies, immediately call your veterinarian or a pet poison control center. Depending on the type of lily, it may be a medical emergency and prompt veterinary treatment is critical. Try to bring the lily plant with you to the veterinary clinic.
5. If you get a kitten, DO use your hands for play so you can teach restraint when they are too rough. Restraint is naturally learned in play with hands and littermates because the fun stops when a bite or scratch is too much. Adult cats who didn’t play this way are more likely to scratch or bite.
Obviously this only works if you shout loudly (“OWW!”) and stop playing if a bite or scratch is too hard.
I’ve only been scratched or bitten by cats that weren’t properly socialized in this way. Cats that have been socialized this way have always shown amazing skill at not scratching or biting. For example, I have a cat who goes nuts over a hair tie and I can hold it in my hand as the bats at it without fear because she perfectly and expertly keeps her claws in to avoid scratching my hand, even in the fervor of the chase. But once the hair tie is away from my hand, all claws are out.
Similarly, there was I time I had to quickly grab my cat in a way that hurt her, and she had a natural reaction to crane around and bite my hand in her pain, but it was just a gentile mouth touch, even in her distress. This goes for vet visits, holding cats down to take medicine, cleaning wounds, etc. Properly trained cats will have better restraint around bites or scratches, but cats that never learned restraint are more likely to.
6. If an indoor cat gets outside and lost, put their litter box outside. They can smell it from up to a mile away and find their way home.
7. Place your cat’s drinking water away from their food source. Instinctually, cats hunt away from their food source because evolution taught them prey can contaminate their water.
My 13 year old cats drink water all day long now that I’ve separated the two. After a few months of this, I got one of those fancy fountain style units too and they LOVE it.
8. If you have a cat suddenly start peeing outside their litter box, take it to the vet to get checked for a bladder infection
They stop peeing in the litter box because if it hurts to pee, they start associating the litter box with pain and go elsewhere.
9. Despite what is often portrayed in pop culture, most adult cats are actually lactose intolerant and giving them milk can lead to vomiting or diarrhea.
10. It is better for both human and cat if you adopt kittens in pairs
For you: It’s less work, the kittens will play with each other and socialize with each other as well as you. Plus kittens learn to play gently with a friend and are less likely to bite/scratch you.
For them: Cats are meant to be social and if you adopt a cat/kitten alone you are committing to be their WHOLE social life. When you’re at work, when you’re busy, when you just spent an hour with the cat and now have other things to do, your cat is left on its own with nobody to play or socialize with. If there is second one they can keep each other company and chase each other around the house. Having a second kitten/cat can drastically reduce their loneliness and dependence on you for any and all stimulation.
It can be hard for an adult cat to accept new animals so it is much better to adopt 2 kittens at the same time so neither has to feel threatened or territorial. Here is an article from someone much more qualified than me explaining how important this is for your animal’s wellbeing http://www.kittenlady.org/twokittens