You might also be aware of the fact (especially if you’ve downloaded my free eBook) that I take their health and wellbeing very seriously. I believe that every pet deserves the very best care we can offer them and I am passionate about mindful, conscious and kind pet parenting.
But I don’t take myself too seriously though, which is why I’m more than comfortable admitting that I’ve made mistakes when I was raising cats. I still make mistakes.
Because we all do, don’t we? We stuff up, lose our temper and definitely aren’t always as knowledgeable and informed as we’d like to be. It’s human nature. But despite our inadequacies, thankfully our pets love and forgive us anyway.
But … if I did have a time machine? Well, there would be a few things I’d do differently when I was raising cats. Here’s a few to begin with.
The six mistakes I made when raising cats
- Punishing Tank. I’ve been raised with the view that if your pets did something wrong, then you punished them for it. A la rubbing your puppy’s nose in her wee when she toileted out of place. And it wasn’t until I had pets of my own that I began questioning this philosophy. Today, I’m a punishment-free zone for my kitties and approach ‘discipline’ very differently to ‘punishment’.
- Adopting Tank before we were ready. When we first adopted Tank, we were living in a studio apartment near Bondi. It was beautiful location and a great lifestyle, but terrible living conditions for a cat. If I could go back, I’d have waited a year or two until we moved into a bigger place before we adopted Tank.*
- Bad vibing. For a long time, I thought Tank’s behavioural issues (biting, scratching, general jerkbaggery) were simply because he hated us. It wasn’t until I started doing some inner work myself (and began feeling healthier, happier and more peaceful) that I realised Tank was never the problem: I was. If I could go back, I would be much more mindful of how my moods and energy impacted him.**
- Choosing the right vet. I’m sad to admit this, but Tank has had a really tough time as far as vets are concerned. We always had the view that all vets were the same and didn’t research or interview until very recently. But they’re not all the same. And if I could go back, I’d spend the time researching and finding the right vet for the boys.
- Adopting Bear too late. It took us three years to add Bear to our family, and I think that was probably at least one year too many for Tank. When Tank was two, he had much more energy and was far more open to interacting with other cats than he was at three. A year made a big difference in Tank’s development. And if I had my time over, I’d either adopt two kittens at the same time, from the same litter (and who already had a good relationship), or adopt Bear a year or two earlier.
- Not socialising Bear enough. We were brilliant at socialising Tank and as a result I feel that Tank grew up to be very resilient and well-adjusted. He doesn’t spook easily and reacts well to new adults, children and – mostly – other animals. He’s also a lot more confident than Bear. But because we did such a great job with Tank, I think we dropped the ball a little with Bear and hoped that Tank’s attitude would rub off on him.
And while I’m sure there were plenty of other mistakes we made along the way (I bet Tank and Bear would agree too), it wasn’t all bad. Next week, I’ll share the things we did right when raising cats so you’ve got both sides of the wisdom coin to mull over.
What about you? What did you wish you had done differently when you raised your pets?
*But if we had adopted Tank later, he wouldn’t have been our Tank!
** Not surprisingly, as soon as I chilled out, so did Tank. Today, he doesn’t have any behavioural issues. Well, unless we’re at a vet, and then it’s all bets off.
Disclaimer: Please consult your trusted vet or holistic animal health expert before making any changes to your pet’s diet or lifestyle. While I aim to offer well-researched and balanced articles, I am by no means as well-informed as your veterinarian. Please use your own inner guidance and the wisdom of the pro’s when making decisions regarding your pet’s wellbeing.