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13 Common Assumptions That Could Harm Your Cat

13 Common Assumptions That Could Harm Your Cat

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As good cat parents, we try to stay educated on what is best for our cats. B

ut due to the fact that cats can’t talk, it’s difficult for us to really understand what our cats are going through.

This leads us to make assumptions that might actually be harming our cat.

We’re taught that cats are tough and resilient, therefore it’s easy to convince ourselves that our cat’s abnormal behavior is “normal”. Never assume anything!

Keep reading to discover 12 assumptions you might might that could actually harm your cat.

1. My cat will be safe outside.

Your cat may be smart, but outside is a totally different environment from inside. There are other animals, as well as all kinds of plants and flowers that could be toxic to cats.

Also, any grass or plant that’s been treated with chemicals (like pesticides or fertilizers) poses a dangerous risk for your cat.

Don’t feel guilty about not letting your cat outside. You’re making a decision that could save their life.

RELATED: Why Do Indoor Cats Live Longer Than Outdoor Cats?
Why Do Cats Eat Grass?

2. My cat is just a little bit chubby.

Some people may think that fat cats are cute and a couple extra pounds is nothing to worry about. However, just like for humans, being overweight can cause some serious damage overtime.

Cats have a shorter life span than humans, so all the diseases related to long term obesity will affect them much faster. Obese cats suffer from diabetes and a variety of joint problems.

It’s hard for indoor cats to lose weight, so it’s best not to let them gain it in the first place. Talk to your vet about the best weight control technique for your cat.

3. My cat just uses the litter box a lot.

If you notice an increase in urination, it’s not normal. Since you don’t closely monitor your cat using the litter box, you might not know that your cat is actually straining to use the restroom.

This can be very dangerous, especially in male cats.

**DANGER ALERT** If you notice your cat taking frequent trips to the litter box, contact a vet immediately. This could be a urinary obstruction, which is a life threatening emergency.

4. My cat is a bit constipated. It’ll pass.

Believe it or not, cats have a reputation for not drinking enough water, so it’s easy for them to become constipated. Constipation is very painful for cats.

Cats get most of their water intake from wet food. If you notice your cat is constipated, transition them to wet food and see if that helps. If the constipation still persists, see a vet.

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5. My cat just isn’t hungry. He/she will eat eventually.

A loss of appetite can be a very serious sign of various things that could be going on with your cat. They might be constipated, in pain, or there could be a tumor. If your cat isn’t eating, you should take it seriously and get your cat to the vet.

**AUTHOR’S NOTE** My vet has always told me that when a cat stops eating or drinking, it’s a serious sign that he/she needs medical attention.

Cats love to eat, and being unable to nourish themselves is a big indication that something is terribly wrong.

6. All cats throw up. No big deal!

Many cat owners think it’s normal for their cat to throw up, even if it’s just hairballs. If your cat is vomiting once a week or more, it could be a sign of a serious problem.

Hairball or not, if your cat seems to be having trouble keeping things down too often, it’s time for a trip to the vet.

7.  My cat won’t eat that. He/she is just playing with it!

I know we like to think that cats are smart (which they are), but that doesn’t mean you can just leave certain objects laying around and assume your cat won’t accidentally ingest them.

Small items & bags: Cats are notorious for loving string, yarn, rubber bands, hair ties, pieces of plants, and lots of other small items that often have to be removed by a vet from the cat’s stomach or intestines.

The same goes for plastic bags – too many cats suffocate or choke from getting stuck in plastic bags.

8. A little human food won’t hurt.

Food: Be cautious of the food you leave out. Cats aren’t aware of the dangers of human food. When you leave your food out, you put your cat at risk of eating something that could hurt them.

So, don’t assume that anything is off limits to your cat. Anything small enough to be flicked off a table and ingested shouldn’t be left lying around.

RELATED: 8 Human Foods Poisonous to Cats

9. My cat is just hiding and he/she will show up eventually.

Cats may hide from time to time, but cats also hide when they’re sick or injured. If you notice your kitty is hiding and not coming out for meals, it might be a sign that something else is going on.

10. Flea and tick medication are all the same.

Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. Some flea & tick medications aren’t reliable or have dangerous chemicals in them.

To be safe, you should always get your flea and tick medication recommendations from your vet.

Be sure to ask any questions about how dosage and how to apply it. Never use flea and tick medicine that’s meant for dogs.

11. It’s just a little lump.

If you feel a lump on your cat, don’t ignore it. Often, lumps on cats can be the first sign of cancer, and the sooner you get your cat examined, the better.

DON’T hesitate. Call the vet and get a lump looked at as soon as you find it.

12. Milk is good for cats.

Contrary to popular belief, adult cats are lactose intolerant. Adult cats can’t process the lactose that’s in milk.

The enzyme in their bodies that processes lactose disappears after they are weened as kittens. Plus, it doesn’t make much sense to give a cat a cows milk.

Many cats who drink milk can end up with diarrhea or an upset stomach, so it’s best to avoid giving milk to your cat.

13. Chocolate is only dangerous for dogs, but not for cats.

Chocolate is VERY poisonous to cats because chocolate contains caffeine (a deadly ingredient to cats).

Eating chocolate can cause vomiting, diarrhea, fever, seizures, and heart issues. Dark chocolate tends to be worse for cats than milk chocolate, but you should avoid giving ANY chocolate to your cat altogether.


Cats tend to be low maintenance, so it’s easy to assume they’ll always be alright. But making these assumptions about their behavior can do serious harm to your cat.

If you see your cat doing something out of the norm, you notice their weight fluctuate, or you see a behavior change, that could be your cat telling you they need some help.

To be on the safe side, if you observe unusual behavior, take your cat to the vet to be safe.

Remember – cats can’t talk. They can’t communicate how they feel the same way humans do. Don’t assume everything will be fine.

For many of us, our cats are our best friends and family members. They have an innate ability to know what’s wrong with us, so we owe it to them to do the same.

QUESTION: What’s something you do to help your cat stay safe and healthy? Leave your answer in the comments below!

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Christine Grabar

Thursday 3rd of October 2019

I keep my cats safely indoors at all times and they are perfectly content! They have a cat tower/tree, scratching pad and posts, toys, crazy circle, and crinkle tunnel. They enjoy bird watching from safely inside of our home daily.


Sunday 8th of September 2019

I once took care of a cat named Munckin.....he was owned by someone who couldn’t have him with them. He was given into a care of a relative, who kick Munckin out of the home known since kittenhood. He was a cat well known in the neighborhood and one day he came to my house, because of hunger. He knew where to go for any meals. He came in for meals and leave, but the stays became longer as time went on. By then, I noticed he ate a lot , more than my own cats would. If they left their bowls, he eats the leftovers. Then one day I noticed Munckin sitting in front of his bowl, but in position like a vulture does waiting near a animal dying. The bowl was full and he wasn’t eating. I called a vet clinic, got an appt, and found out he had problems. One of which was hyperthyroidism, that answered the amount of food he puts away. But I also found out that he had kidney damage, from somebody who had kicked him. Dehydration was a problem too. But we got him fixed up and he went back to normal. A month went by and it happened again....another trip.....another month......another trip. The vet told that this could happened repeatedly and I needed to make a decision. I called up his owner and told them of my decision. They agreed and Munckin a few days later was led to the Rainbow Bridge. Since then, any cat in my care gets a exam by a vet, before they are well established in my home. The exam helps to weed out any problems that may occur later.

Linda J Collard

Friday 23rd of August 2019

I am very aware of my cat's health, I know his personality and how he thinks, etc. He almost died last year when he wasn't pooping. I noticed that he was constipated and having a hard time and when he was in pain in the litter box, he would poop on the floor, but when he stopped pooping altogether, that's when I took him to the vet. He had to stay overnight in their hospital, he had IVs, scans, bloodwork done, all kinds of stuff and there was nothing they could do, but they did send me home with some medicines. I gave him the meds and I would massage his belly/intestinal area every chance I got and he eventually came out of it, he started pooping, pooping in his box, and started coming out of his shell and stopped hiding, etc. A month or so later he was back to his normal, silly self. He is twelve years old now and acts like a little kitten half the time! He eats well, in fact I have to limit his intake because he's a little on the chubby side and he needs to be thinner.... better than almost a skeleton like he was last year though!

Linda Fager

Thursday 4th of July 2019

My cat got his head stuck in twine handle on shopping bag..scared him, he ran, had a heart attack..myocardiopathy..and died 20 minutes later. Mac was only 5 yrs old.


Friday 24th of May 2019

Cats that go thru garbage to find food often stick their heads in cans and it gets stuck there. Sharp lids from a tuna can when licked will cut their tongue. So I smash both sides of the can with the lid inside. I also cut up the inside roll from duck tape when it's used up because I saw a cat who stuck his head in the inside ring and it cut his neck all the way around. Smash or cut anything they can stick their head in.