10 Ways to Crush Your Cat’s Spirit


Famously independent, sometimes falsely assumed to be immune to feelings, cats are in truth super-sensitive to emotions, sound, and stress. Perhaps because felines lack the eager-to-please openness of their canine colleagues, humans overlook the big and small ways they can break a cat’s spirit. Are you guilty of any of these?

Not Cleaning the Litter Box

Leaving the box filled with kitty’s waste because some new litter promises freshness for multiple days. So you wait until the weekend for that dreaded chore of cleaning the litter box. Imagine leaving your own toilet unflushed all week long, and you’ll know how your cat feels. Dirty litter boxes also make it much more likely for cats to use another part of the house as their toilet. How often does a litter box need to be cleaned? Ideally, it should be done daily. The bonus is that it is not nearly as gross when done frequently.


Raised voices will terrify your cat. Feline ears are extra sensitive to loud and especially high-pitched noises. A cat who hears shouting will flatten her ears, lower her head, and look for a place to hide, away from the sound and fury.



Yelling “bad cat,” throwing things, swatting, and scolding your cat when she misses the litter box or claws the sofa does tell your cat that you are unhappy, but she’ll have no idea why. Grabbing her and shoving her face in a mess will leave her petrified, and fear will often make a cat’s behavior worse rather than better. Anger does not teach your cat to “behave,” it simply teaches her to be afraid of you.


Ignoring the Pain

Looking away when your cat repeatedly chews at a sore spot on her belly or furiously scratches at her ears. Cats are masters at hiding their discomfort, whether because an infected tooth makes eating difficult or a urinary tract infection makes litter box visits pure agony. Monitoring your cat’s wellbeing means being a pain detective so that you know something is ailing your cat, even if she can’t tell you directly. Make an appointment with your veterinarian if you ever think that your cat is in pain.



Hitting, kicking, or physically harming a cat in any way, from a “light tap” to a hard smack, is inhumane, morally wrong, and guaranteed to instill fear in any cat—breaking her spirit and her heart in the process. Physical pain never teaches correct behavior, only fear. And as previously mentioned, a cat who feels unsafe at home is more likely to run away at the first opportunity to look for a new home.


Neglecting Your Cat

Offering your cat no attention, no conversation, no affection, no interaction, and no playtime can leave your cat depressed. Many people assume that cats are not social animals, but that is far from the truth. Cats benefit from affection and interaction from people. Some cats are naturally affectionate, while other cats are more skittish about being held and petted. If you have a skittish cat, leave yourself open to receiving affection from your cat and return it in kind. Your gentle attention and small gestures of affection will feed your cat’s soul and inspire her devotion to you.






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