Expert outlines five mistakes many cat parents make – some of them surprised us!

Cat hiding in a bath
(Image credit: Getty Images)

No pet parent is completely perfect, and it’s only natural that we might make some mistakes along the way. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or you’ve only recently decided to bring a furry friend into your life for the first time, there are so many opportunities to get things wrong.

This is true for both cats and dogs. Sometimes, it’s easy to think that it’s difficult to get being a cat parent wrong because they appear more independent than their canine counterparts – you’d be forgiven for thinking they’ll be happy with just some of the best cat food, toys, and treats – but there are still mistakes we might make without even realizing. 

And that’s where certified cat behavior psychologist Saba Sayyed, who goes by the name A Cat Psychologist on Instagram, has come in. In an Instagram post, she’s outlined five mistakes many cat parents make. And some of them are quite surprising!

1. Forcefully grooming or manhandling: “Forcefully grooming and picking your cat again and again will lead to your cat having negative associations with you as well as the grooming brush,” explains Sayyed. 

You can train your cat so that they’re happy for you to groom them, but respect their mood and their boundaries at the same time. If they aren’t scared of you, they’re more likely to let you pick them up, handle them, and groom them.

2. Bathing or cleaning their cat’s bottom every day: Do cats need baths or showers? As Sayyed states, “Cats do not need to take a shower, and they clean their bum by themselves.” 

She describes them as “terrific” cleaners, and they should be able to clean themselves unless there’s another issue, like illness, fleas, matted fur, or obesity.

3. Providing fewer hunting opportunities at home: Cats are animals, and they’re predators. Their brain is programmed for hunting. So, it’s important to allow them to fulfill their desire at home with plenty of play. If not, it can lead to unwanted behavior. 

4. Responding or giving attention at their every meow: “Responding to your cat every time they meow will encourage them to have attention-seeking behavior or excessive meowing for attention,” says Sayyed. “Respond to their good behavior and reward it.”

However, if your cat’s manner of meowing is different from usual, it may be a sign of pain or discomfort, so this may be worth consulting your vet about. You might find this article useful: Why is my cat meowing so much?

5. Talking loudly or dominating/scaring their cats: “Cats are very sensitive to sound. Hence dominating them or talking loudly to them will increase their anxiety,” says Sayyed.

Anxiety in cats can stress them out, something which may lead to unwanted behaviors like going to the toilet around the house. 

If you’ve caught yourself making one or more of these mistakes in the past, you’re unlikely to have caused any long-term harm. The best thing to do is be aware of them going forward to keep both you and your cat happy and healthy!

Adam England
Freelance Writer

Adam is a freelance journalist covering pets, lifestyle, health and culture, and he has six years' experience in journalism. He was senior editor at, and has written for The Independent, GoodToKnow and Healthline

He's also spent the last few years studying towards undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in journalism. While a cat person at heart, he's often visiting his parents' golden retriever, and when he's not writing about everything pets he's probably drinking coffee, visiting a cat cafe, or listening to live music.