Cats, despite their loveable and inimitable independent tendencies, really do thrive when attention is lavished upon them. Often nearly standoffish, absent a great deal of the time, cats seem to develop a closer relationship to their owners when pampered.
As a result, cat owners often look for new and interesting ways to give their cats extra attention. Cat pampering can take a variety of forms, ranging from simple extended petting sessions to homemade meals to elaborate toys.
Many cat owners have been accused of giving too much attention to their pets. People will argue that these well-intended owners are actually “spoiling” their cats by going out of their way to show them attention and concern. Is this a valid concern? Can one truly pamper their cat too much?
The wise among us tell us to practice moderation in all things. The same, it would seem, should apply to cat pampering. At some point, too much pampering surely occurs, spoiling a cat and creating a needy animal. However, compared with other pets (most notably dogs), there is a wide margin of error with cats. Most of those who pamper their cats will see far greater benefits from their efforts than they will detriments.
Cats do need to understand that there are rules and boundaries. There are parts of every home and certain activities that must be forbidden in order for the human and his or her pet to function in the same household comfortably. Cats, luckily, are notoriously quick students and usually pick up on these limits quickly and tend to abide by them.
Thus, it is very difficult to spoil a cat too much so long as those basic ground rules are observed and enforced. As long as a cat owner does not allow the animal to break these core rules, there is little risk in spoiling a cat.
Will a cat become more needy if attention is lavished upon him or her? Probably so. The cat who is frequently given pats and rubs will surely begin to expect them and will come back for more. Is this really a negative, though? Most cat owners would argue it is actually a benefit! After all, the cat enjoys the attention, the owner enjoys providing the attention and in the meantime the cat/owner bond and relationship is strengthened.
It is possible to allow a cat to develop unrealistic expectations or to become fairly demanding. Cats will begin to view pampering as “their due” and will insist upon it. In this sense, it could be argued that too much pampering is a bad thing.
However, the cat’s expectations will seldom reach the point where they are unreasonable. In some ways, this development of an expectation is actually advantageous, as it can compel an owner to consistently show attention and love to his or her feline companion.
When one considers all of this, it becomes fairly clear that even if spoiling a cat is possible, the negative repercussions of the spoiling will be relatively minor so long as the owner does not create a situation where he or she cannot keep up with the expectations of the pet.
A cat owner can feel relatively comfortable that his or her kind and pampering acts toward a cat will do very little damage while significantly improving the quality of life for both the cat and the owner.
Yes, there are extreme cases where a spoiled cat could be developed and there could certainly be some annoyance and frustration as a result. However, it is hard to reach this point. The natural independence of cats generally serves as insulation from any such problem.
Cat owners can pamper their cats without too much concern about creating a “needy monster.” Instead, the pamperer is far more likely to create a loving pet.
You can spoil your cat, but you really have to try in order to do so. Cat pampering is unlikely to create major problems for either the owner or the pet and should not be avoided due to fears of spoiling the cat.