Thursday 27 July 2023

Compromise in decisions about cat caregiving is often an important factor

Most decisions in life whether they be about cat caregiving or anything else rely on compromise of some sort. It is only on matters concerning morality and guilt and innocence in criminal matters that decisions are black-and-white.

You don't have to look far in decision-making about cat caregiving to realise that compromise is the best way forward.

Example of a garden enclosure
Example of a garden enclosure. Image: MikeB

Providing food

Perhaps the best overall diet for a domestic cat is a compromise between wet, dry and treats. You provide wet food during the daytime when your cat asks for it or you provide it at those times that you know your cat wants to eat. You provide some high quality, large-pelleted (normally) dry cat food at night time to allow your cat to graze especially if they are indoor/outdoor cats and therefore are burning energy and need their energy levels topped up, and you give them some treats from time to time. You are not relying on one type of food but a cross-section. The default food is high quality wet but there are some advantages to other types. But the dry should be high quality. Unfortunately, it is far too expensive. I feel I am being ripped off by the pet food manufacturers.


There is a big debate about allowing cats freedom to go outside at their will or keeping them inside for their safety and for their owner's peace of mind. Sometimes a compromise between these two is the best answer. For example, you can keep your cat inside but build a garden enclosure or, less effectively, a catio attached to your home. Catios are very good but a garden enclosure which keeps the cat inside the garden but allow them to be outside to experience those outdoor sensations is better.

And to add to that you might train your cat to walk on a lead and then take them outside on a lead. The garden enclosure and walk your cat on a lead M.O. is a nice compromise between keeping them indoors full-time in a sterile environment or allowing them outside through a cat flap which might be dangerous depending upon where you live.

Once again, the compromised decision is the best one sometimes.

Allowing your cat into the bedroom

Some cat owners bar their cat from the bedroom by closing the bedroom door at night. This can be very unfair in my view because a cat wants to come into the bedroom because it is a place where there are strong smells of their owner. It is a core place or in the words of Jackson Galaxy, a "scent soaker".

But if you allow your cat on your bed at night it may disturb your sleep and you just simply do not want that kind of disturbance. A compromised decision might be the best answer. You build a little nest/bed area for your cat in your bedroom which contains some of your clothes. You would hope that your cat uses it rather than jumping on your bed and waking you up and disturbing your sleep. This method will allow your cat into the bedroom while minimising the disturbance. A good compromised decision.

Handling your cat and petting your cat

To be honest, petting your cat is a compromise. It's a compromise between what you want to do and what your cat accepts. Cats do not automatically enjoy being petted but it is automatic that people like to pet their cat if they are in a good relationship. So, the compromised decision is that you decide to pet your cat but in a way which pleases your cat companion. That means doing it gently in avoiding those areas which are out of bounds and doing it for a set period of time which means not overdoing it. Another example of compromised in decision-making concerning cat caregiving.

There are many other examples. I have provided four from the top of my head without much thinking. In general life, as mentioned, nearly all the decisions that we make our compromises; to find a middle way which works the best. It is very rare that one is able to make a pure decision in an absolute sense because there are too many competing factors.

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