Just like how parents of human kids have different parenting styles the same applies to cat parenting. There are 4 major parenting styles people have with their human kids and similar parenting styles are seen in pet parenting too. Here are the 4 pet parenting styles. Which type of pet parent are you? Read on to find out your cat-parenting style!
Permissive-style cat parenting
Permissive parenting is cat-driven. Permissive parents believe their cats must be true to their nature, allowing their cats the freedom to do what they want, and hopefully, learn from their own mistakes. These parents prefer not to set boundaries and rarely enforce rules on their feline kids. Permissive parents are more responsive than they are demanding. They are lenient and allow considerable self-regulation. Their motto is often simply that "cats will be cats”.
Please do not make the mistake of thinking that permissive pet parents do not care for their cats. They are usually very loving and caring. They will go to great lengths to keep their little furkids happy. Some may even bend over backward to allow kitty the freedom to do what she wants. There is very little structure in this style of parenting. Kitty may be free to roam every room and corner, eat off the kitchen counter, and may even get away with certain destructive behaviours.
There are long-term consequences to such parenting style. Lack of structure, boundaries, and consistency can be confusing to the cat. If scratching the sofa is sometimes ok, but at other times is not, then it’s going to be confusing and a challenge to get kitty to learn not to scratch the sofa. And, not to mention that self-regulation doesn’t always work when it comes to weight management. Permissive parents with obese cats should consider reducing the amount of feed and change their cats’ diet to be grain-free cat food like this MEOW Freeze Dried Raw Beef and Hoki Cat Food.
With little training and no set boundaries, kittens raised in this style of parenting can be seen as rude, demanding, and spoilt. Poor cat behaviour and manners all because there are no repercussions, and they just don’t know better.
Uninvolved-style cat parenting
Uninvolved pet parenting is sometimes referred to as “neglectful” parenting. These cat parents do not respond well to the needs of their feline kids. They provide little affection, are dismissive, and are sometimes completely neglectful of their cats’ welfare. Usually, these parents are too overwhelmed by their own problems to provide proper care for their cats.
This parenting style has no set rules or boundaries with limited cat-owner interactions. The cats are on their own most of the time. It is not surprising to find these bored, neglected cats running away from their homes, roaming and making a mess around the neighbourhood. A cat’s urine mess is pungent and unpleasant. Only a powerful cleaner like this Urine Off Odor & Stain Remover For Cats (Veterinarian Strength) can permanently remove the urine stain. Often, these neglected cats may unwittingly put themselves in harm’s way.
It is important to note that just because a parent is busy with work or other obligations does not mean he or she is uninvolved. Intent and caring matter. A busy cat parent who goes the extra mile to make sure his or her cats are cared for is not uninvolved. One strategy for busy parents to keep their cats entertained for hours is to provide them with plenty of cat toys. The Kong Feather Mouse Refillable Catnip Cat Toy comes filled with catnip. The irresistible scent of catnip will keep cats occupied for hours while their busy parents work to complete their daily tasks.
It is equally important to note that uninvolved cat parenting is often not intentional. No person would choose to adopt a cat to neglect it. Several different reasons, including things like lack of cat parental experiences, and stress could lead to this style of neglectful parenting.
Authoritarian-style cat parenting
Authoritarian parents believe in tough love, which may include punishment. This is a rule-based parenting style, with lots of control and little kitty is not allowed to do anything outside the set boundaries. The authoritarian parents often treat their cats as pets, and not as members of the human family. As such, they have strict rules and boundaries to “manage” the cats’ behaviours, and these rules are not meant to be broken.
Please understand that authoritarian parents are not evil. They do not neglect or abuse their cats. Authoritarian parents are generally very responsible about feeding, grooming, and exercising their cats, but all these are done in a strict, scheduled manner. Mealtimes mean getting a prescribed amount of food at a specific time and served in a specific place. Playtime duration is fixed and scheduled at a specific time of the day. Any cat caught roaming into an off-limits, restricted area/room will be dealt with and this may include some form of punishment to “teach the cat a lesson” and prevent similar mistakes in the future.
As with human kids, too much “tough love” with your feline kids can result in fear and distrust. Authoritarian-style parenting often focuses on mistakes and punishment. Instead, parents should make sure to reward their cats when they do the right things and show them love and affection occasionally. Some positive reinforcements with a healthy, single-ingredient cat treat like this Kit Cat Freeze Bites Duck Grain Free Cat Treat can be a welcoming, joyful learning experience for everyone.
Authoritative-style cat parenting
Do not confuse authoritaTIVE parenting style with authoritaRIAN parenting style. They are very different. Unlike the authoritaRIAN parents, the authoritaTIVE parents use positive reinforcement and try to avoid threats or punishments in their parenting style. They encourage good cat behaviour by offering rewards when the good behaviour is exhibited, as opposed to using punishment when an undesirable behaviour is observed.
These cat parents will commit themselves to properly training their cats and correcting inappropriate behavior in a calm, kind, and patient way. Rewards like a little cat treat or a good brushing with the Petz Route Rectangle Slicker Brush For Cats & Dogs will be given as a positive reinforcement to encourage continued good behaviour. While authoritaTIVE parents expect good behavior from their cats, they realise that THEY, as parents, play an essential role in making this happen.
This is the most challenging type of cat parent to be as it requires patience and time to train your cat, but the rewards of having a well-behaved kitty who understands the rules and boundaries that you’ve set, are well worth it!
When it comes to cat parenting, there is no “one size fits all.” You don’t need to subscribe to just one parenting style. It might not be possible to subscribe to a single style. Most successful cat parents know when to change their style, depending on the situation. A cat parent with a new kitten may be stricter with their rules and boundaries. Cat parents with matured, senior cats may choose a more relaxed approach with their cats. At the end of the day, use your judgment. The best parenting style is one that works for you, your cat, and your family.
Katherine is a Pet Nutrition Specialist and GDP’s Pet Wellness Advisor. She is committed to helping pet owners make informed dietary and lifestyle choices in nurturing healthy pets. Katherine is also a practicing Nutritional Therapist (human nutrition) and has been helping hundreds of clients to heal naturally with nutrients.