Wednesday, March 9, 2011

“Just Say No” to Your Pet, Because You Love Them

By Julia Williams

Just as parents often have to say no to their children when they want things that aren’t good for them, so too do responsible pet owners. Children and pets are not always able to discern danger or consequences, and it’s our job to keep them healthy and safe. I don’t especially like saying no to my cats when they want something I know they shouldn’t have (such as more food or treats when they’ve already had plenty) but as a responsible pet owner I know I need to. Knowing it is one thing; actually doing it can require nerves of steel and an unwavering conviction that I am right, and the cats are wrong. Anyone who has a “foodie” pet knows exactly what I mean.

Our pets beg with insistent meows and loud barks. They look at us with pleading eyes that make us think they will just keel over unless they get more food or treats. They try to “guilt” us into caving in, because they want what they want, and have no thought other than getting it. Pets live in the moment; there is no rationalization we can give them for saying no. We just have to, because we know what’s best for them, and because we love them.

Therein lies the problem many pet owners face when it comes to rationing treats. We sometimes equate giving them the treats with love. It’s hard not to, because most pets love their treats like nobody’s business. There’s a lot of satisfied purring and excited prancing when my cats get their FELIDAE TidNips™ treats. It’s quite clear they relish these treats and would scarf down entire bagfuls at a time if I let them. How can you say no to that kind of enthusiasm? It’s quite difficult, and I admit that sometimes I falter. I try to rationalize with thoughts like, “Oh gosh, it makes them so happy!” or “Giving them treats lets them know I love them.” 

But as a responsible pet owner, sometimes no is the only acceptable answer. Rather than overfeeding my cats under the guise of “love” and wanting to make them happy, saying no to them actually means “I love you, therefore I am denying your request.” When they beg for more treats or more food, and I know they’ve had enough for today, then saying no means I love them enough to do what's right for them to be healthy.

I don’t mean to suggest that giving your pet treats is wrong. Far from it! Premium quality treats like those made by CANIDAE Natural Pet Foods can certainly be part of a healthy pet’s diet. The key is moderation, and factoring in the calories to guard against overfeeding and weight gain. A fat pet is not healthy or happy! Unfortunately, our pets will continue to beg for treats long after we know they’ve had enough. They therefore require us, their responsible pet parents, to put down the treats and walk away.

Oh sure, they will probably follow you out of the kitchen with a demeanor that clearly says, “Hey! Where are you going? I want more treats!” To which you can pat them gently on the head and tell them “I love you. You’ll get more treats tomorrow.” They may not understand this kind of tough love, but their bodies will thank you. And tomorrow, you can do the whole “treat dance” over again!

"Begging Cat" photo by Odd Bod

Read more articles by Julia Williams


  1. Another excellent post. Hugs

  2. I want you to come spend a day at my house. LOL My little cat that has a heart problem big time stays in the house all the time, and so everytime one of the cats comes in the house to have a snack, BB, the heart patient is sure she should have a snack too. You talk about a sad and mad face. But I am trying my best cause I sure don't want her to get any fatter than she is.
    By the way a fevver is a bird, a real birdie with feathers.

  3. Great post - Mom says our Dad needs to read this because he is always wanting to feed us from the table and she won't let him.

    Thanks for all your visits to our blog and your very nice compliments.

    Woos ~ Phantom, Thunder, and Ciara

  4. I must say, I have heard that word a time or two myself!!!

  5. Thanks, what a great reminder that less IS more! I do give Madison extra Greenie Pockets... he takes his asthma meds with them and he is so good about it. Before I started using the pockets I had an AWFUL time getting him to take the pills, the liquid, anything. So now I am happier and he loves to take his pill! But I do stop after 3 (okay maybe 4 :<)
    Great post, love your Blog!!!

  6. Mom says that's out middle name as in "Allie NO!"

    Thanks for letting us know about the link to the Space Coast Feline Network...Mom just fixed it.

    The Florida Furkids and Angel Sniffie

  7. I am a complete sucker for the soulful eyes, and whining meow.....I MUST get a grip!

  8. It is so difficult to say no and mean it. Our cat understands it and will leave when I say, "No. Go away." Sometimes I tell her, "Wait." And she knows that eventually she will get a treat. She doesn't understand why she is waiting (I am sure), but she does understand that "Wait." means she gets something. I like to hear that others struggle with this too. Thanks, Julia!

  9. We know we have to say 'NO' but sometimes it's just hard!
    A great post!!!

  10. Marmie has a will of steel. Diddy on the other hand...

  11. That's absolutely true! We, as pet owners know what's best for them. If we think they've enough already we should resist their request to eat more because their health might be at stake. Their mind usually sets eating as much as they want without actually thinking that it might not good for them so we should stop them when it's enough. I really love this post very entertaining and very true. Wants to see more of this soon.

  12. Excellent point... it's not healthy to say yes and give treats all the time.


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