Do cats really have nine lives? Should pregnant women give up their cats? Do cats hate water?
Humans and cats have lived in close proximity for centuries now, yet many myths and misconceptions about our feline friends continue to abound. Some of it is just plain ridiculous, while some can be dangerous.
In this article, we’ll set the record straight as we list of some of the most common cat myths and misconceptions, and the facts behind them.
Myth 1: Cats hate dogs and vice versa.
Cartoons and pop culture have led us to believe that every cat hates dogs or the other way around. Man’s furry friends are actually not hardwired to hate each other. Rather, they appear to hate each other because of differences in how they communicate. Cats are the silent, observant type while dogs are the aggressive and friendly one.
Myth 2: Pregnant owners should give up their pet cats.
Pregnant women who have a pet cat, or want to have one, are often advised to give up their pets because of health reasons, particularly the risk of acquiring toxoplasmosis. Toxoplasmosis is a parasitic disease that is spread through cat litter and feces. While the disease can bring serious neurological complications to developing babies, the truth is, that expectant moms can avoid the disease and still enjoy and interact with their feline friends as long as they steer clear of the litter box.
Myth 3: Without whiskers, cats will lose their sense of balance.
A silly myth, whiskers aren’t used for balance but for navigation and moods. That doesn’t mean it’s okay to cut or remove their whiskers, though, as doing so may affect their senses.
Myth 4: It’s okay to give milk to cats.
Another misconception that can be dangerous to our feline friends is that giving milk is good for cats. The fact is that many cats are lactose-intolerant, which means giving them a saucer of milk could lead to various gastrointestinal disturbances such as diarrhea and vomiting. Cats only need milk from their mother when they are still nursing. Water then replaced milk for their liquid nourishment once they have been weaned.
Myth 5: Cats purr only when they are happy.
No one really knows the reason why cats purr—the only sure thing is they purr for reasons beyond contentment. Researchers have found that cats also purr when in pain, at times of stress, or when dying. Purring is also seen in kittens and their mothers during feeding time.
Myth 6: Cats suck the breath of babies.
This is downright false. Cats, or any animal for that matter, don’t have supernatural powers that let them suck the life out of a baby. Kitties only seem to want to snuggle up to newborns as they are curious by nature and comfort- and heat-seekers. However, accidents can and do happen so always keep in mind to never leave babies and cats alone.
Myth 7: There’s no need to take your cat to a vet; they have nine lives, after all.
While cats are resilient to survive falls and have the ability to make amazing leaps and jumps, they cannot, however, come back to life eight more times once they have died. So it’s important to take your feline companion to regular veterinary visits.
Myth 8: Cats don’t carry rabies.
Most people believe that only dogs carry rabies. The fact is, cats also do, and you can get it through their bites or scratches. This is why it’s advised to have cats vaccinated so they can be clear of infection.
Myth 9: Cats hate water.
While most cats dislike taking baths, many are actually fascinated with running water. Kittens, in particular, are curious about sinks, showers, and toilets. Cats belonging to the Bengal or Turkish Vans breed are also nicknamed as the “swimming cats” as they are eager to join their owners in the bathtub or shower.
Myth 10: Black cats bring bad luck.
No cat myth is more widespread than the belief that black cats are harbingers of bad luck. Centuries ago, they were believed to contain reincarnated witches or do evil acts for their witch owners. In truth, the only “bad luck” black cats bring is allergy attacks to people with asthma. Researchers speculate that dark-colored cats produce more allergens in their skin and saliva than light-colored cats. So when getting yourself a new cat, you might want to go for lighter colored ones if you already have cat allergies.
When dealing with cat stories, facts, or myths, it is good to know the origin or the basis behind them. Otherwise, they will always be myths.