on Monday, January 22, 2018
There are many unfortunate myths or misinformation about cats that are still floating around, including the superstition about black cats being bad luck. In Japan, black cats are actually considered good luck! See below for explanations on many common myths…
Cats always land on their feet.
It is true that cats instinctively fall feet first, they may also break bones and incur other injuries, some serious, as well.
Cats should drink milk every day.
People tend to believe that cats love milk and need milk for their diet. It is true that they tend to like milk, but they do not need it for proper nourishment. They may also get diarrhea if they drink too much milk. We suggest that you do not give your cat milk at all.
Cats get their balance from their whiskers.
Cats use their whiskers to feel, but not for balance.
If you are pregnant, you need to get rid of your cat.
Sadly, hundreds of cats are relinquished to animal shelters or re-homed every year because of this myth. It is true that some cats can be infected with a disease called toxoplasmosis, which occasionally can be spread to humans through cat litter boxes and cause serious problems in unborn babies. However, these problems can be controlled, if the expectant mother avoids contact with the litter box and assigns daily cleaning to a friend or other family member.
Cats may try to suffocate babies.
This is an unfortunate myth because it causes hundreds if not thousands of cats to be turned into animal shelters or re-homed every year. Cats may try to get into a crib with a baby because it is ‘new’ or warm or smells good; but there is no intent on the part of a cat to ‘suffocate’ or ‘steal the breath’ from a baby. See our chapter on Cats and Babies for more information.
If a cat is injured, it can lick its wounds and the wounds will heal automatically from their saliva.
Actually licking can slow the healing process and cause more issues. If your cat is injured, it needs to see a veterinarian.
Cats are unhappy if they are kept indoors.
For some cats that are used to being outside, there may be an adjustment period to keeping them inside all of the time, but it can be done. One key is to never let them outside again and give them access to windows to look out, provide them with plenty of toys and companionship inside the house. Over time even cats that have spent part of their lives outside will be fine and happy being inside cats. Inside cats live much longer healthier lives than outside cats. See our chapter on enrichment for cats in the home for more information on keeping cats happy inside.
Cats don’t really like people and so don’t need a lot of care.
Cats may appear to be independent in nature but the truth is that cats are social creatures and require care just like a dog or other pet. When cats were domesticated by humans thousands of years ago we assumed the responsibility that we would care for their needs. Cats tend to live longer and longer lives because of the level of care we are able to provide for them and more and more cats are being treated like members of the family. Additionally cats form strong bonds with their humans.
All cats should have a litter before you spay them to make them nicer cats.
Actually cats can have more medical issues by having a litter of kittens than they can by being spayed. The reality is that people just don’t want to spend the money to have their cat spayed and so make an excuse such as this to avoid doing it. People also claim this so that they can have a litter of kittens because they want the litter; not because the cat needs to have a litter. Spaying a cat will help prevent such things as mammary cancer, ovarian cysts, complications of pregnancy, including stillbirth and malformed kittens. Additionally, the cat over population in the country is beyond out of control and unacceptable. Spay your cat and any friend or family member or co-workers cats that aren’t spayed or neutered yet.
Cats and dogs hate each other.
Unfortunately, the entertainment industry has helped to perpetuate this myth with movies like Cats vs. Dogs but the reality is that cats are totally capable of affectionate and close relationships with dogs. Introduction of these pets is key just like it is getting another pet of the same species; but pets form relationships with other pets and seem to understand they are all part of the family.