Cats are fascinating creatures, believed to have been domesticated since Ancient Egypt, when they were regarded as Gods, and they have been kept as pets ever since. Many myths about cats have been perpetuated since then and some are just as common today as they have ever been! Have you ever heard these cat myths?
- Myth – Cats have 9 lives
Truth – An old wives tale that has stood the test of time but is unfortunately untrue. Whilst we would love our kitties to be able to have a get out of jail free card (or 8!) in life, a cat only has one life.
- Myth – Cats always land on their feet
Truth – Cats are a tree climbing species and as such have extraordinary balance and a great ability to survive falls. Cats are therefore very good at landing on their feet when falling; however, it is by no means a sure thing! Cats can land awkwardly and sustain injuries from falls.
- Myth – Pregnant women should stay away from cats
Truth – It has been said that toxoplasmosis can be caught from our feline friends; however, whilst the infection is a danger for foetuses, it is very unlikely to be caught from petting a cat. The parasite can be found in the excrement of an infected cat however and so it is advised to clean the litter box daily and with gloves to avoid contact.
- Myth – My cat is eating grass – they must be ill!
Truth – It has been suggested that cats may eat grass in order to regurgitate inedible food that cannot be digested. Although the reasons why cats munch on grass are not entirely clear, it is not something to be worried about. However if your cats grass eating becomes excessive, it is time for a visit to the vets.
- Myth – Cats only purr when they are happy
Truth – Everyone loves to hear a purring cat, as it is often a sign of happiness and contentment. However, this is not the only reason cats purr: purring can also be heard when a cat is giving birth or when in pain or distress. Purring is the emotional response of a cat and may well be a mechanism for rest or repair as well – just as a purr can be therapeutic for us to hear, so it can be for the cat.
- Myth – My cat is healthier on a vegetarian diet
Truth – Cats are obligate carnivores that require at least 20% of their diet to be protein. In addition, the ability of the gastrointestinal tract to digest and use plant-derived nutrients is severely diminished in cats. Felines also require increased levels of certain amino acids, which cannot be provided by a vegetarian diet.
- Myth – All cats hate water
Truth – Many cats do seem to be averse to getting wet during a bath or rainstorm, however this is not true for all cat breeds. In fact, the Turkish Van cat delights in getting wet! Although a lot of cats do not like being fully immersed in water, many find water fascinating and will play with a bowl of water or a tap.
Myth – Cats expose their belly because they want it rubbed
Truth – It is a familiar situation – you are petting your cat and getting on great when he rolls on his back asking for a belly rub. You proceed and get thanked by being bitten and clawed – why is this? For cats, exposing their belly is a sign of trust and although it seems like they want their belly to be rubbed, this is not necessarily the case. Being stroked on the belly may trigger a defence mechanism to protect their vital organs.
- Myth – Cats steal the breath of babies
Truth – Cats do not steal the breath of babies, however, it is well known that cats love warm places, the body heat of a baby may seem perfect to a cat which could accidentally suffocate a baby, who does not have the ability to move their head. Due to this, it is a good idea to keep cats away from babies when unaccompanied at naptimes.
- Myth – Cats can only see in black and white
Truth – Cats are actually capable of seeing colours and are capable of distinguishing between several different colours. However, the colour discrimination of cats is not as great as in humans and cats can struggle to distinguish between colours of longer wavelengths (i.e. reds).
- Myth – Cats are nocturnal
Truth – Cats are in fact crepuscular, which means that they are most active during periods of dawn and dusk. The eyes of cats allows them to see in a lot lower light levels than humans, which is perfect for hunting during these periods.
- Myth – Cats are unfriendly
Truth – Cats have gathered an unfair reputation due to their constant comparison with dogs -as more independent creatures, cats come off looking cold and unloving; however this is simply not the case. Cats can be extremely loving and loyal companions, hence why they have been such popular pets for such a long time!