Dispelling Common Cat Myths
Sure, you know more about your feline pal than anyone else, but you may not know that several commonly held beliefs about cats are actually myths. Think it’s okay to leave your cat alone for days? It’s not. Under the impression that they always land on their feet when they fall? Wrong again. Below we dispel these cat myths and more.
Myth 1: Cats prefer to be left alone and therefore are low-maintenance pets.
Not entirely true. Sure, you don’t have to walk your cat multiples times a day like you would a dog. But that doesn’t mean it’s okay to not interact with them. Each cat is different, but most enjoy being around their owners. It’s important that you pet and play with your cat every day. Quality time is a vital part of bonding with your pet, and helps foster a healthy, meaningful owner-pet relationship. Pet care is also part of this. You can’t just give your cat mounds of litter and food, leave him alone for a few days and expect him to be content. Daily cleaning of the litter box and scheduled feedings are crucial for the health of your pet. Being inconsistent with cleaning and feeding can lead to negative changes in your cat’s behavior.
Myth 2: Attaching a bell to your cat’s collar is an effective way of preventing them from killing small animals because it serves as a warning sound.
For people who have outdoor cats, it can be a bit unsettling to see their cat periodically kill rodents, birds, snakes or other animals. Many pet owners attach bells to their collars as a way to warn surrounding animals when the cat approaches. It can be effective to a point, but it can also have the opposite effect. Many cats become stealthier hunters and learn to move more quietly even with a bell, which enables them to continually sneak up on unsuspecting animals. Don’t expect your cat to stop hunting just because he has a collar bell. It may improve his hunting skills.
Myth 3: Cats will always land safely on their paws when they fall.
This couldn’t be further from the truth. Yes, cats can be agile and move gracefully, but not in every case. For instance, if they are falling from a short distance, they may not have enough reaction time to twist their bodies to land on their feet. Conversely, falling from a very high place is dangerous because the impact could lead to serious injuries or fatal results, even if they do manage to land on their paws.
Myth 4: Purring indicates happiness.
Not always. Yes, cats purr when they are happy, but they also purr when they are anxious, tired or agitated. If you want to gage your feline friend’s mood, pay attention to how he acts. If he’s sitting on your lap in a relaxed position with his eyes closed as you pet him and he’s purring, he’s most likely happy. But if he’s wide-eyed, jumpy and darting around while purring, he’s probably agitated. Don’t just rely on purring; it’s necessary to observe how your cat is acting overall to determine his mood.
Myth 5: It’s okay for cats to drink milk once in a while.
Most cats love to lap up milk, but that doesn’t mean you should let them. Many cats are lactose intolerant, so allowing them to ingest milk can upset their stomachs, cause vomiting and even give them diarrhea. Some cats can consume milk and not experience any negative health effects, but the only way to find out is to see if your cat gets sick after drinking milk. That’s never a fun guessing game to play, since it usually involves messy cleanup. It’s best to be on the safe side and not allow your cat to have milk. With the exception of kittens, which need milk from their mothers or a bottle, milk shouldn’t be part of a feline diet. Stick to just water, in addition to feeding them nutritious cat food.