17 Cat Myths That Aren’t True, But Everyone Believes

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By Darryl Henderson

The hint of arrogance that follows cats around and a staunch desire for independence gives cats an air of mystery that not many species possess, which in turn leads to the spreading of falsifications. Here are 17 cat myths that have had people fooled for decades. 

Dogs and Cats Don’t Get On

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If given time to get to know each other, cats and dogs will coexist peacefully, despite what popular culture may have led you to believe. There is a process that must be followed when introducing a cat to a dog, with the RSPCA advising that the first interactions be taken slowly and with supervision.

Cats Don’t Like People

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Some cats will scratch, bite, and swipe at humans, but this shouldn’t be a reflection of all felines, as some can’t get enough human attention. The more time that a cat spends with a person, playing and bonding, the more likely they are to develop a close relationship with them.

Vegan Cat Food is Fine

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While humans can easily survive on an animal product-free diet, cats will struggle. Cats are not omnivores and are instead obligate carnivores, which Britannica defines as an animal that cannot obtain the nutrients they need from the plant kingdom or bacteria. 

They Always Land on Their Feet

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Cats are blessed with a natural ‘self-righting’ reflex, a talent which, as Live Science suggests, is a result of both physics and neurology. This allows them to twist themselves mid-air, ensuring they land on their feet… most of the time. However, if the cat is falling from a very tall height, this reflex is less likely to be effective.

Cats Should Drink Cow’s Milk

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Like most humans, cats are innately drawn toward dairy products, including cow’s milk, which many see as a viable source of hydration for the cat. This can potentially be dangerous, as most cats are lactose intolerant, lacking enzymes in their intestines to digest the lactose in cow’s milk.

Cats are Nocturnal

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They may sleep during the day and always seem to crave your attention at night, but cats are not nocturnal, they are instead crepuscular, meaning they are most awake at dusk and dawn. This is a result of their inherent wild traits, as most of their prey, such as insects and birds are most active during these times.

They Are Low Maintenance

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While cats don’t need to be walked every morning like dogs do, they still require a hefty amount of maintenance every day. Cats need regular attention, even if they play it off as though they don’t, as well as requiring feeding and any medication they may be prescribed.

They Don’t Like Cuddles

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While some cats will prefer total independence, many cats are very cuddly and require a lot of love. Much like Business Insider suggests, people tend to view cats in the same way they view dogs, who are much more open about their need for attention.

Outdoor Cats are Healthier

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The explorative nature of cats often gives people the impression that they belong outside despite the facts suggesting otherwise. Cats that live almost exclusively outdoors tend to lead much shorter lives, with an average lifespan of five years, compared to an indoor cat’s lifespan of 14 years.

Training Cats Isn’t Possible

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Training a cat is very different from training a dog, but it is equally possible. Different methods are required, as cats won’t learn from discipline like dogs, and will run away from any attempts you make to punish them. It’s best you keep the sessions short and use equipment such as clickers to aid you.

All Cats Hate Water

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One of the biggest myths surrounding cats is that they hate water and will avoid it at all costs. Many cats will be fascinated by water, especially when it’s running from a tap, often pawing it and trying to play with it. They are, however, unlikely to be enthused about being submerged in it.

Indoor Cats Don’t Get Sick

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While outdoor cats are more likely to develop diseases due to eating things they shouldn’t, fighting stray cats, or being over-exposed to the elements, indoor cats aren’t immune to illness. Indoor cats will still require their worming tablets, jabs, and exercise to prevent obesity and arthritis.

Cats See in The Dark

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Cats cannot actually see in total darkness but can operate well in low-light conditions. A membrane in the back of cats’ eyes intensifies the small amounts of light that they gather, a trait developed evolutionally to aid them when hunting prey in low lighting. 

Purring Means Happiness

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While purring is a cat’s natural response to feeling content, it isn’t an action confined to a singular emotion. Cats will also purr when they are nervous and sometimes when they are feeling sick, which is why you should always focus on a cat’s body language as well as its purring. 

Pregnant Women Should Avoid Cats

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Pregnant women are often wrongly warned against owning cats, as some of them may carry a disease called toxoplasmosis, which is harmful to unborn babies. While it is recommended that pregnant women don’t change the cat’s litter tray, the risk of them catching the disease is very low.

Cats With Bells Can’t Hunt

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Originally, having a bell on their collar will prove an issue for cats when it comes to hunting. However, it won’t take long for them to work out how to move without ringing the bell, making them stealthier and more likely to bring a horrifying present back to their owner.

Black Cats Are Unlucky

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This superstition is instantly disproved when you consider that some countries, including Japan and Scotland, see black cats as good luck charms. Unfortunately, the superstition that they are unlucky means that it is harder for rescue centers to rehome black cats.