Cat Myths, Facts and Urban Legends

Got Milk?

There are many urban legends about cats. Below we debunk some of these myths.

Myth: Cats can have cow’s milk

Fact: Cats are actually lactose intolerant and can get an upset stomach from drinking milk.

Myth: Cats should eat fish

Fact: Cats can eat fish occasionally, but too much fish in their diet can lead to Yellow Fat Disease (steatitis).

Myth: Cats always land on their feet

Fact: This is only sometimes true. Cats who fall from a short height may not have time to right themselves. Cats who fall from a great height will be gravely injured and may even die. For more information, see Do Cats Always Land On Their Feet?

Myth: Cat fur causes allergies

Fact: Cat allergies are actually caused by allergens in the cat’s skin.

Myth: When a cat purrs it means he’s happy

Fact: Cats purr when they are happy but they will also purr when they are in pain. Purring is more an expression of an emotion than an expression of happiness.

Myth: All calico (tortoiseshell) cats are female

Fact: Most, but not all, calico cats are female because the calico color is sex-linked. Male calico cats are almost always sterile.

Myth: Pregnant women shouldn’t own cats

Fact: Cats are the natural host for Toxoplasmosis, so if a woman has not been exposed previously and becomes infected during pregnancy this can be dangerous for her unborn baby. However, if the women takes precautions such as avoiding cleaning the litter tray, ensuring her meat is thoroughly cooked, washing vegetables properly and wearing gloves while gardening, there is no need to get rid of the cat.

Myth: All cats hate water

Fact: Although most cats dislike water, there are some who like it.

Myth: Siamese cats are mean

Fact: Siamese cats are one of the most popular breeds, so this is clearly not true. The myth is apparently a result of the movie Lady and the Tramp where the Siamese cat plays the villain.

Myth: A cat’s sense of balance is in its whiskers.

Fact: Cats use their whiskers as “feelers” but not to maintain their balance.

Myth: Cats can’t get rabies

Fact: Cats, like most warm-blooded mammals, can get rabies and should be vaccinated.

Myth: Brushing a cat’s teeth is silly.

Fact: Brushing your cat’s teeth can freshen its breath and prevent oral disease.

Myth: Putting garlic in your cat’s food will get rid of worms.

Fact: Garlic can cause anemia in cats, so this is not a good ingredient to put in their food.

Myth: Cats have nine lives.

Fact: Well, obviously not.

Myth: Declawing does not hurt a cat.

Fact: Declawing involves cutting through the bone so it is definitely painful to the cat. Also, recovery is difficult since the cats don’t rest but walk on the injured joints.

Myth: Cats heal themselves by licking their wounds.

Fact: Actually, licking the wounds is harmful and slows down the process of healing.

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