When I was I child I used to believe that rubbing a cat’s face with its own poop would prevent that cat from pooping anywhere in the house. It was only when I adopted my first rescued cat that I found out that the solution to the poop problem was a cat litter box. This misconception has been passed down from generation to generation and it’s about time that we debunk some misconceptions about our feline companions.
Fish bones are good for cats. Everyone is familiar with the stereotype of a cat eating a fishbone so some people think that feeding their cats fish bones is okay. The fact is fish bones can be harmful to cats as they can choke the cat and cause injuries to their digestive system. Cat parents can still give fish bones to their cats, just remember to take out the fish bones first.
Cats have nine lives. This is probably the most popular misconception about cats. Hundreds of memes are circulating on social media, for amusement purposes, of course, about cats and their nine lives. The saying “a cat has nine lives” has been around for generations, although no one is sure where it came from. The fact is, just like any other animal, cats have only one life.
Cats can drink cow’s milk. Most cats are lactose-intolerant. They lack the enzyme needed to digest the sugar in milk in their intestines. What happens when a cat drinks cow’s milk? The same with lactose-intolerant people. They may experience vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach pain after consuming it. So just to be on the safe side, always choose milk products that are specifically made for cats.
Cats and dogs are mortal enemies. This isn’t always true. The fact is cats and dogs can get along, or at the very least tolerate, one another. When they were still alive, my parents had cats and a dog – all indoor pets, and if my memory serves me right, humans, felines, and a canine lived harmoniously in one household. I have several cats and one dog living with me and they all get along most of the time.
Cats are nocturnal. Cats are not considered nocturnal animals like bats. They are, however, crepuscular, which means they are most active during dawn and twilight. For outdoor cats, this is the perfect time to hunt for food because there is adequate light for them to see clearly.
Cats always land on their feet. We have seen many videos where cats fall from high buildings but manage to land on their feet, uninjured. While it is true that cats are very agile animals, they can get injured if they fall the wrong way. High-rise syndrome is the term used by veterinarians to describe feline fall injuries. According to the American Medical Center, “High rise syndrome refers to the common set of injuries that cats may sustain when they fall from high places.” These injuries could include breathing problems, bone fractures, and sprains.
Cats purr when they are happy. True, cats purr when they feel happy or contented, but there are also some other reasons why cats purr. According to an article by Lisa Fields on pets.webmd website, cats also purr when they’re hungry, need to calm themselves, or are in pain. So the next time you hear your cat purr, better check whether it’s a happy purr, which is good, or something else.
Black cats bring bad luck. Nothing could be farther from the truth. It is unfortunate that due to this misconception, black kittens are sometimes difficult to get adopted. I have a rescued black cat named Shadow, and he’s the most affectionate of all my cats. He loves to knead my tummy and give head butts.
A cat eating grass is a sign that she is ill. This is not always true. There are other reasons why cats eat grass, such as to accelerate bowel movements or induce vomiting. Or the cat simply wants to take advantage of the vitamins contained in the grass. Folic acid, a vitamin found in grass, aids in the bloodstream’s ability to transport oxygen.
Declawing is good for cats. Sadly, there are cat parents who declaw their cat, believing that this is good for the cat… and for their furniture. What these cat owners must realize is that the negative effects of cat declawing far outweigh the positive ones. There are other ways that cat parents can do to prevent their cats from scratching household furniture. Trimming the cat’s claws and providing scratching posts or mats are just some of them.
About the author: Rowena David is faculty member at College of Computer Science in the University of Makati, is a freelance writer (Tagalog short novels), admin of Philippine Pet Lovers Society Facebook page, an animal rescuer and animal welfare advocate.