When it comes to cats, we’ve all grown up hearing things like how they will always land on their feet, can’t get rabies or should be avoided by pregnant women at all costs.
But are these “cat facts” really true, or are they just a result of people hearing something somewhat believable and then accepting it without questioning its truthfulness?
Here are 10 common cat myths that have been debunked and are absolutely false:
Indoor cats can’t get diseases
Our feline friends can contract diseases even if they live their entire lives indoors. Dogs that go both inside and outside can bring harmful organisms into the house and cats can even become infected through ingesting disease-carrying insects. According to experts at the Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA), indoor cats are more exposed to airborne germs or those that are carried in on an owner. Leaving your shoes at the door is one way to help lessen this risk and protect your cat.
Putting garlic on a cat’s food will get rid of worms
Adding garlic to your cat’s food will make it tastier, but it has no effect on worms and can cause anemia (a decrease in red blood cells) in your cat.
Cats always land on their feet
Cats are some of nature’s most graceful creatures because they have no collarbones and have a very flexible spine. This body structure allows them to instinctively twist their bodies and survive falls from high places by landing feet first. However, this does not guarantee that they won’t sustain injury. Cats are more likely to become injured when falling from lower heights because they don’t always have enough time to instinctively turn and situate their body to land on their feet.
Cats can infect pregnant women with a harmful disease
Some cats can carry a disease called Toxoplasmosis, which can be transferred to humans and cause serious problems to unborn children. However, this disease cannot be contracted from cats themselves, so you can keep on loving Mr. Whiskers without fear. Toxoplasmosis spread through feces and litter, which makes the litter box the real enemy. Pregnant women should avoid this area and assign cleaning it to a friend or family.
Cats can suck the breath from infants and suffocate them
There are lots of different variations of this myth but all of them are primarily built upon superstition. Contrary to popular belief, there is no evidence supporting the belief that cats will steal the breath out of a baby because they can smell the scent of milk on their breath. No infant has ever died this way. The real worry is centered on how cats like to cuddle up to warm bodies and lay around the head, neck and mouth area of a person. For this reason it’s best to keep your feline away from your newborn until they’re a little bigger.
A cat’s whiskers is what gives them their sense of balance
A cat without whiskers is not going to fall over. Cats use their whiskers to feel but they don’t help them balance in any way.
Milk is good for cats
All the movies we watched where a cat was shown lapping up a saucer of milk were a lie. Ironically, though they like milk, many cats are lactose intolerant. Cow’s milk provides them no nutritional value and adults of any species have a hard time digesting the milk of another species.
Cats can’t get rabies
Like most warm-blooded mammals, cats too can carry rabies. They should be vaccinated regularly according to local laws.
Cats only purr when they are content
Baby cats are born blind and a mother cat will sometimes purr so that her kittens know the direction to go in order to get fed. A cat might also purr at times when it is sick, in pain or close to death.
All cats hate water
Many cats shun water like the plague because it causes their fur to become waterlogged and weighs them down. However, to say that all cats hate water is incorrect.
Some domestic cat breeds such as Turkish Vans, Siberians, Bengals, Savannahs and others originating out of Europe, Asia and Africa actually like water.