Independent, solitary, milk lover, afraid of water… Everyone has a very precise idea of the cat’s characteristics, what he likes or dislikes. If some a priori are false, others can be dangerous for him!
Here is a list of the main myths about cats… and the truth restored!
1. Cats Are Solitary Animals
Cats have very different characters, just like us humans.
A cat that is socialized from a young age may need the presence of its owner at all times.
If they appreciate quiet moments, it is not the same for loneliness.
It depends on the breeds and the education they have received, but a cat generally likes to share moments of tenderness, complicity and games with his master.
2. Cats Don’t Like Water
Although they won’t jump in the bathtub for a few lengths, cats are attracted to water.
Movement, noise, flowing water captivates them. Excellent swimmers, it is not uncommon to see some cats playing with a trickle of water.
Some breeds of cats, such as the Maine Coon, the Norwegian or the Turkish Van are even very comfortable with water!
So where does this legend come from?
Apart from the fact that their ancestors lived in rather desert regions like the Middle East, cats have a contradictory behavior with water: on one hand it fascinates them, on the other hand, it worries them.
So don’t try to water him or force him to take a bath: his breed and his relationship to water (habit or not) are determining factors.
3. Cat Hair Causes Allergies
Among the myths about cats, people often say that cat hair causes allergies.
It is not cat hair that causes allergies in sensitive people; on the contrary, it is a protein that is localized in their saliva, FEL D1.
When the cat washes himself, he deposits it on his hair, and it then triggers allergies on contact or by settling in the house.
4. The Cat Is Happy when He Purrs
Yes, the cat purrs with pleasure but it’s not the only reason he does that…
The purr being an expression of well-being, Kitty uses it when he needs to calm down, to reassure himself and to find this state of serenity.
To purr is to calm down but also to tranquilize the other cat (another cat, his human…) or to ask him to stop.
Know it, when you caress your small feline, if he starts to purr, maybe he’s asking you to stop!
5. Cats Can Choke Babies
Wrong, there is an old belief that it is not uncommon for cats to unintentionally suffocate babies while sleeping in their baby carriage.
In reality, when a baby arrives, cats tend to run away from him or her because it’s something he doesn’t know.
The more sociable ones may lie down next to the baby but will still run away at the slightest sudden movement.
6. A Cat Is Unhappy in an Apartment
Let’s be honest, if we are offered to choose between a studio and a villa with swimming pool, jacuzzi and a land of one acre, the choice will be quickly made.
Well, for our cats, it’s the same! But, just as we are not at the end of the roller in a studio, our small felines are not necessarily unhappy in an apartment either. If it is arranged and decorated correctly, our kittens can be very happy.
A kitten which will never be outside will not necessarily feel the need for it at adulthood, he will feel at home if he can express the natural behaviors of his species: climbing, watching his territory from above, scratching, eating at will, hunting (toys), resting in peace and quiet (hidden, in the calm. …).
Let’s not neglect the security advantage either, a cat in an apartment will not get run over, will not come back injured after a fight, will not get lost, will catch less parasites…
7. All Red Cats Are Males
In fact, the red color is possible in both sexes. It’s a matter of chromosomes!
The gene responsible for the presence of orange pigment, which gives the animal the color red (gene O for Orange) is carried by the sex chromosome X.
A female has two X sex chromosomes. She will be red if both X’s carry the O (XoXo) gene, tortoiseshell if only one X carries the O (XoX) gene and another color if no X chromosome carries the O (XX) gene.
A male has one sex chromosome X and one sex chromosome Y. If his X chromosome carries the O gene (XoY), the cat will be red, otherwise it will be of another color (XY).
Statistically, there is therefore more chance of having a red male (XoY) than a red female (XoXo).
On the other hand, 99.99% of tortoiseshell cats are females. The very rare males that have this coat are carriers of genetic abnormalities (they have two X chromosomes and one Y chromosome) and are invariably sterile.
8. An Indoor Cat Does Not Need to Be Vaccinated
Viral infections – affecting the digestive tract or respiratory system – can occur through soiling of the master’s shoes or through air currents carrying viral particles.
Therefore, all cats should be vaccinated, both indoors and outdoors.
9. Kittens Must Not Be Touched During the First Month
Wrong, it is often said that, during the first month of their life, it is advisable to handle the kittens as little as possible in order not to put our scent on them and thus avoid that their mother rejects them.
In reality, their mother will never reject them for this reason.
On the contrary, it is necessary to get them used to being touched so that they don’t become fearful when they grow up.
10. When a Cat Defecates Outside the Litter Box, You Must Put his Nose Inside to Prevent Him from Doing It Again
A small “accident” can happen, but making the choice to yell at your cat, hit him and/or dip his nose in his urine will not solve the problem, but on the contrary will make it worse.
A cat learns by reproducing, just like his mother taught him.
Thus, if you show him a puddle of fresh urine, it is as if you were asking him to make another one.
Finally, don’t put your cat’s nose in it, he will experience it as an injustice. Instead, look for the source of the problem, which may be medical.
11. All Sterilized Cats Become Obese
Indeed, a sterilized cat tends to eat more and to exercise less.
But obesity is absolutely not a fatality: if you change his diet the day after the procedure and monitor the evolution of his weight (without making it an obsession: one weighing per month is more than enough), there is a good chance that your cat will keep his weight down!
Choose a quality food, especially for sterilized animals, low in fat and rich in animal proteins. The quantity distributed must correspond to the cat’s real needs, according to his age and physical activity.
12. The Kibble Promotes the Appearance of Urinary Stones
Dry feeding has nothing to do with urinary stones. These are due to changes in the urinary pH (urine is too acidic or too basic).
The concentration of urine, due to insufficient drinking, is also a contributing factor.
Foods specially formulated to prevent the appearance of stones are either dry (kibbles) or wet (terrines, pâtés).
13. Cats Love Fish
This fact is by no means a generality, yet it is ingrained in our heads.
Cats are just like us on this point; some like fish and some don’t. And some like cheese too!
Cats rely primarily on smell to enjoy their food, so a strong smelling fish is unlikely to make them want it.
Moreover, a diet too rich in fish leads to deficiencies, especially in vitamin B1, and is therefore not recommended. Provide your cat with a well-balanced diet if you want her to live longer.
14. A Cat Must Have a Litter of Kittens in her Life
Having a litter does not affect the future health of the cat. On the contrary, an early sterilization limits the risk of breast tumors later on.
However, these tumors are often aggressive in the feline species.
Nowadays, the tendency is to sterilize the cat around the age of 6 months, without waiting for the first heat.
In the same way, it is absolutely not necessary for his balance that the male make a mating in his life.
15. A Cat Always Fall Back on his Paws
Alas even if he has the capacity, kitty does not necessarily fall back on his legs when he jumps or falls from a balcony or a window.
When everything goes well, his righting reflex allows him to turn around and orient himself to land on his paws.
However, despite his highly developed inner ear, his great flexibility and his sharp eyesight, if the fall is less than one and a half meters high, he will not have time to turn around. And if it is from much higher, the shock is enormous and the outcome often fateful 🙁
And then falling back on his legs does not mean that kitty will come out intact; he has a strong chance of injuring himself, fracturing bones…
Do not neglect the protection of your windows and balconies, falls are one of the first causes of mortality in our small feline.
16. Cats Are Attracted to Bleach
As it is for us, bleach is toxic for our small felines.
If they seem to like the smell it’s simply because bleach is ammoniated just like urine.
Kitty has the impression that another cat has passed by and he forces himself to urinate over it to explain that he is here at home, and to reassure himself.
17. Grass Is Consumed by Cats to Purge Themselves
Grass is not really a “purging food”, because it is incorporated directly into the stool without causing diarrhea.
On the other hand, if your cat has eaten a food that makes him uncomfortable or displeased, grass will help cleanse his stomach.
18. The Cat Takes Revenge After Being Punished
We tend to lend human feelings and intentions to cats, but NO, the concept of revenge, that of punishment… do not exist in our small felines.
Often, if Kitty pees everywhere, it’s because he’s not going well at all 🙁
If he doesn’t have health concerns (to be checked with the veterinarian), a stressed kitty can urinate outside the litter box and especially on fabrics (our nice bed, our beloved sofa…) to calm down.
By diffusing his smells in this way, he is reassured, he recognizes his home and he knows that if another feline passes by, he will quickly understand that the ground is already occupied!
Also, often when you punish a cat, he feels attacked, he becomes stressed, he goes to urinate to calm down, you are angry and the circle is closed, the infernal circle is launched!
19. Cats Don’t Like Dogs
If the two animals are different – morphology, physiology, character traits – they can also be the best friends in the world.
Indeed, it is not a question of race, but of individuals, and therefore of character, that determines the agreement or disagreement between a cat and a dog.
20. The Cat Is Cruel with his Prey
It is not uncommon to observe a cat returning from hunting and playing with his prey.
There are several explanations for this phenomenon.
Some people think that cats are exercising, other behaviorists have a different opinion: the cat, domesticated for centuries, no longer needs to hunt for food. He keeps a trace of his wild instincts through this game.
21. Cats Do Not Need to Be Washed
Cats are particularly clean animals that are thoroughly groomed several times a day.
Many owners therefore deduce that it is useless to give their cats a bath, an idea that is reinforced by the belief that cats hate water.
However, washing your cat from time to time can be very beneficial for him.
This is the case, for example, if he has skin infections, if he is invaded by parasites, or simply if the cat’s coat is too dirty and tangled for him to manage on his own.
If you have to shampoo your cat, you must use a cat shampoo, not a man shampoo or even a dog shampoo: the latter are too aggressive for the cat’s skin and coat, and may cause irritation.
22. The Cat Can See in Complete Darkness
No, but he sees in the dark. He needs a small source of light like the moon, the stars that he will amplify by dilating his pupils and thanks to his many sticks.
23. You Can’t Train a Cat
Let’s face it: unlike dogs, most cats are real mullet-heads who just do as they please.
This is why training a cat is much more difficult than training a dog, for example to teach him tricks.
Moreover, because of this, it has long been considered a fact that cats are less intelligent than dogs.
However, even if the exercise has nothing to do with training a dog and should not be compared to it, it is quite possible to teach your cat tricks and even to teach your cat to walk on a leash!
The most playful cat breeds are generally also the easiest to train because they like to receive their owner’s attention and are therefore more receptive than independent cats.
In any case, to hope for results, be patient and reward your companion with lots of petting and cat treats!
And if you want to know more about everything you can teach a cat, you can read this article.