Some of it is just plain silly – and some is downright dangerous.
The following are ten urban legends about our kitty companions that deserve debunking:
- Myth: Cats always land on their feet.
Fact: Cats don't have collarbones, their backbones are very flexible, and they are extremely graceful animals. This may have led to the old wives tale that they always land on their feet. However, the way your kitty is constructed is no guarantee he won't be harmed in a fall.
- Myth: You should give your cat cow's milk.
Fact: Adults of any species typically have trouble digesting the milk of another species – and that includes cats. Like humans, many cats are also lactose intolerant, and cow's milk offers no nutritional value to your kitty.
- Myth: All cats hate water.
- Myth: Dry cat food (kibble) is best for cats because it helps clean their teeth.
Fact: Crunchy food isn't any better at brushing and flossing your kitty's teeth than it is yours. From a nutritional standpoint, dry food is the worst thing you can feed your cat – it is devoid of both the healthful, unadulterated protein and moisture cats need in order to stay healthy.
- Myth: Cats that live indoors don't get sick or need to see the veterinarian regularly.
Fact: While it's true indoor living is much safer and healthier for domesticated kitties, they still need regular wellness visits to a holistic or integrative veterinarian. And no matter where your cat spends her time, if she's not eating a species-appropriate, nutritionally balanced diet, she's at risk for poor health. An annual physical examination and bloodwork to detect early organ dysfunction is priceless, in terms of being a proactive pet owner.
- Myth: If you have a cat at home with an infant, the cat will be attracted to the scent of milk and can suck the air from the baby's mouth, suffocating it.
Fact: There is absolutely no evidence cats are attracted to an infant's breath, nor has there ever been a case where a cat has suffocated an infant in this manner. If you find your cat snoozing with your baby, it's because kitties like to snuggle up against warm bodies, especially in quiet, darkened rooms – which nurseries often are. Sometimes fat cats are bigger than tiny infants, hence the recommendation to keep the cat out of the nursery.
- Myth: Declawing is just a permanent nail trim.
Fact: Declawing is the surgical amputation of the first joint of each of a cat's toes, and is increasingly viewed as inhumane and a form of mutilation.
- Myth: Cats thrive on a vegetarian diet.
Fact: Cats are obligate carnivores, designed by nature to require animal protein. In fact, human-grade, unprocessed protein and moisture (water) should make up the bulk of your kitty's diet. Regardless of your own feelings about eating meat, please don't compromise your cat's health by feeding him a vegan or vegetarian diet.
- Myth: Cats are cold and aloof. If you want a loving, loyal pet, get a dog.
Fact: Many cats are very loving. Cats are not dogs, so other than having four legs, a tail and fur like their canine counterparts, they are very different animals and comparisons don't make much sense. Dogs are by nature pack animals, while kitties are more independent. But cats that enjoy the same status in the family as dogs are often just as loving, attentive and present as their canine buddies.
- Myth: Cats have nine lives.
Fact: Utter nonsense! Cats are smart, so it may appear they are "luckier" than dogs.