17 Myths People Believe About Cats That Just Aren’t True

Cats move with so much grace and exhibit certain unnerving behaviors that many people now see them as mysterious, mythical creatures. Well, they’re just like any other animal, and here are 17 myths about them you should forget today. 

All Cats Hate Water

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While most cats may put up a fight to avoid getting into the bathtub, they aren’t all like this. Apart from wild cats like tigers and leopards, domestic cats like the Turkish van, Maine coon, Bengal, and Norwegian forest cat actually love water. 

Cats Have Nine Lives

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The most popular myth, and the worst to believe, is that cats have nine lives. It all started with the Egyptian sun god, Atun-Ra, who legend says turns into a cat to visit the underworld. Ra is said to embody eight other gods and, hence, has nine lives in him. Cats may have extraordinary abilities to survive perceivably fatal falls, but no, they don’t have nine lives.

Black Cats Bring Misfortune

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One European belief about black cats is that they are companions of witches and are associated with misfortune and bad luck. Some even refer to them as an omen of death. Yes, they may seem eerily colored and slip stealthily in between shadows at night, but they aren’t different from the ginger cats you love. 

Black Cats Bring Luck

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Some also believe that, on the flip side, black cats actually bring good luck. As Spruce Pets shares, in Japan, people believe you’ll have luck finding true love if you spot a black cat, while in the UK, there’s a belief that receiving black cats as a gift is a charm for a healthy marriage and prosperous home.

Cats Always Land on Their Feet

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There’s a bit of truth to this. Cats have a “righting reflex,” which allows them to reorient themselves to know where the ground is during a fall. They’re fast enough to also cushion falls by readjusting their feet. Whether they’re successful with this depends on the height of the fall, and the higher the fall, the less accurate this reflex is.

Cats Can See In Complete Darkness

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Cats have eyes with corneas and pupils that are 50% larger than humans’, so they let in more light than ours. However, cats need a little light to exercise this advantage. In a dimly lit room, your cat definitely sees better than you, but in complete darkness, you’re both seeing the same pitch black.

Cats Should Be Given Milk

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Many people believe the best thing for cats to drink is milk—cow’s milk, to be exact. This isn’t just untrue, but, per the PDSA, it could be harmful as many cats are lactose intolerant. You risk giving your cat an uncomfortable stomach ache to deal with, which sometimes leads to diarrhea and vomiting. It’s best to just give them water or wet food. 

Cats Only Purr When Happy

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Your cat may purr a lot when you pet it, so it wouldn’t be hard to believe this myth. However, apart from when they are happy or comfortable, cats purr in many uncomfortable moments as well. This includes when they are hungry, nervous, sick, or even on their dying bed.

Cats Like to Be Left Alone

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They do excellently well as independent, solitary hunters in the wild, and you may believe that interacting with them disturbs their natural flow. You should understand that, like dogs, while some breeds are barely affectionate, others like the ragdoll, Burmese, and Persian cats actually enjoy affection from humans. 

Cats Live Their Best Lives Outdoors

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There’s freedom to explore in the outside world, and many believe keeping cats indoors only limits their way of life. The truth is that cats pay for this freedom with their lives, literally. While indoor cats live for an average of ten to 20 years, outdoor cats live for only five years, Business Insider reports. This is because they face higher health and safety risks.

Indoor Cats Don’t Fall Sick 

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They may live longer and barely develop serious health complications, but indoor cats are just as vulnerable to infections as outdoor cats. Even if they don’t go outside, they can still contract the feline herpes virus and be infected by ring worms.

Cats Don’t Like Other Cats

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It’s part of their nature to be territorial, like their bigger relatives in the wild. But domestic cats are only aggressive toward other cats and pets when they aren’t socialized properly. Some cats, like the Abyssinian, Bengal, Birman, and Bombay cats, are generally easy-going towards other cats.

Cats Are Nocturnal

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Cats sleep an average of up to 18 hours within a 24-hour period, and they also do most of this sleeping during the day. This has led many to believe that they are nocturnal animals that are most active at night. In actuality, as BBC’s Science Focus shares, they are crepuscular animals—i.e., they are most active during the twilight periods of dusk and dawn.

Cats Are Major Health Risks to Pregnant Women

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gondii (toxoplasmosis) is an infection contractible through cat feces that poses health risks to soon-to-be-delivered babies and infants. What many people don’t know is that there’s more exposure to it through dirty water, undercooked meat, and gardening than there is to dealing with cats. Prevent your indoor cat from eating raw meat, or alternatively, have someone else take care of the litter box.

Cats Are Untrainable

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Many people also believe cats will always do whatever they want and can’t be conditioned to certain behaviors. They believe this while ignoring the fact that cats are easily trainable to use a litter box and, in some cases, an actual toilet. They can also be trained to respond to calls, sit, play fetch, and jump through hoops.

Declawing Cats Doesn’t Hurt

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It’s also a common belief that declawing cats is as harmless as trimming your fingernails, and it needs to be done to curb destructive scratching behaviors. Well, you’re only making your cat extremely uncomfortable. Declawing a cat causes paw pain, infections, and even nerve-damaging regrowths when done poorly.

Female Cats Are Happier With Kittens

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It’s always a joy to see a litter of kittens running around their mom, and you’ll think female cats are happier with them. The opposite is the truth. Cats don’t have an emotional yearning to give birth like we do, and spaying reduces her risk of cervical and mammalian cancers. Your cat is calmer and lives a healthier, longer life. 

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