Cats have been since the beginning of their time with us as humans, have had their behavior and life become subject to numerous misbeliefs, myths, and even intentional falsities. A couple of these myths have been popularly debunked in recent times, however, some still, unfortunately, exist till date.
In this article, we shall be taking a look at some of the most common misconceptions about cats. Let’s read on to find out more.
Cat Myth #1 Dry food helps to clean your cat’s teeth
It is stated that the best way to remove plaque from teeth is to regularly brush. This fact also applies to cats.
It was believed over the years and still perceived to be true that dry food can be used to scrub and eradicate tartar from a cat’s teeth. Nevertheless, dentistry-specialized veterinarians say this is false, as dry food actually dehydrates the cat, which then causes its saliva to become extremely dense to the point where it is unable to properly perform its function like a natural teeth cleaner.
An article written by expert veterinarian Dr. Jean Hofve titled “Does Dry Food Clean the Teeth?” stated she had examined mouths of cats numbering in the thousands and she could not find any concrete correlation between dry food and dental/periodontal disease. This was because both wet and dry food eaters displayed signs associated with both bad and good mouths. This discovery caused her to surmise dental health had more to do with genetics than it had to do with the type of food consumed.
It is recommended to not only fly on specialized products such as oral chews or dry goods to help clean a cat’s teeth. The best way to eradicate plaque is to regularly brush your cat’s teeth, while also scheduling regular checkups as a veterinarian with a specialty in dentistry. Humans make regular trips to the dentist, so why not cats?
It does seem that even with all the facts and knowledge available out there, this myth is one that will live for a while, especially as it helps the massive cat food manufacturing brands make money.
Cat Myth #2 Cats are able to see in the dark/cats are not able to see in the dark
Cats are equipped with eyes that are uniquely built to enable them to see in low light conditions that humans view to be total darkness.
The above is actually two myths that are both incorrect even though they appear contradictory.
The fact is, cats are not able to see in conditions with no light at all “total darkness”. Cats are just better at making use of any lift available, which means they require an amount, no matter how little.
The other portion of this myth is that, while cats are able to see in conditions that humans would call total darkness, their sight during this time cannot be compared to the lighting conditions associated with dawn or dusk.
However, bright light has been linked to decreased vision in cats. It is also necessary to state that cats do not actually have excellent vision, as they are more likely to rely on their other senses (smell, touch, and hearing) than their sight while hunting. Vision only becomes important for a moment, when the cat is within jumping distance of the prey it is hunting.
Cat Myth #3 Spaying your cat will make it fat
Could this be caused by altering a cat? Experts don’t think so
Numerous owners reported that their cats gained weight after they were neutered/spayed. While these observations can’t be outrightly dismissed, as it does happen, there seems to be a factor that is not readily considered, and that is active.
Neutering/spaying doesn’t actually result in cats becoming overweight. This is down to a combination of overfeeding and reduced or low activity. Typically cat owners neuter or spay their cats in a bid to solve their highly aggressive or energetic behavior. This then works due to hormones to reduce the cat’s activity levels. However, most cat owners forget that alterations in the playing schedule and diet have to be made.
For example, if a cat that was free-fed, ran around the house, clawed carpets, and bit people, becomes neutered, it may lose interest in previously expressed behavior. While this is great as all pet owners aim to have calm cats, it also means, if needed interactions or play are introduced, the cat’s sole activity becomes eating. Since the cat is free-fed, it could eat more than necessary. This is why it is important to schedule playtime with your cat, as it comes with numerous benefits.
Cat Myth #4 Home-prepared food is expensive and time-consuming
Creating cat food at home is actually quite easy.
This myth probably gained ground as an excuse to feed cat’s dry food. While feeding your cat dry food might seem easier, as it only requires pouring a certain amount into a bowl a couple of times or even once in a day, making cat food at home is not difficult at all, and neither is it time-consuming.
For instance, making food for 3 cats will require you to prepare and store daily portions separately in the freezer. This can be done about twice a month. The entire process should take around an hour, which is a total of just two hours to feed 3 cats every month.
The only part that costs money is the recipe used which involves the chicken heart, thighs, liver, and numerous other essential vitamins and minerals needed by a cat. All of this costs as much as buying dry food of medium quality that has been filled with grain. While the price is similar, the digestibility and quality are higher in the homemade feed.
It is imperative to note that recipes gotten from sources that are unreliable could damage your cat’s digestive system. It is also important to consult a veterinarian if your cat has special health conditions that need to be managed.
Cat Myth #5 Cats eliminate out of the litterbox as a means of revenge
Numerous cat owners say their cats poop outside the litter box for revenge. But, cats don’t see feces as disgusting, so this myth is just that, a myth.
Numerous people think this myth is true and they attribute the numerous district behaviors of their cats, such as vomiting on clothes, scratching objects, and knocking things over, to revenge.
Cats are actually unable to intentionally induce vomiting, so that puts paid to that part of the myth. Urine, poop, and claw marks are, however, not viewed as wrong or bad things by a cat, so there really isn’t a reason why they would be used as tools for revenge.
Most cats eliminate out of the litterbox as a responsible behavior to resources and territory insecurity, or increased stress.
When a cat is being scolded, it increases its stress levels and that increased stress leads to elimination that is deemed inappropriate. It is important to note that scolding alone is unlikely to create enough stress to the cat, but it could be an addition to an already elevated stress level. This then causes the cat to exhibit inappropriate behavior like becoming destructive or eliminating outside its designated litterbox, which then appears to humans as revenge.
Cat Myth # 6 Cats are typically self-dependent and solitary animals
This myth has been the most pervasive one that was widely accepted to be true even to the point that professionals that worked with animals viewed it to be a fact for an extremely long time. This time is most likely why it has been difficult to bust and put paid to this myth.
Cats are in fact ranked as the top self-dependent animals and recent research suggested that cats are the only animals out of domesticated farm animals and pets that would survive a world without humans. This, however, doesn’t mean cats don’t require any attention from pet owners.
It turns out that the most widespread reason for cats to misbehave is the lack or dearth of attention from their humans. If a cat is constantly misbehaving or has recently developed a behavior problem, it is most likely to be displayed through inappropriate elimination, aggression, and clawing. One of the ways to help abate this issue before it becomes a major problem is to have increased playtime with your cat.
Cat Myth #7 Cats tend to show guilty signs when they get scolded
Scolded cats tend to appear guilty to numerous owners. However, are owners able to differentiate between the expression of confusion and one of guilt?
This is a myth that is still popular, but like with all myths has no iota of truth. It might be those cat owners to see their pets with a look that seems like a look of guilt to them. However, that is actually just humans projecting human feelings to their cats. Scientists say that cats, among many other animals, actually do not feel a wide variety of human emotions, guilt included. This is because the scientific world believes cats live their lives in the now and tend not to bother about irrelevant things like the future, past, remorse, or guilt. The cats just live.
That doesn’t mean owners are not seeing a look on their cat when it is being scolded for either scratching up the sofa or eliminating outside the litterbox. The look seen by many cat owners alike is an expression of confusion.
Cat Myth #8 Indoor cats are unable to get infected with diseases and worms, as they do not venture out.
Placing a cat in a safe will not secure him from the outside world. Neither does restricting outdoor access.
There have been instances when cats were given away to people and there seemed to be a lack of vaccination records. Further investigations showed that the cats hadn’t been vaccinated since the initial shots they received after they were born. It turned out the previous owner had the view that it was unnecessary to vaccinate the cats, as there would be no scenario or instance that they would venture outside.
Nonetheless, the simple fact is, worms, ticks, fleas, and viruses are able to seamlessly travel on shoes, clothes or any other items in the house. This is why indoor cats, just like outdoor cats need to be vaccinated and wormed. It is also important that flea and tick medication should be applied to them as well.
Cat Myth #9 Pregnant women have to give up their cats
It is actually quite unfair that a woman is given the emotional dilemma of deciding between her cat and her unborn baby, especially as this is not actually necessary
This myth is one of the oldest out there and it is still unfortunately to this day extremely widespread. There have been cases of gynecologists suggesting to women that they should get rid of their cats once they get pregnant. This dire warning is backed up by the dread of toxoplasmosis, which is a parasite typically found in cat feces. It is a harmful parasite as it is able to cause dire damage to the fetus upon infecting the pregnant woman.
That being said, this should not be the main reason a pregnant woman should give up her cat. Toxoplasmosis is able to transfer from cats to humans in numerous ways, such as by eating uncooked or improperly cooked meat or somehow consuming feces that have been contaminated. It does alarm people that feces, especially those of cats can be ingested. This can happen when the litterbox is cleaned and proper handwashing afterward doesn’t occur.
It is best and safer for pregnant cat owners to leave the litterbox cleaning to another member of the family. If that option is not available, it is best to use gloves to clean the litterbox and ensure hands are washed with soap after scooping.
It is important to note that this reason is not even close to being enough to get rid of your beloved cat. In that same vein, you wouldn’t get rid of a toddler if he or she squeezes a cat or pulls on its tail.
There are numerous misconceptions about cats to date. We hope this article has helped in clearing a few of the most common cat misconceptions a lot of individuals have.