10 Things You Thought You Knew About Cats
Myths and misinformation exposed

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1. Rubbing butter on cats' paws will help it find its way home.

Often given as advice when someone moves house and is letting the cat outside for the first time, but completely untrue.

A much better way of making sure your cat comes home is to:

  • Keep the cat indoors for 2 weeks so it knows that the new house is 'home' and safe.
  • Make sure your cat is micro chipped so even if he/she does wander off and gets lost there's a good chance of being reunited (make sure you change the microchip information with your new address)

2. Giving a cat a saucer of milk is good for them

Most cats do seem to enjoy a saucer full of milk; unfortunately a lot of cats are lactose intolerant (which means they can't digest the sugar in cows milk). It can give them diarrhoea which I think we can agree isn't good for anyone! There are special types of milk you can buy to treat your cat without this risk.

3.A Female cat should have a litter of kittens before being spayed

Cats have no anticipation of motherhood, there is no reason to let her have a litter of kittens and medical evidence suggests that cats who are spayed before there first heat are actually healthier.

4. Cats have 9 lives

Unfortunately I have to inform you that cats don't actually have 9 lives (I know, I was disappointed to learn this too!)

This myth is thought to have originated from William Baldwin, who in his 1553 book 'Beware the Cat' wrote "It is permitted for a witch to take her cat's body nine times".

5. The average lifespan for an indoor/outdoor cat is 1-3 years old (in the UK)

A statistic that is often used around the Internet as a reason to keep your cats indoors only, but so far there have been no official studies to prove this statistic. As a UK cat owner who has 5 cats all over 10 years old that have always been alowed outside I tend to agree that this statistic is a myth. (Those who disagree please forward me the studies to show otherwise!)

6. Pregnant women should not live with cats

Toxoplasmosis is one of the main reasons people think it's dangerous for a pregnant woman to live with a cat. Toxoplasmosis is spread via cat faeces. You can easily remove the risks by getting someone else to clean the litter tray, wear gloves to do any gardening work and wash your hands before eating.

7. Putting bells on a cats collar will stop it catching birds & mice

Well you can see how it could work, the bell rings and notifies the prey that something's there. New research shows however that it could have the opposite effect because the cat can learn to move without the bell ringing, therefore making it stealthier!

8. Spaying or Neutering your cat will make it gain weight

Cats like all other animals gain weight by over eating and not getting enough exercise, there is no evidence to suggest that spaying or neutering alone will make your cat gain weight.

9. You can't train a cat

You can't train a cat as easily as you can train a dog but it can be done. We've trained Rags to 'sit' and 'lay down' on command, and I'm sure we could have taught him more. Cats are very smart when they want to be!

10. Cats always land on their feet

I'm sure you've all heard this one, and most of the time its true but cats do occasionally land on their chins and can also give themselves pelvic injuries falling from windows, even when they land on their feet.

It's true that they always seem to try to land on their feet, just like your toast always does its best to land butter side down - interestingly enough, this myth has lead to the creation of a new myth - The Buttered Cat Paradox

This article was first published in The Purr Company's regular Mews-letter, visit us for more cat stories and articles, a gallery of our visitors cats , cat videos and our online shop.

You may reproduce this article free of charge in any free newsletter or on any free web site on the condition that this resources box is included with any reproduction.

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Dannielle said:

Oue cat Jonsey could stalk with out ringing the two bells that were on her collar .I totally agree that a cat can learn to move without the bell ringing, therefore making it stealthier!