We are often the recipients of information that we believe because we’ve heard it many times and have no reason not to believe it. Here are some interesting myths about cats… and the truth:
- Cats always land on their feet: Although cats will usually land on their feet, if they fall from considerable heights, they can still land awkwardly and become injured. Cats do have the ability to move their bodies very quickly and will instinctively roll during a fall to try to land on their feet. Cats also have no collar bones which lets them twist their body’s right way up quite efficiently.
- Male cats are more likely to urinate indiscriminately: Male and female cats will spray urine to mark their territory. Neutering often helps eliminate or lessen this behavior since it reduces the cat’s mating instinct. Even a cat that has always used his/her litter appropriately can begin to spray if another animal joins the household, visits or even is just seen out a window. Kitty wants the interloper to know that he/she is already king of the castle.
- Cats can lose their sense of balance without their whiskers: Cats use their whiskers as a type of feeler. They will often poke their heads into a space first and their whiskers help them gauge whether or not their body will fit through it. Whiskers are not required for balance and cutting them off can be painful for a cat since they are located on a sensitive part of their face. Cutting them off can also cause the cat distress because he/she may feel disoriented without this sensing ability.
- Black cats are bad luck: A cat that trips you up and causes you to fall and injure yourself may very well be a bit of bad luck; however, this particular myth is based in old superstitions going back centuries. Cats, especially black ones, were sometimes thought to be witches or belong to witches because of their nocturnal behaviors and because black was an “evil” colour being the epitome of darkness. Some people also believe that it is bad luck if a black cat crosses your path, although in some countries, this is considered good luck. These superstitious beliefs can affect how quickly black cats are adopted from shelters.
- Cats hate water: It is certainly true that most cats will avoid going into water and prefer to leap over it, however, many cats like to swim. If you have a pool and your cat likes to swim in it, be aware that the pool chemicals can be quite damaging to his skin.
- Cats have nine lives: While cats do have some amazing abilities to successfully leap large distances, survive falls and twist their bodies in seemingly impossible ways, once a cat dies, it does not come back for another eight lives. It may be that the root of this myth is that after a particular cat died, another similar one was mistaken for the dead one.
- Belling a cat will warn its possible prey that it is present: Unfortunately birds and other animals lack the ability to associate a bell with imminent danger. A cat can also learn to move so smoothly that their bell doesn’t jingle. Keeping your cat indoors or locating bird feeders in open areas so the birds can see your cat approaching are better methods to protect wildlife from your kitty.
- Cats need to go outside to be happy: Letting your cat outside on his own for any reason or any length of time exposes him to many dangers such as traffic, bad weather, wild animals, poison, sadistic people and those who collect them to sell to labs. Outdoor cats have an average lifespan of about two to three years. Indoor cats often live to be more than fifteen years old. Instead of letting kitty out, ensure he has stimulating toys indoors and a cat tree and/or window seat to give him interesting views.
- Cats should be at least six months old before neutering: With modern anesthetics, cats can be safely neutered as young as eight weeks old. This is great because you won’t need to go through a “heat” with your female cat or have your Tom reacting to a female who is in heat.
- A cat purrs because it's happy: Cats certainly can purr when they are happy and contented, however, they may also purr when giving birth or when they are dying. Purring is an expression of many emotions.
SHAID’s kitties still need non-clumping litter and canned food and the shelter needs bleach for keeping everything clean. Please donate if you can. Visit us on our Facebook page – SHAID Animal Shelter.