Why are these furry creatures often associated with cat myths and folklore? This special adoration we have for cats is often depicted in ancient artwork and texts. The Egyptian goddess Bastet took the form of a feline along with other gods and goddesses. Moreover, in the past, cats were not only kept as pets but were also deployed as a solution to the overgrowing population of rats, mice, snakes, and other pests. As they offer a sense of protection, there is perhaps a connection as to the role of the feline gods.
Another popular belief about cats involves associating black cats as the bringer of bad omen. However, regardless of colour and breed, no feline deserves a cruel death just because we thought they were witches’ familiars or anything supernatural. Unfortunately, this superstition leads to a great number of unwanted black cats due to difficulty in finding new homes.
These days, as we are now more enlightened than our ancient ancestors, let us have a run-through on facts about cats and what remain to be myths about cats. This list aims to clear out the common misassumptions in rearing your furry friends.
‘Cats have nine lives.’
Cats do not have the gift of immortality, even more so with nine lives. Like humans, they only have one life to live. People may have mistaken their several formidable capabilities to survive against odds.
What they really have are the following:
- Their heightened senses allow them to easily spot a hint of trouble.
- They are a great escape artist.
- These furry creatures are finicky eaters, which save them from poisoning problems.
- They try their best to stay out of fights. However, when left with no other choice, they can do so using their sharp teeth and claws.
- They can stand and survive on their own.
- Upon falling from a certain height, they have strong instincts to quickly shift their body to land on their feet. In fact, they are known to have more injuries from low heights than high. This is due to the very limited time for them to shift around their body for a safe landing.
‘Cats are unaffectionate creatures.’
They may be capable to live independently on their own but they can be affectionate too. They may not be as more reliant on humans as domestic dogs are. This should not be surprising as there were canines that were specifically bred as human companions.
Despite that, felines are affectionate in their own ways, including:
- Being a lap cat or getting in a comfortable position near you
- Rubbing her head against you
- Scratchy-tongue kisses
- Greeting you as soon as you come home
- Purring when stroked and patted
‘All cats hate water.’
Have you seen cats go swimming? Although there are domestic felines that despise water, not all cats do.
Look at this rescue feline that found love in her new family and in swimming:
The Turkish Van cat breed is also renowned for its unusual trait of enjoying the water. However, it remains true that most cats do not find relief and joy in water. One good theory is they have originally descended from African wild cats hailed from the desert areas. Some believe that cats do not like the feeling of being wet, in general, because of how it slows their movement.
‘Give them a bowl of cow’s milk.’
Seeing a cat silently lapping at a bowl of milk is an all-too-familiar scene in cartoon films. Apart from that, there are others who strongly believe that milk kills cats. However, neither is incorrect in both scenarios.
Firstly, a lot of animals started out being fed with milk by their mother. Indeed, our furry friends are fond of cream due to its high fat content. However, the milk available in supermarkets has little fat. Some may find it delicious but they may not find it easy to digest.
Fortunately, milk is not a necessary component in a cat’s diet. Only kittens require food in liquid form to survive. The best milk you can provide is from their mother’s or one that is specifically advised by your vet.
Most kittens, once weaned, develop lactose intolerance due to their inability to produce enzymes, which is an important factor for proper digestion, but there are special cases where they may have retained such ability to digest.
If you want to provide milk to your furry pets, choose one that is categorised as lactose-free. Just remember to feed them in appropriate amounts. Milk contains calories that may contribute to increase in weight.
‘Cats and dogs are mortal enemies.’
Another popular belief about cats is treating dogs as their foe by instinct. Dogs are likely to kill or chase cats. This is the usual scenario shown in movies. Why? The reason has more to do with animal communication and their predatory instincts.
With their survival instinct to run, cats may activate the dog’s curiosity with its flashing quick movements. What do dogs do when they see something interesting? They chase it, may it be a ball, stick, or a cat. Once the cat feels threatened or trapped, it is likely to hiss and fight.
In addition to that, there are great differences of cross-species communication in both cats and dogs. According to an article, ‘Dogs greet each other by sniffing each other’s butts and that’s perfectly normal for them. If a dog tries to greet a cat this way, though, the cat might find it threatening because it’s not typical cat behaviour.’
What other cat myths do you know about? Share them now in the comments below!