Cats are mysterious creatures, and have filled us with a sense of wonder for thousands of years. Probably because of this, all sorts of ideas—many of them untrue—have been passed around about cats. Here are the top five misconceptions about cats, and the actual facts.
1. Cats are Aloof and Unfriendly
Somehow, despite all evidence to the contrary, the idea has gotten around that cats are cold and aloof. People often compare a cat’s nature unfavorably to the more affectionate personalities of dogs. This myth likely stems from the fact that cats do not seek to please their masters in the same way a dog might.
Yet, most cats crave attention from their owners. They crave play time, affection, and sometimes grooming. Cats have distinct personalities, and while some can be aloof and unfriendly, many cat owners defend their feline companions as funny, engaging, loving family members. As a whole, cats are affectionate and loyal animals who have strong bonds with their people.
2. Cats and Dogs Can’t Get Along
We have a saying for people who can’t get along with one another: they fight like cats and dogs. And the common conception is that you should never mix these pets, that a dog and cat cannot live together. Yet, thousands of cats live with thousands of dogs coexist quite happily, even with great affection. Bringing a new cat into a dog household, or vice versa, might require a period of adjustment. With patience on your side and time for everyone to adjust, most cats will live happily with dogs.
3. Cats Don’t Require Much Care
Because litter box trained cats don’t need walks and because cats tend to groom themselves, people have the notion that cats require very little maintenance on the part of their owners.
The truth is that having a cat is a big responsibility that includes many duties. To start, cats need regular veterinary care to stay healthy. They also need to be fed a high quality food. Some cats will require regular hair brushing, and all cats need dental care. Finally, cats need a lot of attention and affection from their owners. Cats are just as prone to disease in their elderly years as is any other pet, and those problems sometimes cost a lot of money, and require a great deal of patience and attention.
Plus, who ever said scooping the litter wasn’t work?
4. Declawed Cats are Safer for Children
Cats have sharp claws. They use their claws to defend themselves when they are frightened. Many people believe that children will be safer if the family cat is declawed. Declawing, however, can be an extremely painful and traumatizing experience for a cat. So much so that many vets have declared the process inhumane, and have disavowed it.
A better solution than declawing is to teach children to be gentle and careful with cats so that both can enjoy the companionship of the other.
5. Pregnant Women Shouldn’t Live with Cats
The idea that pregnant women have to avoid cats for fear of contracting toxoplasmosis has led to many a sad story. Because toxoplasmosis can be spread through cat feces and affect unborn babies, many people mistakenly believe they have to get rid of the family pet when a new baby is on the way. However, as long as a pregnant woman stays away from the litter box, there is no reason why she and the family cat cannot continue to live together. In fact, there is no more risk of a toxoplasmosis infection occurring from living with a cat than there is from eating undercooked meat. A pregnant woman’s reprieve, it seems, is that it become someone else’s duty to scoop the litter!
More on Cat Care
Litter Box Training for Your Cat
What to Do when Your Cat's not Grooming Well Enough
Can Cats Get Along?
This information is for informational purposes only and is not meant as a substitute for the professional advice of, or diagnosis or treatment by, your veterinarian with respect to your pet. It has, however, been verified by a licensed veterinarian for accuracy.