There are many myths about cats, their behaviors and what they tolerate. Here we mention some of them and what is really true.
1. A cat always lands on its feet
Everyone knows that the cat has a fantastic balance and a reflex to turn “right” when it falls. Despite this, the cat can injure itself really badly if it falls from a high height. If the cat stays alone on a balcony that is more than five meters above the ground, the balcony must be equipped with nets or something else that prevents the cat from falling down and injuring itself. (Swedish Board of Agriculture) Also remember not to leave windows wide open if you live high up and leave the cat alone in a room. It can be good to secure the cat at home.
2. Cats and dogs do not get along
Dogs and cats that get used to each other as little ones usually get along very well and can become really good friends. However, it is easier to introduce a puppy if you already have an adult cat than the other way around. Read more about the interaction between dog and cat.
3. Cats have nine lives
Cats are generally resilient animals, but they do not always survive. It also becomes more difficult for them to cope with all the “new” dangers that modern society exposes them to, plants we have in the home, electronics, poorer feed, traffic. Even wild animals can be a danger.
All cats – even so-called stable cats – must have supervision and care from their owner at least a couple of times a day. Cats do better on their own than most of our other pets, but all abandoned domestic cats often face a sad fate. Many of the domestic cats we have are breeds from other countries with warmer climates, so many cats, for example, cannot survive the winter in Sweden.
4. Cats are insidious and erratic
If you are not used to spending time with cats, it can be easy to miss the subtle signals that the cat shows. When you know how the cat’s body language works, it becomes clearer what the cat “says”. For example, a cat wagging its tail is not happy, but rather quite annoyed. If you miss the signals (or ignore them) it can come as an unpleasant surprise when the cat attacks, seemingly for no reason.
5. Cats can not be raised
With patience and consistency, it is possible to raise cats as well. Rewards are more effective than punishments. Ignore the cat when it does wrong and encourage it when it does right. With, for example, clicker training and good sweets, you can work with positive reinforcement of different behaviors and get quite far.
6. The best toy for a cat is a ball of yarn
There is a great risk that a cat that plays with the ball of yarn will also swallow yarn, and this yarn can get stuck in the intestinal system and cause problems that in the worst case require emergency surgery. Another risk with yarn is that the cat spins into the yarn and restricts the blood supply to one or more body parts. There are many other toys that are more suitable for activating the cat.
7. Cats can eat just about anything
Cats are carnivores and feel best from a diet that consists largely of meat. They have difficulty absorbing nutrients from vegetables.
Cats can also not live on dog food because cats and dogs have different nutritional needs. Dog food, for example, lacks the necessary substance taurine for cats, so a diet on dog food can make the cat blind. High quality food adapted for the cat is a good choice.
It is also a myth that cats should drink milk. Cats’ intestinal systems are not made to drink cow’s milk and cats are lactose intolerant.
It is therefore inappropriate to give the cat milk. There are many who give the cat milk that it drinks with joy without noticing any problems, but cats do not always show reactions to slight discomfort. Cats should drink water to become thirsty.
Another myth is that cats “feel” what is toxic. They have no extra sense to feel if, for example, a plant is poisonous.
The cat eats what it thinks smells good, whether it is useful or life-threatening. We have made a summary of poisonous plants.