Cats have always been considered as mystical, magical creatures and over time there have been many stories and myths associated with our lovely feline friends. Some of these tales might well be true whereas others are definitely not and this includes one which tells of cats boasting nine lives. Below are a few myths you might have heard about cats which need to be "de-mystified".
Cats actually have one life just like the rest of us. They may get into trouble and survive but this has nothing to do with having more than one life. If a cat gets ill, they still need to go to the vet. However, if well taken care of, fed a good quality, well balanced diet and go for annual check-ups with the vet, cats can live to a ripe old age, happily living out their lives in comfort, purring away contentedly as only cats tend to do.
For a long time people have believed that trimming a cat's whiskers will stop them from wandering off because without these precious "guidance tools" a feline loses all sense of balance and are unable to judge distances and gaps. In fact, cats do use their whiskers to "feel" their way around but they have nothing to do with how cats maintain their balance. The other thing to bear in mind is that cats use their whiskers to display their moods. You should never trim or cut a cat's whiskers – ever! The one part of their body that does help with balance is the tail!
With cats, it can sometimes be hard to judge whether this is indeed true or not. A cat will flick their tails when something has upset them. However, they swish their tales from side to side and can often be seen to do this when sitting on a windowsill watching birds which are just outside and out of reach! Cats boast having quite complex body language and can be quite vocal about things too much like people, so it really is a question of getting to know a cat and understanding what it all means so you can build up a really strong bond with your pet.
You may have seen a cartoon or two with a cute little cat lapping away at a saucer of fresh human milk and this has led you to believe that not only does it make a lovely picture but that it's perfectly okay to give a cat human milk. The truth is that although offering some milk will not kill a cat, many of our feline friends tend to be lactose-intolerant which means they end up suffering from a real tummy upset accompanied by a bad bout of diarrhoea. It is far better to buy some good quality cat milk that's been specifically formulated for cats!
A lot of people think that by adding garlic to their cat's food, it will help get rid of pesky intestinal worms. However, garlic as well as onions and any similar root vegetables of the onion family contain something called N-propyl disulphide. This substance is really bad for cats because it destroys their red blood cells which means they can end up suffering from anaemia which is known as a condition called Heinz body anaemia. Although garlic contains a lesser amount of this substance than onions, it is never a good idea to put any garlic in a cat's food!
Because cats tend to be such independent characters, many people think they don't need to be exercised. However, cats need to be given both mental and physical exercise to stay happy and healthy. Indoor cats in particular, need to be given lots of mental stimulation and exercise otherwise they could end up far too overweight and extremely bored which in turn means they could end up developing some unwanted behavioural problems.
If the truth be known, nobody not even vets or animal gurus really know why cats and other animals like to eat grass occasionally. Studies, however, have shown that they might just enjoy eating it! However, if you notice your moggy is consuming vast amounts of grass on a daily basis, then you should take them along to the vet for a check-up and to make sure nothing untoward is going on!
You may think that brushing a cat's teeth on a regular basis is totally ridiculous. However, not only will you not have to put up with your pet's bad breath, but you could well prevent some nasty oral diseases taking hold which could damage your pet's teeth and gums. With this said, if you own an older cat and have never brushed their teeth, it might be a good idea to find another option which includes offering your pet some healthy chewy treats that help keep their teeth in good condition. You should also discuss things with your vet or you may find you end up being bitten or scratched when you try to brush their teeth!
There are many myths about cats which is hardly surprising because they are magical, mystical creatures that have captured people's imaginations since the time of the ancient Egyptians. Our feline friends are a joy to be around so understanding what is fact and fiction about them, means owners can understand their feline companions a whole lot better!