Common cat myths – your questions answered

Posted by Trixie. July 12th 2017. Tagged: Pet behaviour and Pet health

While the Loch Ness Monster and Bigfoot have always been popular myths, one mysterious creature that is very much real is the domestic cat.

With ever-changing tastes and temperament, you never really know where you stand when it comes to making your cat happy. Fortunately, we’re always on hand to help and we’ve got the answers to debunk the most common myths about cats.

Do cats drink cow’s milk?

Cats don’t need milk as they get all the nutrients they need from a balanced diet. Once cats are weaned from their mother’s milk, they can become lactose intolerant as they lose the ability to digest it. Unless they’ve been given milk on a regular basis their whole life, this can give them an upset stomach.

If you want to give your cat milk, it may be best to purchase a lactose-free equivalent, although you should bear in mind that milk contains calories and may lead to weight gain.

Kittens need to drink milk in order to survive, but only their mother’s or a formula specially-tailored to kittens, which can be purchased from a vet.

Will rubbing butter on my cat’s paws help it find its way home?

While many people give this advice to those moving to a new home with a cat, it’s only useful for getting greasy paw prints everywhere. The theory behind this myth is that it removes the smell of your old home. This then allows your cat to get a bearing of their new surroundings while licking off the butter. In reality, this would put your cat through a stressful process in a strange place and make them smell of butter.

To familiarise your cat in a new home, the best practice is to keep them indoors for two weeks until they’re comfortable with their new surroundings. When introducing them back into the outdoors, do it just before feeding time and go out with them – preferably during the daytime.

The most important thing to remember when moving house is to update your pet’s microchip, so if they do stray too far from home, there’s a higher chance that they’ll be returned home.

Do cats prefer to be alone?

By nature, cats are solitary animals. They see themselves as leader of the household, so having another cat in the house can cause tension. In a multiple cat household, give each feline their own sleeping area with bowls and a litter tray each. This will take away a lot of friction, as cats are territorial and don’t like to share.

However, domestic cats often form bonds with people and unlikely friendships with other cats and dogs. They can even develop separation anxiety if they’re away from their loved ones for a long period of time.

Are cats nocturnal?

It’s widely believed that cats are nocturnal animals, but this is untrue. Cats are crepuscular, which means that they are most active at dawn and dusk. This is because cats are natural hunters. Dawn and dusk are peak for hunting, with the right amount of light for them to see well.

To help to reverse these crepuscular tendencies, use toys to entice curiosity during the day and play with them in the evening before you go to bed.

Do cats always land on their feet?

This common saying about cats is that they always land on their feet, though this is completely untrue. Cats have extremely fast reflexes. This allows them to move quickly in the air to right themselves before they land, but this isn’t always successful. Many felines sustain injuries from high falls every year.

You can’t stop your cat from going out and climbing to high places. However, you can make your home safer by keeping upstairs windows closed or open just a small amount to avoid any accidents.

Do cats hate water?

While many domestic cats don’t enjoy a bath, it’s untrue that all cats hate water. Cats can find water fascinating, pawing at slow-flowing water such as taps and fountains and enjoying the fresh water source.

If you need to give your cat a bath, try enticing them in with treats. You can then gently introduce them to the water to get them used to it.

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