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13 of The Biggest Cat Myths Debunked - Part 1

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It's no secret that cats have long been the subject of folklore and myth. Whether it's the belief that black cats bring bad luck or that cats always land on their feet, there are countless misconceptions out there about our feline friends.

In this post, we're debunking twelve of the most common cat myths to help clear up any confusion. Read on to learn the truth about cats!

#1 Cats love milk

Contrary to popular belief, milk and cats don’t necessarily go hand in hand. As with humans, some cats share our inability to process the milk sugar known as lactose.

The only time a cat has enough of the enzyme lactase to adequately digest lactose is during infancy when nursing from its mother. Eventually, as they become older, they lose the ability to produce the lactase enzyme necessary to digest milk.

Milk isn’t suitable for cats even if some of them seem to appreciate it. Milk consumption has been linked to a variety of gastrointestinal problems, including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, weight gain or loss, abdomen pain and discomfort, and even behavioral changes, such as increased scratching.

Keep in mind that adult cats, as obligate carnivores, must survive on a meat-based diet. To sum up, the risks of giving your cat milk greatly outweigh any benefits you would get from doing so. If your cat loves and reacts well to milk, it should be administered less frequently as a treat than as a staple.

#2 Cats are nocturnal

Cats are crepuscular, meaning that they're active between dusk and dawn, and not nocturnal (active at night). Remember, wildcats, from whom domestic cats emerged, typically hunt at dawn or dusk. This explains why you often catch your furry friend sleeping during the day when temperatures are at their highest to conserve energy. And because they don't have to go hunting expeditions, they try to wake you up somewhere between dusk and dawn so you feed them.

On the other hand, cats are known to adapt to their owners' schedules, so if their person is home throughout the day, the cat may develop diurnal (daytime) inclinations and be more active then. Again, if you work at night and sleep during the days, the cat may also adopt a nocturnal schedule.

#3 Cats hate water

Although most cats don't enjoy getting wet, most cats don't hate water. In fact, cats who’ve had positive experiences around and in water, particularly during their early socializing stage (between 3 -16 weeks), generally prefer water. And there are even some cat breeds that seem to thrive when exposed to water.

#4 Cats see their owner as their mother

Cats don't perceive humans the same way they do their birth mothers meaning there’s no definitive indicator that your cat sees you as their mom.

Cats may totally be head over heels for you and try to show it using all the feline love languages, as a kitten would to its mother, but they’re also smart enough to know that you are not a cat.

#5 Pregnant women can't live with cats

The possibility of contracting toxoplasmosis, a parasite that is spread by cat feces, is behind this myth. If contracted during pregnancy, toxoplasmosis might result in either birth abnormalities or miscarriage.

Contrarily, living with cats during pregnancy is not necessarily dangerous. Taking precautions against toxoplasmosis, such as outsourcing pet care to relatives, is possible if necessary. To reduce the spread of disease, it is essential that the litter box be cleaned regularly using gloves. Expectant mothers should stay away from the litter box as much as possible.

Your cat is unlikely to have toxoplasmosis unless they have been exposed to toxoplasmosis cats, meat, or feces, or have spent excessive unsupervised time outdoors. As you can't be sure what your cat has been exposed to, it's best to have them tested, if you're worried about their health or your own during pregnancy.

PRO TIP: Don’t feed your cat raw meat, as this increases the chance of your cat catching the parasite that causes toxoplasmosis.

#6 Cats can see in complete darkness

To the same extent that humans can't see in complete darkness, neither can cats. While they can see in low light settings courtesy of a reflector system (tapetum lucidum) that allows them to see in what humans consider dark, they nevertheless cannot see in total darkness.

Wrapping up

We’ve dispelled a number of myths concerning felines. Given that cats are wonderful mysterious creatures with many incredible skills, some of the myths we’ve discussed today have a grain of truth to them. Our upcoming blog post will explore even more commonly held misconceptions about these extraordinary creatures. Stay tuned.

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