- Did you know that most of the cats are lactose intolerant and can develop diarrhoea from milk? Here are some common cat myths busted.
Love feeding milk to your neighbourhood cat? You should probably stop because unlike the general perception, most cats are at risk of developing digestive issues upon drinking milk and it must be given to them as a rare treat. There are common myths such as these that people think to be true and on International Cat Day (August 8), it is time to stop believing them.
Many people regard cats as bad omen and superstitions abound in the minds of people.
People believe that cats enjoy their own company and are only concerned about their food but studies prove that’s not the case and the feline beauties feel attached to their owners and even have separation anxiety. Many people feel that cats cannot be trained, again experts say it is very much possible and they can be trained using positive techniques.
International Cat Day is the perfect opportunity to debunk myths around these lovable pets.
• Nocturnal instincts: As against the common myth, cats are not nocturnal. In fact, studies have shown that cats are crepuscular, which implies that they are usually more active at dawn and dusk. So, if you have a cat which is nocturnal, that is just a behavioural pattern and you might need to shift their schedule and manage their environment to ensure it fits into yours.
• Cats are loners: Like dogs, cats can get anxious and stressed by separation. In fact, separation anxiety in cats can be noticeable in behaviours like defecation outside of the litter box, excessive grooming, vomiting etc. As a pet parent, it is your responsibility to ensure your cat is happy and at ease, and provide it with enough stimulation and interaction to keep it occupied.
• It’s weird to walk a cat: No, absolutely not. It all depends on your cat. More and more people nowadays are walking their cats. Of course, cat leashes and harness are different from those of a dog, to ensure their safety and comfort. You can start slow and be observant of your cat’s body language to know if they like or dislike being on a leash.
• No whiskers, no balance: One of the most popular myths about cats is linked to their whiskers. Many people think that if you cut the whiskers of a cat, it would make them lose their balance. While one should never trim or cut a cat’s whisker, the whiskers are ‘feeler’ that guide the cat through daily functions. These sensory organs provide help cats navigate through environments much like the antennae on insects.
• Indoor cats can do without vets: Cats which stay indoor most of their lives can also be exposed to diseases like heartworm when they come in contact with mosquitoes, rodents or insects. The only way to ensure that your pet is healthy is to take them for regular wellness check-ups and keep their vaccinations up to date.
• Cats always land on their feet: When cats jump from considerable height, something called the “high-rise syndrome” kicks in, which means that they can rotate their head to look at the ground and spiral the rest of the body. However, this life saving manoeuvre may not kick in if the cat does not get enough distance to grasp the fall. So, a fall from the dresser can be more injurious than a fall from a two-story building.
• Milk is good for cats: You might not know this but most cats are lactose intolerant and can develop diarrhoea from milk. In fact, kittens in the wild do not have access to milk once they have weaned off. So, look at alternatives to milk if you must and check with your vet for the best possible diet for your feline.
• A happy cat always purr: Purring does mean a satisfied cat but it can also mean that they are nervous or injured. Purring is a cat’s way of communicating and it is up to the pet owner to understand the situation and environment that has resulted in the purring. Like dogs, body language in cats is important to note. The same gesture can mean different things, depending on the situation.
• Cats cannot be trained: Every animal can be trained with positive reinforcement. While cats naturally take to cat litter boxes, you can teach them things by rewarding them in a positive manner. Cats are intelligent beings and with positive training techniques like toys, treats, love and patience, they can be trained to play fetch, enter a cat carrier on command or even present their paws for nail trims.