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10 Common Cat Myths

Are Black Cats Lucky? Depends Where You Live.

September is Happy Healthy Cat Month!

So, you think you know cats? Maybe you do, but there are still very common myths that circulate. Here are the top 10:

1. Black cats are unlucky.

This one depends on your country. In Japan, you are lucky if a black cat crosses your path, but in Europe, they are thought to be bad luck. In Scotland, a black cat appearing at your door means money might be coming, while in China it could mean poverty will be knocking at the door.

2. Cats hate getting wet.

Hate is a strong word … cats more likely dislike water and that’s because their coats hold onto water and don’t dry quickly. But you can acclimate a cat to bathing with lots of treats and a gentle introduction.

3. Cats always land on their feet.

Cats do have a righting reflex that can help them land when falling from a short height. But if they fall from a higher height, such as a couple of stories or more, they will often suffer significant injury.

4. Cats are nocturnal.

Actually, cats are crepuscular, which means their times of highest activity are dusk and dawn. However, most cats do adapt to their human’s schedule – so if you’re a night owl, you’ll have a night cat sitting with you.

5. Cats can drink cows’ milk.

   Unless your cats have been continuously drinking milk since they were kittens, milk is a bad idea. Milk is high in calories so it can quickly help pack on the pounds. And, once weaned from milk, kittens/cats stop making the enzymes to help them digest milk and are lactose-intolerant – meaning milk can equal diarrhea.

6. Cats cannot be trained.

Well, this is and isn’t true. Cats can be trained, but it may take more effort and repetition that it does for a dog.

7. Indoor cats cannot get diseases.

This one is perhaps my favorite to bust because it’s totally not true. Indoor cats are safe from harm such as being hit by a car or tussling with a raccoon, but being indoors does not offer any protection against infectious diseases. Rather, you the human carry in germs on your clothing and cats are also exposed to airborne germs. Additionally, many diseases of cats are diseases of aging and/or obesity. So, get them checked out by their veterinarian at least annually.

8. Pregnant women should completely avoid cats.

Nope, not true. The primary concern is for the litterbox – so for the duration of your pregnancy, mom-to-be, you must avoid cleaning and handling of the litter and feces. But you can still snuggle your fur buddy any time.

9. If a cat eats grass, then they might be sick.

   Not true. Cats (and dogs) may just like to eat some fresh grass on occasion. So, get your kitty a little pot of yummy grass for nibbling.

10. Cats can eat table scraps.

   No, no and no!! Think of a little one-centimeter chunk of cheese – that doesn’t represent very many extra calories to you, but to a cat, that’s the equivalent of almost three chocolate bars. Too many empty calories and you will be changing your cat’s name to El Gordo.

Happy September – make sure to keep your cat/s healthy with exercise and play, a high-quality diet fed in the proper amounts twice daily and regular visits to your veterinarian.

Dr. Margot Vahrenwald is the owner of Park Hill Veterinary Medical Center at 2255 Oneida St. For more information,

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