Myths About Cats

Likely due to their mysterious and reserved personalities, many myths and partial truths have grown up around our feline companions. You may be surprised to learn that not everything you thought you knew about your cat is true! Below, a Vista veterinarian clears up the confusion.

Cats Purr When they’re Happy

This is only partially true. Cats can purr when happy or content, yes, but that’s not all that the vocalization signifies. Purring can in fact convey a wide variety of emotions, including anger, stress, or fear. The simple fact is that all cats are different, and some may use different sounds to mean different things.

Cats Always Land on Their Feet

Thanks to cats’ graceful, poised nature, many people think cats always land right-side up. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Cats, like any animal, can slip, trip, and fall. In fact, veterinary professionals have a name for injuries sustained when cats fall from windowsills or off of ledges: High-Rise syndrome. Shorter falls may pose an even greater risk, since cats may not have time to right themselves before impact.

Cats Love Milk

Cats might enjoy milk, but that doesn’t mean they should drink it. The vast majority of cats are actually lactose intolerant, meaning they don’t have the necessary enzymes in their digestive systems to digest milk. More than a few teaspoons of the white stuff is likely to cause diarrhea and vomiting. The only time in a cat’s life when they’ll need milk is while they’re being weaned. Once a cat grows up, milk is no longer necessary and is actually unhealthy.

All Cats Love Catnip

This isn’t true. Cats actually need a certain gene to feel anything at all from catnip. This gene can only be passed down from a cat’s parents, so if a cat doesn’t have it, there’s no way they’ll ever react to catnip. If you’ve sprinkled catnip around your feline friend and she doesn’t respond, don’t worry—there’s nothing wrong with her! She just doesn’t have the right gene in her blood to react to the herb.

Wondering what else you might believe about your cat that is only partially true, or completely false? If you have any questions about your cat’s behavior or health, don’t hesitate to call your Vista veterinarian’s office.