There are many misconceptions and prejudices directed towards cats. Many of them are not true, while others are simply misguided. Let's break them down.
Misconception #1: cats always fall on their feet
The idea that cats always land on their feet is unfortunately wrong. In fact it turns out that falling is the main cause of death in felines. Although they tend to be able to right themselves as they fall to land on their feet, cat falls are much more common than we might think. The ability of a cat to orient itself as it falls is called the ‘cat righting reflex’. However, a poorly controlled fall can be fatal for the animal. It is also possible for a cat to injure itself despite landing on its feet.
Misconception #2: cats are solitary animals
It is true that cats need time to themselves; to rest and be calm, to regenerate. However, cats also don’t like being left alone for long periods. Cats often need a lot of human interaction, whether that’s in the form of a quiet moment together or something a little more active such as a game. A cat’s character is largely influenced by the interactions and experiences it has grown up with; some cats will be accustomed to human interaction from birth while others will prefer more time in the company of themselves.
Misconception #3: cats purr only when they are happy
Thanks to purring, cats can express a feeling of well-being and general contentedness. However, purring in cats can also reflect stress, fear, and also pain. The mother cat will teach its kittens to purr as a form of communication and to appease them. It is not uncommon to see a cat purring in the face of an uncomfortable situation, such as when face-to-face with another cat.
Misconception #4: cat hair causes allergies
Contrary to what a lot of people think, it is not cat hair that makes us allergic to them but in fact a specific protein found in their saliva and dead skin cells. This protein, called Fel d 1, is spread from cats to humans in the day-to-day lives and movements of the animal. Whilst dead skin cells fall naturally from cats, a cat’s regular cleaning routine also spreads the protein in the saliva over its fur. Coupled with natural hair loss, the millions of microscopic proteins literally falling off a cat become almost entirely inescapable to humans placed in a cat’s environment.
Misconception #5: cats do not like dogs
The relationship between a cat and a dog depends on the environments in which both animals grew up. It also differs according to the character of your animal. Certain cats will be more likely to share in games with dogs, while others will be more reluctant. There is no hard and fast rule here.
Misconception #6: cats wee in revenge for being punished
This statement is false. A sudden change in behaviour and uncleanliness can mean your cat is dealing with a health or training problem. It’s important to remember that cats mark their territory through their urine, especially if they feel the need to delimit their territory against other cats. Some cats with urinary problems may even have been removed too soon from their mothers or not have received suitable toilet training.
What other cat misconceptions do you know of?