DEBUNKED Three common cat myths
Pets Corner

DEBUNKED: Three common cat myths

THINK you know cats? Think again. We separate fact from fiction and debunk three common moggy myths…

  1. Cats are unloving, if you want a loving pet get a dog

Perhaps the greatest debate of modern times is whether dogs or cats make better pets and one argument on the side of dogs is that cats are unloving.

Domestic cats are, by their nature, more independent than domestic dogs – in part because they weren’t bred to spend a lot of time around humans and also because the wild ancestors of our house felines don’t live naturally in the same sort of family groups that canines do.

A recent study by the University of Lincoln found that cats don’t show signs of distress when their owners leave and aren’t particularly bothered when their owner returns to them.

But, as anyone who’s come home from a hard day’s graft to have their cat jump on to their lap for a fuss will testify, cats do show affection towards their owners and many do like to be stroked and patted.

Purring is surely evidence enough that…

  1. All cats hate water

Most domestic moggies are not big fans of water, but anyone who’s ever Googled cat videos will know that not all of them hate getting wet.

Scientists think the reason most cats hate water could be because cats’ coats don’t dry very quickly, which can leave them feeling pretty uncomfortable and possibly cold. The weight of the water is also likely to weigh the usually-agile animal down, which means they can’t escape perceived danger as quickly. Another reason is that cats’ original descendants evolved in desert areas, where the land is baron and has very little rain, if any at all.

Some people spray water at cats in an attempt to get them to stop doing something. Imagine how you’d feel if someone suddenly sprayed water in your face and you should begin to understand why cats don’t like it.

If you do need to bathe your cat for medical reasons, use a little bit of positive encouragement such as a favourite treat while gently introducing them to the water.

  1. Will rubbing butter on a cat’s paws help it find its way home?

Rubbing butter on cats’ paws is often given as advice when someone moves house and is letting their moggy outside for the first time – but this is entirely untrue and can cause more stress for your cat. The theory behind this myth is that it removes the smell of the feline’s old environment and allows the cat to take in its new home and get a bearing of its territory when licking off the butter. But, in reality, the smell will remain on the rest of the cat and it’s unlikely they’ll be taking in any new scents at all if it’s concentrating on licking off the butter. Instead, it could potentially make your cat even more stressed, as well as leaving greasy paw prints all over your new home.

A much better way of familiarising your cat with its new home and making sure it returns, is to keep it indoors for two weeks so it knows that the new house is safe. It’s also a good idea to start letting your cat out before feeding time and going out with them – and avoiding doing this at night. Also make sure your pet is microchipped so even if it does get lost, there’s a high chance of you being reunited with it.

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