Top 3 Cat Facts and Myths

Expert contributor

Nick Jones

Dog Behaviourist and
Dog Expert Witness
Expert contributor

Brian Faulkner

Veterinary Surgeon
RSVS Registered

As with many commonly accepted theories that turn out to be false, there is some grain of truth to these ‘facts’ but a lot of this information is not without its inaccuracies. If we want to give our cats the best chance at a healthy and happy lifestyle, then it’s important that we have all the facts available to us. With the help of Nick Jones, Pet Behaviourist and Brian Faulkner, Veterinary Expert, Petplan investigates some of the most common cat facts and myths, helping us find out the truth and get some advice from the experts.

Top Cat Facts and Myths

As we already looked at in our Top Dog Facts and Myths, we saw that there are plenty of facts that we take for granted and assume to be true when it comes to our dogs, and this is still very much true when talking about cats. Again, the problem often stems from phrases that we casually repeat without giving much thought to them.

“All cats hate water”

Do all cats hate water?

The idea that cats hate water is something that we’re often taught as children and has become an identifying characteristic of our feline friends.

While it’s certainly true that a lot of cats do not like water, as you may have found out by trying to give your cat a bath, this is very much down to the breed of cat you own. Some breeds actually have something of a fondness for water. In fact, Bengal cats, a breed from India, are more than happy to play with a running faucet and some enjoy water so much that if you’re the kind of person who likes to have a bath with the door open, then you shouldn’t be surprised if your cat decides to join you in the tub!

Of course, it’s best not to place your cat in water without first making sure they’re comfortable being around water and introducing them gradually if they seem receptive.

“Cats always land on their feet”

Do cats always land on their feet?

The fact that cats always land on their feet is a particularly prominent idea; not only do we think of this as something innate to cats but the phrase ‘always lands on their feet’ has taken on a life of its own to signify someone who is particularly adaptable and always ends up okay. But what about cats? They’re certainly very agile, renowned for their ninja-like abilities and sure-footedness but do they ALWAYS land on their feet?

While cats don’t have a 100% track record of landing on their feet, as is often assumed, they certainly come close, so this is still a myth but one with a lot of truth to it. The reason cats are able to land so well is because they can keep their head in a forward and upright position which allows the body to follow with ease, and because of this they nearly always land on their feet.

This ability is known as a ‘righting reflex’, as it allows them to easily put themselves the right way up from a very young age and is possible due to their incredibly flexible backbone.

“When cats purr, it means they are happy”

Do cats only purr when they’re happy?

The purr of a cat is one of the most soothing sounds that we can experience, the gentle hum and vibration certainly feels relaxing - and what’s more is that we typically hear this sound during a bit of one-on-one time with our kitty as we give them a stroke, an activity which they definitely enjoy. However, does this purring necessarily mean they’re happy? Or are there any other activities/moods that might make our pets purr in such a way?

Much like with our previous examples, this is true most of the time. While most happy cats will purr, just because a cat is purring it doesn’t always mean that they’re happy. Cats are prone to purring in quite a few scenarios and not all of them are pleasant. Seriously injured cats often purr which is believed to be the result of the cat trying to calm itself down, not dissimilar to how you or I might do breathing exercises to keep ourselves relaxed during stressful situations.

These are three of the most common cat myths in our society today, through which we can see how not understanding the full truth could lead to a few problems.

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