Busting Common 10 Cat Myths


Dr Vivek Arora
There was a time when people, especially in India, didn’t like keeping cats as pets. The millennial generation is happy to keep cats as pets and shower them with love and affection. But there are so many myths about cats. So let’s debunk 10 Common Cat Myths.
1. Milk is good for cats: This myth has been going on for ages. We’ve all seen cats lapping up milk in cartoons and movies. The fact is that cat’s system lacks enzymes required for breakdown of complex carbohydrates. Feeding milk to cats can cause gastrointestinal disturbance and adverse food reactions. So, it’s best to avoid giving them milk.
2. Indoor cats cannot get diseases: Don’t we all fear injections? Cats do so too! It is believed that indoor cats cannot get diseases. Most cat diseases are viral in nature and can spread through air. Humans can also act as carriers for cat diseases, so indoor cats can also get diseases.
3. Cats ‘purr’ when happy: ‘Purring’ is the first sound a cat makes; in fact many pet parents would’ve heard mother and kitten purring together. On most occasions purring is a sign of satisfaction, but it can also depict fear and pain. So if a cat is purring and wagging her tail, she might not be in a pleasant mood.
4. Pregnant women cannot live with cats: There are certain infections that can be transmitted from cats to humans. ‘Toxoplasmosis’ is one such infection. Maintaining basic hygiene can prevent such outbreak, so this is just a myth. Ensure basic hygiene like washing hands after handling cats, use gloves and mask while cleaning their litter box, and there shouldn’t be any problem.
5. Cats always land on their feet: Cats have an excellent sense of height and can adjust very well to balance themselves. However, if they land in a wrong position, they can hurt their leg and spine. Injury subjected is inversely proportional to height, as they experience maximum damage when falling from a low height. Most times feline vestibular and vision coordination doesn’t get enough time to land safely.
6. Painkillers for children can be given to cats: This myth may prove fatal for your beloved pet. Always keep in mind that any medication should be given under veterinary supervision only.
7. Cats and loners: Cats are introverts. In the wild, big cats hunt for preys alone. But in urban life they’ve modified their behaviour. Cats love to live in a family and domesticated cats can be great pets and gel well with dogs and kids as well.
8. Female cats should give birth before being spayed: A lot of pet parents like to rear his/her pet’s family. Scientifically, if a cat is spayed before first heat cycle, chances of uterine infections and mammary gland tumor diminish considerably. Also possibility of cats picking up fights also goes down immensely when they are spayed.
9. Cats cannot be trained: Well, they are one of the sharpest mammals and are of course trainable. ‘Clicker training’ is common videos online and cats show amazing response to all types of training.
10. Garlic will help get rid of worms in cats: Garlic is toxic for cats. Feeding garlic to cats can cause anemia. They are highly prone to tapeworms which can be transmitted to humans too, thus, cats should be dewormed but only under veterinary guidance.
(Dr Vivek Arora is from Dr Gandhi’s Pet Hospital, a veterinary surgery clinic in East of Kailash, New Delhi)