There are so many myths and superstitions about cats that we hear from friends, family and others, but is there any truth to them? Are cats really reincarnated witches spreading bad luck that have nine lives? Here’s a closer look at seven feline fabrications we hear most often.
1. Cats will lose their sense of balance if they didn’t have whiskers.
Not true, says Animal Planet. Cats use their whiskers for navigation, moods and figuring out if they can squeeze under the sofa by peeking their heads through first. Whiskers are not required for balance, but removing or cutting them can affect these other senses as well as be painful since they are located in an area of the face that is rich in nerves and blood vessels.
2. Cats always land on their feet.
Also not true, cats mostly land on their feet because of their bone structure and having the ability to manipulate their body quickly (cats also have no collar bone). Cats can still land awkwardly and suffer injuries (especially from greater heights), and the video below gives an example of a cat landing gone awry.
3. Black cats are bad luck.
This particular myth depends on how much you believe in superstitions. Centuries ago black cats were thought to be witches because they were most active at night. They have been believed to cause bad luck, contain reincarnated witches in feline form or do evil biddings for their witch owners. Whether you should be worried if a black cat crosses your path also depends on where you live: Some European countries believe a black cat crossing your path is good luck, while most Americans view it as bad luck. Evidence to substantially support a black cat as anything more than a cat that happens to be the color black is lacking, and we mark this myth as false.
4. Cats have nine lives.
Cats are amazing for their ability to make impossible leaps and jumps, survive falls and maneuver in ways we didn’t think possible. What is true is that once a cat dies, it’s definitely not coming back for eight more turns. I have experienced a near miss before and thought that would be my end, so I guess the same could be said about humans — but I’m not willing to try that theory out just yet.
5. Male cats pee everywhere.
My own male cat can defy this myth; he only “goes” in his litter box and nowhere else. While male cats get accused of being the guilty pee party, any cat can spray urine to mark territory, according to the ASPCA. Neutering can lessen or eliminate spraying if this is a problem, and it comes with other benefits such as reducing the risk for testicular cancer, injury and disease transmission.
6. Cats hate water.
Many do, but this is not true for all cats, and this little kitty video says it all.
7. Putting a bell on your cat’s collar will warn outdoor animals of impending danger.
The bell can toll all day and night, but it won’t make a bit of difference, and bird organizations agree. Birds and other animals don’t have an instinct for associating bells with imminent danger, and cats can learn to move quietly even with the bell. Instead of saving the birds or small animals outside, you might create a super stealth of a predator. Use other means of reducing your cat’s attack habits with fencing, restricted outdoor access or other means.
What myths do you think still ring true today? Tell us in a comment below.
Photo: Photo Extremist/Flickr