Tried and tested things does not always last the longest. This is also the case with various outdated statements about cats, as well as outmoded assumptions about how cats can or should be raised. Here we take a close look at old-fashioned “wisdom” about cats and correct it according to the latest knowledge. So that you can raise your cat in a species-appropriate and loving way.
From old to new: 10 myths about cats
1: Cats are loners
Rumour: Cats are loners.
Fact: Cats are very social animals. Although some of them enjoy a special position within their family and usually prefer to hunt alone, many cats need and love the presence of their play and cuddle companions. However, this does not mean that we humans cannot be an adequate substitute for some. If the cat gets enough attention and care from its humans, a second pet is not always necessary. This depends entirely on the cat in question.
2: Cats need little attention and activity
Rumour: You often hear this sentence: “I don’t have enough time for a dog, so I’ll get a cat, it’s low maintenance.” Many people believe that cats need much less activity, care and attention than dogs.
Fact: Cats are usually more independent than dogs, but that doesn’t mean you have to spend little to no time with them.
On the contrary, chronically underchallenged cats are prone to behavioural problems and depressive moods. If you can’t regularly spend time with your pet, you should reconsider the right pet. Even a second cat is not enough, because each cat needs your attention. In principle, this means double the work with the advantage that the cats can play and cuddle with each other (provided they get along). If you have less time, a pet sitter is recommended.
3: Milk is part of a healthy cat diet
Rumour: Milk is healthy for cats. A daily bowl contributes to a balanced diet.
Fact: Cow’s milk in particular is not suitable for cats, as cats are lactose intolerant, especially in adulthood (from the time of weaning). Kittens still have the enzyme (lactase) with which they can digest cow’s milk, but even they should not drink cow’s milk if possible. Many get diarrhoea from it. If you still want to give your cat milk, make sure it is a special lactose-free cat milk. However, cat milk is a high-calorie snack that should be offered very rarely.
4: Purring is always a sign of well-being.
Rumour: When a cat purrs, it feels good all around.
Fact: Purring can not only express general well-being, cats also purr to stimulate their own healing process, for example. The vibrations in the body can alleviate various complaints, such as pain or general discomfort. Purring can also have a calming effect if the cat is afraid or under a lot of stress. So always pay attention to the situation in order to interpret the purring correctly.
5: Dipping the cat’s nose in the urine
Rumour: If the cat relieves itself in unwanted places in the flat, it is recommended to press its nose into the urine to stop the behaviour.
Fact: Not only is sticking the nose in the urine cruel and not in accordance with animal welfare, but your pet could become very afraid of you and start to do his business secretly. If a mess happens, try to get rid of it without making a fuss. This way your kitten will not learn to get attention for this behaviour. You should also find out the reasons for the uncleanliness, which can be many and varied.
6: Educating cats is not worth it
Rumour: You can’t train cats. Signals like sit, come and bring are only for dogs.
Fact: A rather persistent rumour refers to the teachability of cats. They are not only extremely intelligent animals, but also very curious and willing to learn. With a lot of patience, consistency paired with a lot of praise and love, cats are quite trainable. Most house cats appreciate the change and are eager to learn and enjoy the training.
Tip: Clicker training
7: All cats from animal shelters are pre-damaged.
Rumour: Adopting an adult animal from a shelter is difficult because these cats all have behavioural and character disorders.
Fact: Unfortunately, this misconception is still firmly anchored in many people’s minds and animal shelters are sometimes bursting at the seams for this reason. Not every kitten from a shelter or similar has automatically had bad experiences or is severely traumatised. Of course there are individual cases where this unfortunately is the case, but there are so many adorable and charming cats who more than deserve a permanent place in a loving family. By the way, cats who have had a hard time in their lives so far can also regain confidence and blossom all around with a lot of patience and love. Adopt, don’t Shop!
8: All cats are afraid of water
Rumour: Cats only like water in their drinking bowl or fountain. Getting wet is a horror for every cat.
Fact: Some cats do avoid water and don’t like getting wet at all. However, this does not apply to all cats. Some of them are true water lovers by nature and love to play with water or even go swimming. According to the Animal Husbandry Ordinance, Bengals, for example, must have a water basin at their disposal.
9: Cat and dog are always rivals
Rumour: Dogs and cats have different body language, so friendship is out of the question.
Fact: It is true that dogs and cats communicate with their fellow species in different ways. Nevertheless, an intimate friendship between the two animal species cannot be ruled out. Rather, time and patience are important to get to know each other, to learn to interpret each other and to develop an understanding for each other. Whether they understand each other depends on many factors, such as whether they have ever met the other species, what experiences have been made, whether there are possibilities for retreat, but also on their character and much more. There are countless examples where dogs and cats are inseparable and true animal friendships have developed.
10: Indoor cats are unhappy
Rumour: All cats need outdoor access to nature.
Fact: You can’t generally say that an indoor-only cat is unhappy because it is denied outdoor access. Cats are creatures of habit who prefer a familiar daily structure. If the cat has been used to going outside, it will probably miss it if it is suddenly not allowed to. For indoor-only cats, they need to be exercised both mentally and physically on a regular basis, and to a greater extent than outdoor cats. If all the cat’s needs are otherwise met in a species-appropriate way, your cuddly tiger will be happy and content.
Modern cat training
In modern and above all non-violent cat training, positive reinforcement is the main training method. The cat should understand what we want from it and be encouraged in its strengths. It is clear that violence and suppression in cat training must finally be a thing of the past. Only in this way is a harmonious coexistence possible.
Unfortunately, certain misconceptions about cats and how to train them are still deeply rooted in some people’s minds. Such myths do not do justice to the cat. Fortunately, we humans are questioning our actions more and more and often disproving outdated ways of thinking. So don’t believe everything you hear about cat training and get informed. Cheers to our beloved cats.