Since their emergence around the time of the ancient Egyptians (or maybe earlier, studies suggest), cats and myths have gone hand-in-hand. Indeed, no other pet is as intimately linked with myth, legend, superstition, and folklore as the cat. Perhaps it’s their beautiful and graceful way of moving, or their killer instincts, or the fact that, although they live together with humans, cats have retained most of the genes and mannerisms of their wild cousins.

Whatever the reason, cat myths abound in cultures around the world, and while many of them have a base in reality, most are just plain false. The Pet Experts at Elmhurst Animal Care Center have done our research and are excited to share with you the most common misconceptions about our beautiful feline friends.

Cat Myths Debunked

Some cat myths, such as cats have nine lives or cats steal the breath of babies, are obviously false. Unfortunately, many remain firmly rooted in our ideas about these secretive creatures. Let’s explore some of the common misconceptions about cats:

  • Cats purr when they’re happy – Although cats often do purr when they are happy or relaxed, not all purring is created equal. A cat might also purr due to pain or illness.
  • Cats hate water – Your cat probably doesn’t appreciate being dunked in the bath, but many cats and kittens find running water fascinating.
  • Cats can’t balance without their whiskers – Cutting off a cat’s whiskers is never advisable, but it won’t lead to a loss of balance. Whiskers are important for navigation, sensing their environment, and for communication with other cats.
  • Cats always land on their feet – A cat’s unique bone structure and superior vision allow it to right itself during a fall (most of the time). Cats can, and often do, land awkwardly and suffer injuries from falling.
  • Cats can see in the dark – Although cats cannot see in complete darkness, their eyes are much better adapted to seeing at lower levels of light than ours.
  • A bell on a cat’s collar will keep prey animals safe – Studies show that birds, mice, and other prey animals do not associate bells with danger. Play it safe and keep Fluffy indoors.
  • Cats are nocturnal – It may seem as though Kitty is up all night, but in reality cats are crepuscular, meaning they are active at dawn and dusk. Most cats, however, will adapt to your routine.
  • Cats are loners – While cats live and hunt alone in the wild, they can form strong bonds with their human family members and with other pets in the home. Cats rely heavily on us for companionship, play, and mental stimulation.

For questions about other cat myths or your sweet kitty, please contact the friendly staff at The Pet Experts at Elmhurst Animal Care Center.