Cat myths that could be harmful

Cat myths abound, possibly because of their innate self-reliance and resilience they’re often misunderstood. Understanding cat behaviour, and a cat’s needs, are essential if your cat is to live a healthy and happy life.

Cat myths abound but they can be harmful to your cat’s health

Myth #1

Cats don’t need company. Not true. Though some people believe cats are happy being left alone for several days while their owners go away, cats actually like company.

Myth #2

Cats just need food, water, litter and a place to sleep. Yes, and no. As important as these resources are, where you put them are equally important to a cat.  Food should never be placed near water or a litter box, and a litter box should never be in a busy traffic area. Cats like to toilet in peace and quiet.

Myth #3

I know when my cat is sick. Maybe not. Cats evolved to hunt and feed themselves independent from others and because this required travelling in potentially unsafe areas and becoming prey for other predators, cats are superb at hiding vulnerability that accompanies illness. In fact, by the time a cat shows signs of subtle sickness, it’s likely to have been ill for some time. It’s important that cat owners learn to recognise these understated cues so they can get their cats to the vet.

Myth #4

Declawing doesn’t hurt a cat. Absolutely not true. Not only is recovery from this procedure extremely painful but the pain haunts your cat for its entire life. Cats without claws suffer unnatural alignment and musculoskeletal compensation. The nerves that are cut and damaged during surgery cause chronic neuropathic pain. The EberVet Petcare Group and its clinics will not declaw a cat.

Myth #5

Indoor cats don’t need to be vaccinated. Indoor cats need to be vaccinated as often as cats that go outside. The same is true for deworming, external parasite control and regular checkups at the vet. While your cat may not be free range, he may come into contact with other cats on a balcony, during a vet visit, while boarding at the kennels or visiting the neighbour down the passage. These all present ideal opportunities for diseases.

Myth #6

Pregnant women should get get rid of their cats. Not true. People claim that pregnant women are at higher risk of contracting toxoplasmosis, a disease passed on by the Toxoplasma gondii parasite, one of the world’s most common parasites. Infection usually occurs by eating undercooked contaminated meat, exposure from infected cat faeces, or mother-to-child transmission during pregnancy. However, even if you have to scoop the litter, simply washing your hands afterwards will eliminate the risk of infection. For more on pregnancy and cat ownership click here to read what our vet moms have to say…hat-vet-moms-say/ ‎

Myth #7

Cats only eat as much as they need. Nope. Like humans, cats may continue to eat when stressed, or bored. Feeding puzzles/devices are better suited for feeding cats as they engage cats’ innate curiosity. Foraging is harder work than simply eating from constantly filled bowls. Ask an EberVet Vetshop for help in sourcing puzzle bowls. Obesity is a real risk with cats so watch their diets carefully.

Myth #8

Cats need milk. Not true. In fact, many cats develop an intolerance to lactose as they age and suffer gastrointestinal upsets.