Top 12 Myths About Cats

Dispelling and Clarifying Commonly Held Misconceptions About Cats

You may find yourself surprised when you learn that many of the "facts" you've heard about cats are not really true. Don't fall for these myths and misconceptions about cats.This list addresses the most common of those myths and states the true facts about each misconception.

  • 01 of 12

    Myth: Cats Are Low Maintenance Pets

    NatalieShuttleworth / Getty Images

    Cats' aura of independence fools some people into thinking they need only minimal care. The truth is that the average age of

    , and their overall longevity is proof that cats require responsible care to thrive.

  • 02 of 12

    Myth: Declawing is Like Trimming Nails

    Cat's getting a claw trim
    Rafael Elias / Getty Images

    Declawing is actually the surgical amputation of the first joint of each toe of the cat, a procedure which is viewed as mutilation by advocates. See my declaw resources for more information.

    Fortunately, there are many Humane Alternatives to Declawing, such as routinely trimming cats' claws.

  • 03 of 12

    Myth: Cats Can Thrive on a Vegan Diet

    Side View Of Cat Smelling Watermelon
    Amalie Pirani / EyeEm / Getty Images

    Fact: Some people who choose a vegan lifestyle also subject their cats to a meatless diet. By and large, veterinarians disagree with this practice, because cats are obligate carnivores and need animal tissue, e.g. meat, to meet their dietary needs. The fact is, cats do not have a "moral sense" where it comes to their nutritional needs. It is morally wrong to try to force them into an unnatural diet to satisfy our own moral convictions.

    See also Vegan Cats Dialogue, and let your own conscience guide you.

  • 04 of 12

    Myth: Cats Are Unhappy Kept Indoors

    White cat looking through window of French door.
    Melissa Ross / Getty Images

    While an

    at being kept inside, cats that grow up indoors, even in apartments, can be very happy, as long as they are provided with plenty of toys,

    for those times when you (or your cat) want him to be outdoors for fresh air and sunshine.

    Continue to 5 of 12 below.
  • 05 of 12

    Myth: Cats Don't Need Vaccinations

    vet and cat
    elenaleonova / Getty Images

    The scare about VAS (Vaccine Associated Sarcoma) a few years ago has made some people reluctant to allow their cats to have any vaccinations. The VAS Task Force has listed certain vaccines as

    , and almost all cats should receive them. Cats who routinely roam outdoors should also receive both the

    ) vaccine. The latter two are now given in the hind legs, with killed virus, as called for by the Association of Feline Practitioners' protocol.

  • 06 of 12

    Myth: Neutered Male Cats Have More UTIs

    Cute tabby cat with hipster moustache
    Volanthevist / Getty Images

    Although one study found that

    found the greatest risk for certain uroliths (crystals)is the 10 to 15 year old neutered male cat. When measured against the many risks of leaving male cats whole, neutering is still the better choice.

  • 07 of 12

    Myth: Female Cats Need a Litter Before Spaying

    Germany, Cat nursing kittens, close up
    Westend61 / Getty Images

    A cat can suffer more harm through pregnancy than she can by being spayed. The truth is that some people just want kittens, and will use any excuse. Spaying will prevent uterine cancer, and help prevent mammary cancer, ovarian cysts, as well as complications of pregnancy, including stillbirth and malformed kittens. Need I even mention the overwhelming cat


  • 08 of 12

    Myth: Cats Only Have to See the Vet Once a Year

    Portrait of cat sitting on table at vet clinic
    Julia Christe / Getty Images

    Fact: Depending on their age, physical condition, and known medical problems, most cats will need to see their veterinarian several times each year, including urgent or emergercy care visits. It is important to know when to call the vet for your cat.

    Continue to 9 of 12 below.
  • 09 of 12

    Myth: Pregnant Women Should Not Have Cats

    Pregnant woman in bed with her cat
    Buena Vista Images / Getty Images

    Fact: Toxoplasmosis is a zoonotic disease that can cause birth defects if contracted by the mother during pregnancy. It is found in soil outdoors, and also in raw or undercooked meat (the most likely source of contact.) It can also be found in cat litter boxes if the cat has been exposed. The truth is that you absolutely don't have to get rid of the cat. Our Guide to Miscarriage has also written an excellent article about cats, toxoplasmosis, and human miscarriage. Also read Toxoplasmosis: Not Just for Pregnant People for more info.

  • 10 of 12

    Myth: Cats Always Land on Their Feet

    Jumping Kitten
    Akimasa Harada / Getty Images

    Cats usually do land on their feet after a fall, however not always without injuries. Although cats can survive a long fall (the unofficial record in New York City is 18 stories), it behooves us to watch out for open windows, as cats can incur severe injuries while landing on their feet.

    Strangely enough, some of the most serious injuries occur in a fall from 10 to 12 feet. Learn how cats manage to land on their feet, and why shorter falls might be more conducive to injuries.

  • 11 of 12

    Myth: Cats and Dogs are Arch-Enemies

    Dog and cat
    Kimberlee Reimer / Getty Images

    Cats are capable of affectionate relationships with dogs as well as other family pets. The link to the Cats and Their Pets Picture Gallery is visual proof of this attachment to other species.

    Cats are capable of affectionate relationships with dogs as well as other family pets. The link to the Cats and Their Pets Picture Gallery is visual proof of this attachment to other species.

  • 12 of 12

    Myth: Cats are Cold and Aloof, Therefore Not Good Pets

    Woman cuddling with cat
    Westend61 / Getty Images

    Cats can and do share deep bonds with their human families, which is why most of us consider them family members, as opposed to just "pets." Cats do not exclude non-family members from their circle either, as witness the many

    that give love and comfort to patients in hospitals, and convalescent homes. Cats are indeed very loving creatures, and their bond with us is so strong that it extends beyond death!