Top 12 Myths About Cats

Cute ginger cat lies on woman's hands. The fluffy pet comfortably settled to sleep or to play. Cute cozy background with place for text. Morning bedtime at home.
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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

    Cats Are Low-Maintenance

    Cat standing near person's feet
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    Cats have an aura of independence that fools some people into thinking they need only minimal care. The truth is that cats' overall longevity, when kept as pets, is proof that they require responsible care to thrive.

  • 02 of 12

    Declawing is Like Trimming Nails

    Cat getting a claw trim
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    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. Fortunately, there are many humane alternatives to declawing, such as routinely trimming cats' claws.

  • 03 of 12

    Cats Can Thrive on a Vegan Diet

    Side view of a cat smelling watermelon

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    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.

  • 04 of 12

    Cats Are Unhappy Kept Indoors

    White cat looking through window of French door
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    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 them to be outdoors for fresh air and sunshine.

    Continue to 5 of 12 below.
  • 05 of 12

    Cats Don't Need Vaccinations

    Vet giving a cat an injection
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    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 found that almost all cats should receive them. Cats who routinely roam outdoors should receive additional vaccines, so be sure to let your vat know about your cat's habits when you have a check-up.

  • 06 of 12

    Neutered Males Have More UTIs

    Tabby cat with photoshopped curly moustache
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    Although one study found that 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

    Females Should Have a Litter Before Spaying

    Cat nursing kittens
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    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.

  • 08 of 12

    Cats Only Have to See the Vet Once a Year

    Cat sitting on table at vet clinic
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    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 emergency care visits. It is important to know when to call the vet for your cat.

    Continue to 9 of 12 below.
  • 09 of 12

    Pregnant Women Should Not Have Cats

    Pregnant woman laying on a bed with her cat
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    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 if you are having a baby.

  • 10 of 12

    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

    Cats and Dogs Are Arch-Enemies

    Dog and cat
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    Cats are capable of affectionate relationships with dogs as well as other family pets. This photo is visual proof of cats' attachment to other species.

  • 12 of 12

    Cats Are Cold and Aloof

    Woman cuddling with cat
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    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!