Facts and Fallacies about cats
I have been noticing some disturbing "facts" being put out lately on Pets about cats. Some are/can be life threatening. I do not want people who know next to nothing about raising cats to come here looking for info and believe these "facts" so would like to create a thread to help that.
'Cats fend for themselves'
Some cats are good hunters and virtually self-sufficient. Others are clueless; their instincts blunted by domestication and selective breeding. Some cats have difficulty hunting because of their physique (e.g. the flattened face and small mouth of a Persian). Made to fend for themselves, cats may scavenge and eat bone splinters or stray a considerable distance seeking food. Strays picked up by animal control may be destroyed if unclaimed or unadopted after a period of time. If you choose to own a cat, you must be committed to providing food and care.
'Hungry cats hunt better'
Some cats are kept as mousers and their owners believe that cats become 'soft' if fed. A hungry farm-cat hunts only enough to feed itself, while one that receives food hunts for 'sport' and catches prey more frequently. Many cats are hopeless hunters, hungry or not. If you don't want the cat to be a hunter, redirect its instincts into play. If you are choosing a kitten, choose one where the mother cat doesn't hunt - the kitten will probably inherit her non-hunting tendencies.
'Cats can live on dog food'
Dog food doesn't contain the right vitamins for cats. Feeding a cat exclusively on dog food will eventually lead to ill-health, blindness and death. Cats may enjoy robbing the dog's bowl, but this should never form their staple diet.
'Cats can be vegetarian'
Cats need the nutrients provided by meat. Dogs and humans can digest carbohydrates; cats get their nourishment from proteins. Feeding it vegetables will lead to stunted growth, blindness and death. There are commercially prepared 'balanced' vegetarian diets for cats, but it is cruel to impose human morals on cats. If you are not prepared to give your cat a meat-based diet you are denying its basic rights and a cat is not the right pet for you (get a house-rabbit instead - similar size, can be housetrained and is vegetarian).
'Cats need milk'.
After weaning, kittens may lose the ability to digest milk. Adult cats on a balanced diet don't need milk and it can cause diarrhoea. There are lactose-reduced 'Cat Milks' available, but most cats are content to drink water.
'Cats only feel cupboard love'
Cats aren't always as demonstrative as dogs when it comes to showing their affections. Some do give cuddles a higher priority than the contents of their food bowl- proof that they do indeed love their owners and not just their owners' cupboards.
'Cats should be put outdoors at night'
Nowadays it may not be safe to put cats out at night. Late night motorists may not see the cat or may deliberately harm it. It may fall victim to cat-snatchers. Even in areas not subject to a curfew, it may be safer for cat and wildlife to keep Puss in at night. Although cats are almost nocturnal, they often adopt a diurnal lifestyle to match that of their owners (cats are not truly nocturnal - they are mostly active at dusk and dawn; the term for this is crepuscular).
Countries that ban declawing, such as Britain and Australia, do so due to animal rights activists trying to decrease pet ownership or because cats are kept as barn cats.
Nothing could be farther from the truth. Declawing is banned because it is unacceptable to the vast majority of cat owners. The cats maybe indoor-outdoor cats (needing claws as their main form of defence and for tree-climbing) or wholly indoor cats. Cat owners in these countries find it hard to comprehend how a "cosmetic" mutilation for the sake of the furniture can be considered humane in countries that permit it. Animal rights activists do not play any part in the anti-declaw sentiments. There is no strong lobby trying to decrease pet ownership in Britain where declawing is anathema to cat lovers. Indoor-outdoor cats are household pets, not barn-cats.
MYTHS & MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT SEX & REPRODUCTION
Cats breed through instinct not because they enjoy raising kittens. Unlike human parents, they don't sit down and plan pregnancies, nor do they carry prophylactics. With so many cats and kittens destroyed annually simply because there aren't enough homes to go round yet too many owners cling to the 'just one litter myth'.
'Having a litter will settle her down'
There is no truth in the myth that a cat will be more settled or more fulfilled through having kittens. Ask harassed human mothers whether having children has settled them down. A spayed cat will be a more playful, people-oriented pet and won't miss what she has never had.
'She's not strong enough to be spayed'
If the cat isn't strong enough to be operated on then she certainly isn't healthy enough to have kittens.
'I'd like the children to see her have kittens'
Such owners should then take the children to animal shelters or vet surgeries to see unwanted kittens being destroyed. Out of every 5 kittens born, probably only one is likely to find a permanent home. If the children want to see kittens, get them to help at an animal shelter where they can learn the true facts of life.
'I always find good homes for all the kittens'
Every kitten born means one less home for a cat. How many of those 'good homes' still have the cat 3 or 4 years later? How many are genuine good homes - or are the kittens destined for laboratory use, the fur trade or abuse?
'I can sell the kittens and use the money to pay for spaying'
It is more expensive to care for a pregnant cat and her kittens up to rehoming age than to pay for spay surgery. Pregnant and nursing cats need additional food. Kittens eat more than you may realise because they are growing fast. Moggy kittens are not profitable because they can be obtained for free from rescue shelters or as strays.
'I don't want to spoil their fun'.
Mating is short and painful, not fun. It's no fun producing up to 20 kittens a year. Constant kittening is debilitating and can shorten her life. Nor is it fun to fight for the right to mate; tomcats risk catching killer diseases such Feline Leukaemia or Feline AIDS through bite wounds. Wandering tomcats may be injured or killed on the roads as instinct, not fun, sends them in search of a mate.
'I enjoy my sex life s/he enjoys hers/his'
Sex = kittens. Cats do not have recreational sex. Cats don't have voluntary contraception. Stop being anthropomorphic. Hundreds of thousands of healthy cats and kittens are destroyed each year because they can't find homes. Population control by birth prevention is better than population control by disease, starvation or destruction of healthy animals.
'Altered/desexed cats get fat and lazy'.
Altering/desexing may keep cats from wandering far afield, but only bored, overfed cats get fat and lazy.
'Kittens make delightful gifts'.
Kittens are not toys that can be forgotten when the novelty wears off. Most were never truly wanted by the recipient in the first place. Hundreds of ill-considered gift kittens are put out with the trash each year. A cat should be a companion, not a gift machine.
'Males are friendlier'.
If the cat is desexed, its gender makes no difference. It's how you treat a cat that makes the difference. Some are naturally friendlier than others, regardless of gender.
MYTHS AND FALLACIES ABOUT CATS & HUMAN HEALTH
The cat is often blamed for health problems - they cause Toxoplasmosis, smother babies, attack children and cause allergies. While cats are not entirely blameless, such tales are fuel for those who try to perpetuate a dislike of cats.
'Cats give you Toxoplasmosis'.
European studies suggest that more people get Toxoplasmosis from undercooked meat, unpasteurised milk and garden dirt than from their cats. Precautions are simple - wear rubber gloves when handling soiled cat litter or when gardening, cook meat well, wash vegetables thoroughly and keep cats off of kitchen worksurfaces. Cases of babies affected by Toxoplasmosis during pregnancy get media coverage because, like serial murderers, they are rare. If you've had a cat most of your life, you've probably already had Toxoplasmosis without knowing it and should be immune.
"My baby is due so the cat must go".
Despite tales of cats smothering babies, cats dislike the smell of human breath and will generally stay away from a baby's face. In spite of all the myths, there is only one verified case of a cat smothering a baby - far fewer than the number of babies murdered by their parents. Cats see cots as cosy beds and babies as warm things to snuggle against. Sometimes a cat becomes quite protective of its human's 'kitten'! To keep the cat out of the cot or pram, fit a net cover (a fly-shield). Later on, move the cat's food bowl and its litter tray to places where the baby or toddler can't get to them.
'It's vicious - it scratched the toddler'.
What did the child do to provoke the cat? Cats usually ignore young children (people-kittens!) and tolerate a certain amount of being pulled about, but will scratch in self-defence if continually mauled. Most children get the message. Punishing the cat teaches children that it's okay for them to annoy it. When my niece complained that the cat scratched her, she was sent to her room 'for annoying the cat'. She is now grown up with cats - and children - of her own! (See Cats and Babies Can Coexist).
'You can get AIDS from cats'.
Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV or FAIDS) is spread from cat to cat by close contact such as mutual grooming and possibly by biting. Humans can't catch it any more than they can get Cat Flu. FIV has been cultivated in human cells in the laboratory - but it needed the help of scientists to do this. People who have HIV or poor immune systems are sometimes recommended not to keep cats or dogs because of other infection risks.
'I must be allergic to the cat'.
A surprising number of people (and their doctors) jump to this conclusion, rehoming the cat only to find that they are allergic to something else entirely. If possible, have tests to see if the cat really is the culprit. In the US, owners of indoor only cats can reduce their allergic reaction by giving the cat a monthly bath in distilled water to remove allergens from its coat. There are products available which can reduce allergic reaction if sprayed on the cat's coat.
'Asthma sufferers can't have cats'.
Severe asthma may be a barrier to cat ownership, though many sufferers of mild asthma own cats. Rather than using their inhaler when an asthma attack starts, they use the inhaler to prevent an attack. They also find it helpful to keep the cat out of the bedroom. Many children with childhood asthma will grow out of it because exposure to the cat strengthens their immune systems. Be careful of being over-protective of children, it causes problems in later life due to poor immune response.
'Hairless cats are hypo-allergenic.'
Relatively few people are allergic to cat hair itself. Most allergies are caused by proteins in cat dander (dandruff) which is made up of skin flakes and dried saliva from where a cat washes itself. Hairless cats and Rex cats (curly-haired cats) still produce dander which can trigger an allergic reaction. Some people have less symptoms with hairless cats or shorter haired cats (e.g. Siamese) because bare skin or short fur means less surface for dander to form on. Many other people are just as allergic to hairless or Rex cats as they are to cats with ordinary fur. Some people who are strongly allergic to longhaired cats but only mildly allergic to shorthaired cats because longhair traps more dander. Occasionally people are allergic to all cats except for one particular individual cat - either because that cat produces a different type of dander without the usual allergen or because the person has become desensitized to that particular cat's dander.
From - http://hubpages.com/hub/Panting-in-cats -
Although it is part of a dog’s nature, it is just not normal in cats
Panting in cats is very uncommon
Panting in cats is very uncommon and is something that should be taken very seriously. Although it is part of a dog’s nature, it is just not normal in cats. There may be an occasion when your cat may pant after an extensive play period, but that is also very rare.
In most cases when your cat does pant, they are either in stressful situation, very hot, or they are actually in distress from an underlying and potential life threatening condition.
Panting in cats in most situations will the result of overheating or when they have become extremely stressed by some type of a traumatic event. The panting that they will exhibit will be very rapid but also a very shallow form of respiration. A normal respiration in your cat should be between 20 to 30 breaths per minute.
This is a long article. Please check the website listed above for the continuing piece.....
Cats purr when they're happy.
Purring is one of the most special elements of a cat, as far as most humans are concerned. Caressing a purring pet has proven to relax the person doing the stroking and lower the blood pressure, too.
But careful observers of the cat know that purring isn't just a sound of contentment. Cats also purr if they're injured, while giving birth -- even when dying. British zoologist Desmond Morris has observed that purring is "a sign of friendship -- either when [the cat] is contented with a friend or when it is in need of friendship -- as with a cat in trouble." In other words, purring is sort of like smile: Sometimes you smile when you're happy, sometimes when you're hoping a smile will get you out of trouble.
Another site for more info on s/n:
There are many other sites available to learn how to properly care for these little angels. Please take some time to educate yourself. If something does not look/sound right it probably isn't.
Assumptions do nothing but make an ass out of u and me.
We can stick our heads in the sand for only so long before it starts choking us. Face it folks. The pet population is bad ALL OVER THE WORLD!
Last edited by 14+kitties; May 15th, 2010 at 02:54 PM.