If there's one thing that everyone seems to know about me, it's that I have a never-ending love for felines big and small. My whole life, I've been around cats- from spending countless years fostering and caring for temporary house guests to welcoming in permanent pet kitties, I've had more than my fair share of time with them. In that time, I've come to learn a lot about the animal that is typically misunderstood by many.
Even when I bump into a fellow feline-lover, I usually end up hearing about common misconceptions that they have about cats. And to be honest, it's pretty understandable. As easy as it is to love a purring lump of fur, cats are by no means easy to read. Thankfully, over the years I've picked up some skills to help figure out what my feline friends are trying to tell me.
So, with October officially here (let's be honest, the only month that cats get the full attention they deserve, is spooky month) I figured that it would be nice to not only give them the props but also to help combat some of the common myths and misconceptions that people still have about them. And hopefully by the end of this article, I'll have convinced you that there is a lot more to cats than you may think!
1. Cats aren't jerks (well, not all of them)...
One of the most common myths that I come across when it comes to cats is that they're all jerks. And while I totally have been able to relate to that statement, it's not exactly a fair one. The truth is that many cats have the potential to be very friendly companions.
The most common reason for this misconception is that people aren't used to age-old their cats exhibit friendly behavior. Many times, cats are compared to dogs. And let's be real- no animal can compete with that kind of love. A lot of cats are perfectly happy with sitting near you rather than on you, and that's not because they don't like you- it's simply because they like their space.
That being said, it's not too difficult to find a kitty that will shower you with love. If you're willing to put time and effort into building trust, you'll most likely find that your cat actually likes to be pet (and yes, you CAN pet them more than exactly three times!)
2. Some cats DO like water!
Another thing that often comes up about cats is how much they dislike water. And while more often than not, your cat probably won't enjoy a bath, there are a few breeds that will! One breed of cat that is known for enjoying the water is the Turkish Van (pictured above.) Other breeds that often enjoy baths are Bengals, Maine Coons, and Turkish Angoras.
So if you're an owner who really loves the thought of owning a cat but really hates the thought of getting scratched during bath time, you might want to consider one of the lesser hydrophobic breeds!
3. Cats and dogs can be friends, too!
One fear that a lot of people have is that owning a cat means they can't own a dog, or that owning both will result in endless fights. The truth is that this isn't always the case- there are plenty of examples of cats and dogs getting along just fine, and in some cases, they're best friends!
In reality, whether or not a cat will get along with a dog depends entirely on both animals' disposition. It's true that some cats who haven't had a lot of exposure to dogs can be afraid or even aggressive around their canine siblings. But the more time a cat spends with a dog (assuming that they're in a safe and controlled environment), the more likely they are to warm up to them.
One way to boost the chances of a peaceful household is to make sure that your pets are introduced to each other properly. It's best to have your pets (no matter the species) in a controlled environment and to make sure that they always end on a good note. And if you really want to ensure a puppy-friendly cat, try to find a cat or kitten that grew up around dogs from a young age.
4. Cats purr when they're happy...but also when they're upset!
Most people associate cats with their signature purr. On top of that, most people associate purring with a happy kitty. In reality, cats can purr for many different reasons.
Aside from purring when happy or affectionate, cats often purr when they're upset, scared, or frustrated. You may find your cat purring while watching birds from a window- this is because it's frustrated that it can't get to the birds. This also means that a cat may purr when it's frustrated with you!
The best way to tell if a cat is truly purring because it's happy is to look for other signs. If their tail is twitching or their ears are back, it probably means that the cat isn't happy. So here's a warning- don't always assume that your kitty is purring because it's happy!
5. Black cats are NOT bad luck!
This is perhaps the saddest feline myth because it often leads to biased purchasing. As the proud owner of a super sweet black kitten, I can guarantee that black cats don't actually mean bad luck. In fact, based on all of the friendly black cats I've worked with, it means quite the opposite!
In truth, some of the nicest cats I've come across have been black cats. And unfortunately, most of the shelter or strays I've worked with were also black cats. It's pretty upsetting that a false belief has gotten in the way of so many adoptions, and especially with Halloween coming up, I want to set the record straight: BLACK CATS ARE NOT A SIGN OF BAD LUCK!
It's no secret that I am a person who is absolutely obsessed with cats. After having spent so many of my years working with and caring for them, it hard not to love their tiny noses or little toes. And while I refuse to take a side in the age-old argument of "cats vs. dogs," (please don't make me choose!) I can say this: why not both?
Some people are afraid to welcome kitties into their life because of inaccurate myths and misconceptions that have given them kitties everywhere bad rep, but it's important to remember that a lot of those stereotypes aren't true at all. In reality, there are a lot of wonderful qualities in cats that make them amazing companions to spend your days with.
Not only are cats friendly, but they're also very intelligent and amusing creatures to own. I mean seriously, have you ever seen a kitten playing with its own tail? And even if they aren't always the cuddliest pet, you can still enjoy playing with or simply bird-watching with them. And chances are, even the most independent cat will want pets at some point or another. Plus, who doesn't love the extra security to keep a watch out for mice and other unwelcome critters?
So, before you decide not to welcome a cat into your home based on what you've heard, be sure to do your research and fact-checking. I'm sure you'll find that felines are actually quite lovely to be around- especially when you can figure out exactly what they're trying to tell you!