This was originally written by Michele C. Hollow. I have found these to be very true.
Cats don’t have nine lives—even though cat lovers wish they did—and dogs are not color blind. A lot of falsehoods about cats and dogs are often mistakenly accepted as facts. Here are the top 10 myths about our pets.
1. Cats always land on their feet.
Yes, cats are agile. They can jump high and twist their bodies like grand acrobats, often landing feet first. But cats falling from great heights—even if they land feet first—can suffer severe injuries or death. Keep your cats safe by making sure that all windows have secure screens.
2. Cats are aloof.
Cats may seem aloof, but they can also be cuddly and extremely sensitive to your moods. An aloof cat is often a nervous cat that is unsure of his surroundings. Fortunately, that behavior can be solved with patience and kindness. We have to earn their trust. Once we’ve gained that trust, we will have a friend for life.
3. Declawing a cat is akin to trimming his nails.
Declawing involves the amputation of the last bone of each toe. It is a painful operation, and many veterinarians refuse to do it. Plus, if your cat goes outdoors, he’ll be defenseless. Clip your cats’ nails; don’t declaw them. Teach your cat to use a scratching post, not the sofa, and praise him each time he does. If he attempts to scratch the furniture, gently spray him with water. You can also put bubble wrap around the area your cat wants to scratch. One or two pops will keep him away from the furniture.
4. Cats can live on a vegan diet.
This myth is dangerous. Cats are natural hunters and carnivores. They rely on taurine, an amino acid found in meat that is essential for normal heart muscle function and vision. A taurine-free diet can result in blindness and heart problems.
5. Cats can’t be trained.
At the ASPCA in New York City, a cat was taught to turn pages of a book and to toss a ball. You can teach your cat to use a scratching post and a litter box. You can even teach your cat tricks. You need a clicker, treats, and lots of praise. Cats respond negatively to punishment. So be positive and patient.
6. A female cat or dog needs to have a litter before it is spayed.
Belief in this major misconception brings more cats and dogs into an overcrowded world. Spaying reduces risks of mammary gland tumors and ovarian and uterine cancers. It also helps cats and dogs live longer healthier lives.
7. Dogs wag their tails when they’re happy.
Okay, this is partially true. A wagging tail usually means a dog is happy. But it can also mean that the dog is agitated, tense, frightened, or feeling aggressive. To understand your dog’s mood, you must look at the whole package. Are his ears upright, or pointed back and low to his head? Upright means he is listening. Low to his head means he may be ready to attack. You should never approach a dog you don’t know without asking his owner if the dog is friendly.
8. Letting your dog out alone in the yard is enough exercise.
Ever spy on a dog left alone in a yard? Chances are high that he will just lie down and go to sleep. Dogs need you to interact with them, to throw them a ball, and to take them on long walks.
9. A dry nose means a dog is ill.
Many of us believe that a cool wet nose on a dog means the dog is healthy, and that a dry nose means he’s sick. Not true! A dry nose can be caused by poor air circulation in a room, or even just by the dog sitting in the sun. A dog’s nose can change from dry to wet and back to dry several times a day.
10. Using food to train a dog results in an overweight dog.
Dogs respond well to rewards and praise. The trick is not to overfeed your dog. Take a small handful of the food from your dog’s daily diet—about 10-15 pieces of dry food—and give him one small piece for each task he completes. If you choose to give your dog a treat instead, break that treat into halves or quarters, and give him one small piece each time he accomplishes the task. As much as dogs like food, they like spending time with you even more. So each time your dog (or cat) looks at you with those soulful eyes, give him attention instead of food. He will be a healthier and happier pet.
Michele C. Hollow writes the pet and wildlife blog Pet News and Views. She is the author of The Everything Guide to Working with Animals. She also writes about interiors and travel for DIYNetwork, Family Circle, and the New York Daily News.