This week we decided to investigate the common myths about dogs and cats to see what was true or not. I must admit that I have believed a few of them in the past so we’ll see what ones have caught you out too.
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Top Ten Myths About Dogs And Cats
1. Dogs wag their tails when they are happy
Not always. There are a number of reasons why dogs wag their tails. The height position of the tail is key to understanding a dog’s body language. A middle height loose tail wag indicates a friendly and relaxed dog. A low tail wag could indicate a submissive or slightly anxious dog. A rapid wagging tail that’s high up or vertical means the dog is alert and could be demonstrating threatening or dominant behaviour.
2. Cats always land on their feet
Not always true. Cats do instinctively try to land on their feet as they have flexible agile bodies which allow them to adjust themselves during a fall, but if a cat is sick, disorientated, injured or surprised, it’s less likely that they will be able to reposition their bodies mid fall to land feet first.
3. You can’t teach an old dog new tricks
Not true in the slightest! Dogs of all ages are always ready to learn and thrive on it. The myth probably came about from people who found it difficult to train older rescue dogs who had no previous training. Of course puppies are easier to train as they haven’t had a chance to begin bad habits, but older dogs are just as willing and capable.
4. Cats have 9 lives
This age old myth has no truth obviously, as cats are not immortal! The 9 lives theory comes from a cat’s ability to escape tricky and dangerous situations that may cause death to other animals. There are many reports of cats surviving long periods when trapped somewhere without food or water. In some cultures, the myth is that cats have seven lives. But either way, cats are resilient intelligent creatures who just so happen to be a bit lucky as well!
5. Dogs are colour blind
It is widely believed that dogs can only see in black and white. However this is simply a myth. Dogs can see in colour, just not as vividly as humans. Their vision is akin to ours at sunset.
Veterinarians have determined that dogs see like humans who have red/green colour blindness. As a result dogs cannot easily distinguish between some shades such as green, yellow and red but colour is one of the many stimuli that dogs can detect in their environment.
6. Milk is good for cats
Many people believe giving their cat cows milk is a good thing. In actual fact, many cats are lactose intolerant and have difficulty digesting it. Apparently it also has no nutritional value for them.
7. If a dog’s nose is warm or dry, it means they’re sick
Many people believe that if a dog has a cold wet nose, they are healthy and if the nose is dry and warm they are ill. This is not the case; a dry or warm nose has no association with a dog’s health. If a dog has a dry nose, it simply means they have a dry nose. Focus on any unusual signs or behaviours as an indication that a dog is unwell.
8. Pregnant women can’t live with cats
Many women are medically advised to get rid of their cat for the health and safety of their unborn child. This misunderstanding is based on a parasitic disease called toxoplasmosis, which can be transmitted to a pregnant woman and could possibly be dangerous to the fetus. However women are actually more at risk of contracting it through the handling of raw or undercooked meat than by handling their cat.
Cats are exposed to this parasite through ingestion of live prey and this can then be passed to a human through the feces during the process of cleaning the litter box. However, if your cat lives indoors and is not exposed to any live food then you should be ok.
However it’s best to take precautions anyway whilst pregnant. Get someone else to clean out the litter, or if you are doing it yourself, wear disposable gloves and wash your hands thoroughly with anti-bacterial soap.
9. Dogs like being patted on the top of the head
Most people are likely to give a dog affection by patting them on the top of their head. However dogs usually don’t enjoy this. They find quick movement on the top of the head as a display of dominance on your behalf.
It can also come across as aggressive or threatening which may result in the dog reacting with a growl or bite. Dogs prefer to see the hand that pets them so usually a scratch behind the ears or on the chest or belly is best.
10. Black cats are bad luck
This is simply a superstition, just as walking under a ladder or breaking a mirror is believed to bring bad luck. Other cultures around the world have different beliefs of what is lucky or unlucky.
However, it is interesting to note that one study conducted on patients with allergies and asthma revealed that those who owned dark coloured cats were nearly four times more likely to suffer an allergy attack than those with light coloured cats. Researchers believe that dark cats produce slightly more allergen in their skin and saliva.
So there you have it, some of the most common myths and beliefs explained. Which ones did you or do you believe? Let us know!