Cat-astrophic Myths Debunked: What Science Says About Cats

By Julia Brown | Published on 2022-12-30

If you're a cat lover, you've probably heard a lot of rumors about these furry creatures. Perhaps you've been told that they're aloof, untrainable, or even dangerous - but what does science say about these claims? In this article, we're taking a closer look at some of the most common cat myths and exploring the real science behind them. From their impact on mental health to their hunting abilities, we'll delve into the fascinating world of cats and discover the truth behind some of the most persistent misconceptions about these fascinating creatures. So, if you're ready to separate fact from fiction when it comes to felines, let's get started!

A close-up image of a black and white cat with its head tilted to the side, looking directly at the camera with its bright green eyes. The cat appears content and curious, with its ears perked up and its mouth slightly open

Why Cats Always Land on Their Feet

Why Cats Always Land on Their Feet: Cats are known for their remarkable ability to right themselves in midair when they fall, and to land on their feet no matter how high up they are. This amazing skill has fascinated humans for centuries, leading to the development of many different myths and legends about how cats are able to achieve this feat. One popular myth about cats landing on their feet is that they have the power to bend space and time around them, allowing them to slow down their fall and turn their body in the air. However, this explanation is not accurate. The real answer lies in a combination of physics and biology, and is based on the cat's remarkable ability to detect changes in its body position and adjust its movements accordingly. The key to the cat's ability to land on its feet lies in its spine, which is incredibly flexible and allows the cat to twist and contort its body in midair. This flexibility means that the cat can quickly adjust its body position to ensure that its feet are always pointed downwards. Additionally, cats have a highly developed inner ear, which allows them to detect changes in their orientation and make quick, precise movements to right themselves. This means that even if a cat is falling from a great height, it can still manage to land safely on its feet.

Do Cats Really Have Nine Lives?

Do Cats Really Have Nine Lives? We have all heard the phrase "cats have nine lives," but where did this myth originate? This belief has its roots in ancient Egyptian mythology, where cats were believed to be sacred and possessed supernatural powers. In the Middle Ages, cats were associated with witchcraft, and people believed that they could cheat death. But what does science say about this popular myth? Firstly, it is essential to clarify that cats only have one life, just like any other animal. The reason behind this myth is most likely due to a cat's behavior and physical ability to escape dangerous situations. Cats are agile creatures with excellent reflexes, and they can quickly twist and turn their bodies to land safely on their feet in a fall. Moreover, cats are skilled at hiding, which makes them unsusceptible to predators. However, cats are not invincible, and they are prone to accidents and injuries just like any other animal. They can suffer from diseases and infections that can lead to their demise. Therefore, it's crucial for cat owners to provide a safe environment for their pets and ensure that they get regular veterinary checkups to maintain their health and wellbeing. While cats may be incredibly resilient, they certainly don't have nine lives.

The Truth About Cats and Milk

Section 3: The Truth About Cats and Milk It's a common misconception that cats love milk. From cartoons to movies, we've been shown time and again that cats and milk are inseparable. However, the truth is that most cats are actually lactose intolerant. As kittens, cats produce lactase, an enzyme that helps digest lactose, the sugar found in milk. But as they mature, many cats become lactose intolerant, just like some humans. Feeding a cat milk can cause a range of digestive problems, including diarrhea, vomiting, and dehydration. In fact, consuming milk products can also lead to serious health issues like pancreatitis, liver failure, and malnutrition. As a pet owner, it's essential to understand that milk isn't a natural part of a cat's diet and should not be given to them as a treat. Instead, focus on providing them with a nutrient-rich diet formulated specifically for their dietary needs. While the idea of giving your furry friend a bowl of milk may seem like a nice gesture, it's important to remember that it's not a healthy option for their sensitive digestive system. So next time you want to treat your cat, choose safer, healthier options that they will love just as much, such as tuna or chicken. Always remember that keeping your cat healthy and happy should be a top priority, and avoiding milk can go a long way in achieving that goal.

The Lowdown on Hairballs: Myth or Reality?

Section 4: The Lowdown on Hairballs: Myth or Reality? One of the most common myths about cats is the idea that hairballs are an inevitable part of owning one. The truth is, hairballs aren't actually a necessary or healthy part of a cat's life. When cats groom themselves, they naturally swallow some of their fur. Usually, this fur passes through their digestive system without incident. However, if a cat's digestive system is struggling to pass the fur, it can build up and form a hairball. While hairballs are not a myth, the idea that they're a normal part of a cat's life is not entirely true. Some cats are more susceptible to hairballs than others, especially those with long hair or those that groom excessively. However, hairballs can also be a sign of an underlying health issue, such as gastrointestinal problems or allergies. It's important to monitor your cat's hairball situation and consult with a veterinarian if you notice any unusual or persistent symptoms.

Dispelling Common Myths About Cat Behavior

Dispelling Common Myths About Cat Behavior Cats have gained a reputation for being aloof and independent, but in reality, they are social creatures. Contrary to popular belief, cats can form strong bonds with their owners and other pets. These bonds are built through positive interactions, such as playtime, grooming, and cuddling. In fact, studies have shown that cats can experience separation anxiety when left alone for extended periods of time. Another common myth is that all cats are hunters by nature and should be allowed to roam freely outdoors. While it is true that cats have an innate instinct to hunt, domesticated cats do not need to hunt for survival. In fact, outdoor cats are often responsible for killing birds, rodents, and other small animals, which can have a negative impact on wildlife populations. Indoor cats can still satisfy their hunting instincts through toys and interactive play. Additionally, indoor cats are less likely to be exposed to infectious diseases and injuries from fights with other animals.

Are Black Cats Really Bad Luck?

For centuries, black cats have been associated with bad luck, superstition, and witchcraft. In fact, despite their striking and beautiful appearance, black cats remain one of the most misunderstood and mistreated animals in the world. While most people today know that black cats don't actually bring bad luck, there remains a strong belief in certain cultures that they are cursed. But is it really true that black cats bring misfortune or any form of ill luck? Science says no. In fact, black cats are just as adorable, friendly, and loving as any other cats. While certain cultures might still hold onto outdated beliefs, there is no scientific evidence to support any claims that black cats bring bad luck. In fact, some cultures even celebrate black cats as symbols of good fortune and prosperity. Overall, it's safe to say that black cats are just as wonderful and deserving of love as any other cats, and it's high time we debunked this superstition once and for all. Despite their ongoing reputation as bearers of bad luck, black cats are just as deserving of love and care as any other pets. In fact, owning a black cat can make for a wonderful and rewarding experience for any pet owner. Rather than fearing black cats, we should educate ourselves and others about the true nature of these beautiful animals. Through compassion and understanding, we can help dispel harmful superstitions and myths, and create a better world for both black cats and ourselves alike.

The Science Behind a Cat's Purr

A cat's purr is one of the most soothing sounds in the animal kingdom. Not only is it pleasant to hear, but it's also been associated with a number of health benefits such as lowered blood pressure, stress reduction, and improved sleep quality. But what exactly creates this gentle rumbling in their throats? The science behind purring is fascinating. It's not just one single mechanism; rather, it's a complex interplay between the vibration of the vocal cords, the contraction of the laryngeal muscles, and the movement of air in the respiratory system. When a cat exhales, the air vibrates the muscles surrounding the larynx, causing the vocal cords to vibrate as well. This movement creates a resonant frequency that produces the sound we know as a purr. Interestingly, scientists have also discovered that cats can purr not just when they're happy or content, but also when they're in pain or distress, suggesting that the act of purring may have some healing properties for them as well. In addition to its potential health benefits for cats themselves, a cat's purr is also thought to have a positive effect on their human companions. Studies have shown that listening to a cat's purr can produce feelings of calm and relaxation in people, and may even help with certain medical conditions like depression and anxiety. So next time you hear your furry friend purring away, take a moment to appreciate the complex mechanics at work behind this soothing sound.

Debunking Beliefs About Cat Allergies

Section 8: Debunking Beliefs About Cat Allergies One common misconception about cats is that they are highly allergenic and can cause severe allergies in humans. But what does science say about this? According to a study published in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, approximately 10% of the US population is allergic to cats. However, not all cat breeds are equally allergenic. Some breeds, such as the Siberian and Balinese, produce significantly less of the allergen protein Fel d 1, making them hypoallergenic. In fact, some studies have even suggested that owning a hypoallergenic cat can actually decrease the chances of developing allergies in children. Another myth surrounding cat allergies is that hairless cats, such as the Sphynx, are completely hypoallergenic. However, this is not entirely true. While hairless cats produce less of the Fel d 1 protein, they still produce it and can cause allergies in some people. Additionally, the lack of hair may actually exacerbate allergies, as dander can accumulate on the skin rather than being trapped in the fur. Ultimately, it is important for individuals with allergies to consult with a doctor and test their tolerance to specific cat breeds before bringing a cat into their home.

The Surprising Facts About Catnip.

In popular culture, catnip is often associated with erratic behavior and blissful euphoria in cats. Many cat owners use it as a treat for their feline friends or for its supposed calming effects. However, the scientific truth about catnip is more complex than commonly believed. Catnip, also known as Nepeta cataria, is a type of plant in the mint family. The plant contains a chemical compound called nepetalactone, which triggers a response in cats' olfactory system. When cats smell the compound, it stimulates their brain and can cause a range of reactions, from head shaking and licking to rubbing and rolling around. However, not all cats are affected by catnip - it is estimated that only about two-thirds of cats have a genetic predisposition to react to the compound. Additionally, while catnip may seem to have a calming effect on some cats, the opposite reaction is possible in others. Some cats may become agitated or aggressive after exposure to catnip. Furthermore, overuse of catnip can lead to desensitization, decreasing its effectiveness over time. In short, while catnip can be a fun treat for some cats, it is not a universal experience and should be used in moderation.


In conclusion, cats have been the subject of many myths throughout history. However, as evidenced by scientific research, many of these myths are nothing more than that – myths. From their supposed ability to steal a baby's breath to their alleged lack of loyalty and affection, cats have been given a bad rap. But science tells us a different story. Cats are loving and loyal creatures, who form deep bonds with their owners. They are not mystical creatures with supernatural powers, and they do not pose a threat to our health and wellbeing. It's time we set aside these cat-astrophic myths and embrace these wonderful animals for who they truly are – loyal, loving, and endlessly entertaining.