Cats are one of the most popular pets in South Africa; they are intelligent, affectionate. mysterious little creatures. Despite this popularity — and perhaps because of their air of mystery — there are many misconceptions about the feline species like Cats steals a baby’s breath. Here is the 5 most common myths about cats.

1. Cats are solitary animals and like to be home alone.

False

Separation can be stressful for cats. In fact the cat brain is very similar to humans. According to researchers at Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine, the physical structure of the brains of humans and cats is very similar. The human brain and the cat brain both have cerebral cortices with similar lobes. The regions that has to do with feelings and emotion are exactly identical to that of humans.

I see this in both Bubbles and Meow Meow each time I leave them for prolonged periods of time due to either work or other activities that requires me to be away from home. I can see this when they feel anxious when I leave the house and overly excited when I return. It’s something we are working on and keeping a close eye on.

Separation anxiety may manifest in behaviors such as urination and defecation outside of the litter box, vocalization, vomiting, excessive grooming, lack of appetite, anxiety at departure or an exuberant greeting when you return.

To keep your cat happy, it essential to limit their time alone and provide them with stimulation and interaction in the form of play, petting, food toys and perches. If you have an extremely stressed cat, it’s essential to make an appointment with your veterinarian to further address the problem.

2. Cats only purrrrr when they are happy.

False 

Cats may also pur when they are going through stress or even if they are experience something intense or even if they are in pain. Now you may think but how do I tell the difference? Well context and body language will be the key here in other words you know your cat (Your suppose to) so you should be able to tell when lil’meow is happy and purring with affectionate feelings and when lil’meow is purring due to anxiety or pain. Here is a good read on WebMD  about why cats purr.

3. Cat whiskers are just for aesthetics really.

False

Whiskers are your cat’s eyes and ears in the dark and sensors in the day they are extremely sensitive. The whiskers are so sensitive they can aid the cat in detecting changes in air currents. This ability helps the cat navigate in a dark environment. Your cat uses her whiskers in the dark in the same way you would hold out your arms so your fingers could feel for objects.

They are often used by a cat to judge size thus if your cat is overweight then you will often see him get stuck and looking all confused because they are designed by nature to fit through anything if their whiskers fits through it. When a cat pokes his or her head into an opening, she’s not only looking around in there, she’s doing a whisker check to see if she can fit.

4. Cats Steal a Baby’s Breath

What? (False)

When doing some research for this blog post I came accross this “myth” a few times it has variants like cats steals the souls of babies or cats eat baby breath?

While a cat could accidentally suffocate a sleeping baby by cozying up too close to its face, experts agree it’s highly unlikely a cat would smother an infant on purpose. Reports of cat-caused infant deaths are scarce, so how did this tale become so common?

One case from 300 years ago may have given this tale all the oomph it needed to reach its current scare level. In the Annual Register, a publication that records the year’s interesting events, there is an entry for Jan. 25, 1791: “A child of eighteen months old was found dead near Plymouth; and it appeared, on the coroner’s inquest, that the child died in consequence of a cat sucking its breath, thereby occasioning a strangulation.” Coroner knows best, so it must be true, right?

Adding to this report is the fact that cats have long been thought of as the familiars of witches, so if parents (or even coroners) found an infant dead with a cat nearby, the cat was automatically blamed for the incident.

5. Pregnant women should not own cats.

True

Some cats can be infected with a disease called toxoplasmosis, which occasionally can be spread to humans through cat litter boxes and cause serious problems in unborn babies. However, these problems can be controlled, if the expectant mother avoids contact with the litter box and assigns daily cleaning to a friend or other family member.