General Debunking Myths & Misconceptions About Cats


There are quite a few myths about cats floating around–most are harmless, but there are some that all cat owners should know aren’t true.

  • Cats always land on their feet.

It’s not true! Cats don’t always land on their feet, although they do most of the time.

Cats have a vestibular apparatus inside their ear that allows the cat to determine which way is up and turn their body the correct way in a matter of milliseconds. The shorter the fall, the less time the cat has to prepare for the landing.

  • Cats should drink milk.

Most cats are actually lactose intolerant and shouldn’t drink milk.

It’s believed that the myth started on farms when barn cats were seen lapping away at bowls of fresh milk, and the reason behind this is the cats liked the cream (which contains less lactose than milk) that rose to the top of the milk before homogenization.

  • Black cats are unlucky.

Believe it or not, black cats are actually considered to be lucky and a symbol of wealth and prosperity in Japan.

In ancient Egypt, black cats were treasured because of the goddess Bastet which is represented as a being with a human body and a black cat’s head.

Sadly enough, black cats are often associated with witches and sorcery in modern European and American culture.

No cat is unlucky or luckier than another.

  • Cats meow to communicate with each other.

I still find this hard to believe, but cats use meowing as an attempt to communicate with us humans and not other cats–with an expectation of kittens meowing at their mothers when they’re young.

Adult cats use tail signals, hissing, and sometimes yowling to communicate with each other.

  • Cats only purr when they’re happy.

Cats do purr when they’re happy, but also when in pain, stressed, or even hungry!

  • Cats can’t/don’t like to swim.

It’s true: most cats don’t like to swim, although they can if needed.

Most cats don’t like to get wet, much less swim. Believe it or not, some cats actually enjoy swimming! Like the Turkish Van–nicknamed the swimming cat–who loves swimming and playing in water.

  • Pregnant women can’t live with cats.

Pregnant women can safely live with cats, although they shouldn’t clean or change out the litterbox for risk of contracting Toxoplasmosis.

  • Cats don’t like people or being touched.

Cats aren’t quite like dogs (with the exception of guard dogs and chihuahuas) in the sense that they’ll immediately fall in love with any and everyone they see. Most cats are a bit weary of strangers, but once they get to know you, you’ll be their best friend!

Cats like affection from their owners as long as it’s on their terms.

Works Cited​

“Black Cats Are Lucky!” vftafoundation, are,Goddess of fertility, and childbirth.

“Do Cats Always Land on Their Feet?” Purina, balancing,their ability to land safely.

Painter, Stacy, “Mythbuster: Can Cats Drink Milk,” healthypaws, 11 Jan 2020,

Wolfe, Kerry, “12 Misconceptions About Cats,” Mental Floss, 20 June 2022,

Image by Iveta via Pixabay