Common Myths About Cats
"Who me? I've never even seen a witch."
Here is a collection of myths about cats. Some of these have a history of hundreds of years, while others are quite new.
As time goes on, of course, these tales often change, and their origins forgotten.
This means that not only do some of these have multiple stories surrounding them, you may have different versions of their history.
These have often been republished as authentic in various publications over the years.
Over many years, the cat has played many roles. Felines have been considered omens of good fortune, as well as symbols of bad luck, too.
The cat went from being protector of the grain supply, to being worshiped as a god, and on to becoming a symbol of witches and the devil. Some cats were put to death just based on their color.
Today in the US, cats are more popular as pets than dogs. As popular and well-loved as they are, urban legends, misunderstandings, myths about cats still exist.
- The Feral Cat Myth
Cats are very independent, as we know. As cat lovers, we feel this is one of their most attractive qualities. We also know, however, that cats are a part of the family, and have much capacity to love and be loved.
It's plainly obvious that the house cat retains its hunting instinct, and many are excellent mousers. This has led to the myth that your garden variety domestic cat can be abandoned and will survive without issue.
While said to be descended from African wild cats, the domestic cats of today are best suited to being protected house cats, rather than outside hunting for their supper. It's been estimated by Alley Cat Allies that if you add up the population of cats in the feral cat colonies in many urban areas in the US, they rival the estimated 82 million house cats kept as pets.
- The Maternity Myth
There's another myth that says that having kittens is good for a female cat. There is, however, no supporting medical evidence for this. In fact, having kittens increases the risk for certain feline health problems. A cat will mellow with maturity, regardless of whether or not they have kittens.
- The Altering Myth
Having a cat spayed or neutered does not make for a fat, lazy cat. Cats that enjoy hunting will do so whether "fixed" or not. Ensure that your cat gets plenty of exercise, attention, and stimulation, and your altered cat will do well.
- The Baby's Breath Myth
One of the most famous and persistent myths about cats is that they steal the breath from babies. The origin of this story is not truly known.
One source claims it stems from a number of myths surrounding the Hebrew tale of Adam's first wife, Lilith. Lilith has many attributes and myths associated with her, some of which are possibly inherited from other demons. One of those attributes is that she would harm infants and mothers. Another is that she became a blood sucking vampire, and turned herself into a black cat name "El Broosha" who liked to prey on babies. This may very well be where this myth originated.
Another description tells us that cats become jealous when babies are introduced into the home, and will set out to destroy them. This, of course, is ridiculous.
In any case, it's been speculated that cats who like milk might be attracted by milky breath. In addition, when cats bump noses, that is a sign of trust and affection. Cats are alert to change and may notice the cries of a baby, and come to investigate.
- Miscellaneous Myths About Cats
There are many superstitions about black cats. We all know the myth that black cats are bad luck, but did you know that it was once thought that passing the tail or even a single hair from a black cat's tail over the eye could cure eye problems? This treatment was said to remedy everything from a sty to blindness.
White cats have been said to be bad mothers. Obviously hogwash! This may have come from the fact that some white cats with blue eyes are genetically predisposed to deafness.
Siamese cats are famous for having crossed eyes. Legend says they got that way because an ancestor stared too long at Buddha's golden goblet.
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