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The Truth About Cat and Dog Myths

There are many myths that have been handed down through the generations about dogs and cats. Some have sprung up from human’s observations about pet behavior and actions in an attempt to understand them. Some need to be cleared up so they don’t lead to bad decisions about pet care. The following are some of the common myths and the truth about them.





. You can tell a dog’s age to a human’s with a 7 to 1 formula, giving the dog 7 years for every 1 human year.

This is not an accurate measure. Aging is an individual thing. Large dogs age more quickly starting at about 7 human years. A rough guide for all dogs is that at 1 dog year, a dog is about 15 human years old. At 10 years it is about 56 and at 15, about 76 years.

. Dogs only see in black and white.

Actually dogs can see in color but differently than humans. They may not be able to distinguish between red and green. However they can tell the difference between shades of blue, gray and violet. Dog’s also rely on brightness, contrast and motion to interpret visual stimuli.

. Dog saliva is safe and antiseptic.

Even though a dog’s saliva may kill some bacteria, it also has it’s own unique bacteria that can cause infections to itself and young children or older people whose immune systems are not strong. It is best not to swap spit with your dog.

. Dogs show remorse for doing something wrong.

A dog may cower or have a hang-dog expression after doing something bad. Actually the look represents fear. Since you are the “pack leader”, the dog can sense when you are displeased. However, he can’t tell what it is related to unless you catch him in the act.

. A warm nose on a dog means it is not healthy.

A cold, wet nose or a warm, dry nose are just that. They do not mean that the dog is healthy or sick.

. You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.

Dogs of all breeds can learn new tricks throughout their lives. They just need to be physically able and responsive to you.

. Dogs eat grass because they have an upset stomach.

Some dogs like to graze casually in the grass. They do not tend to throw up and it is not a sign that they are sick. If a dog eats grass too vigorously, they may vomit the grass as well as other stomach contents. It just results from too much grass and is not always a sign of an upset stomach.


. Cats purr when they are happy.

While this is often the case, it can also be a cat’s way of calming itself down when it is hurt, sick or stressed. It is a kind of coping mechanism for the feeling of strong emotions.

. Cats always land on their feet.

A cat tends to be very agile and can twist it’s body into a feet down position as it falls. However, if they fall from too great a height, even if they do land on their feet, the fall could injure them or even cause death. It has spawned the myth that cats have 9 lives. Though they tend to be healthy animals who can care for many of their needs. they only have one life to live like all mammals.

. Cats are not highly social and prefer to be left alone.

Cats actually crave attention and want to be cuddled or petted. They may want it on their own terms but they all need your love and affection.

. Cats are easier to care for than dogs.

While cats do not need daily leash walks, they still need regular exercise through play and mental stimulation. They need to be fed, given a clean litter box and given regular visits to the vet.

There are many more myths about cats and dogs. However these are the ones frequently thought of. It is important to recognize these as myths and not allow them to color the way you handle or interact with your pet. They all need our love and understanding!


Do cats really have 9 lives?

Cats always seem to land on their feet after a fall which leads one to believe that a cat has more than 1 life. Cats are intrepid explorers and fearless risk takers. The myth, however, is actually based on their natural suppleness and swiftness to escape a life threatening fall.

How does this happen? In 1894, the French physiologist, Etienne-Jules Marey held a cat upside down by it’s legs and dropped it. He filmed the action with a camera that took 60 images per second. As the cat fell, an automatic twisting reaction began. The cat maneuvered it’s head, back, legs and tail to lessen the impact.

A word of caution though! Cats aren’t all that tough; they don’t always land the right way up. A badly timed fall can result in bruised ot fractured limbs. The distance is crucial. Too high and the cat may splat just like a human. Too low and the cat may not have time to correct itself.

So, do not try the French physiologist’s experiment at home! Just be reassured to know that your curious cat has a built-in righting reflex that helps him escape those unexpected falls!