In this article, we’ll discuss 6 myths about cats and dogs you might be surprised aren’t true! I’ll include 3 common cat myths and 3 common dog myths. I’ll also refer you to a cat expert and a dog expert for more facts you’ll be shocked to learn. Seriously. I totally believed some of these!
3 Common Cat Myths
1. Cats are nocturnal. Are cats nocturnal? According to HillsPet.com, cats are not nocturnal; they’re crepuscular, which means they’re most active at dusk and dawn. People often think cats are nocturnal because it seems their cat is sleeping all day, and often awake at night. But the cat is actually sleeping on and off all day and night.
You may hear your cat playing during the night, or they may wake you up by trying to get you to play while you’re sleeping. But that doesn’t mean they’re up the whole night…they’re just being active, on and off, throughout the night just as they do during the day. For more facts I personally found shocking about cats and their sleeping habits, read my article, How Much Do Cats Sleep? (includes video).
2. Milk is good for cats. Is feeding cats milk safe? According to Purina.com, cow’s milk isn’t healthy for most cats and can cause GI upset. Surprisingly, kittens lose the ability to process even their mother’s milk once they are weaned. If you’d like to give your cat milk, a milk safe for cats is Whiskas Cat Milk. It’s easy to digest and 98% lactuse reduced.
3. Cats always land on their feet. Do cats always land on their feet? According to Purina.com, cats have a built-in balancing system called a “righting reflex.” This allows them to orient themselves during the fall so they’ll land on their feet. But cats don’t always land on their feet. The height of the fall can affect their ability to land safely. I was shocked to learn the reason for this is the longer the fall, the more time they have to orient themselves to land on their feet.
Jackson Galaxy Cat Behaviorist
If you’d like to have a credible source of information about the health, care and training of your cat, I recommend Jackson Galaxy. Jackson Galaxy is a cat behaviorist and host of the television show on Animal Planet called, My Cat from Hell. I love watching his videos on YouTube and often look for his advice whenever I have a question about caring for my cat, Whiskers. Here’s a great article from Jackson called, 7 Cat Facts That Will Blow Your Mind (includes video). Check it out!
3 Common Dog Myths
1. One dog year equals 7 human years. Do dogs really age 7 years for every 1 year? According Akc.com, the long-believed, “1 dog year = 7 human years” theory is not supported by science. Different breeds age differently, with small dogs generally living longer than large dogs. The American Veterinary Medical Association suggests this calculation:
- 15 human years equals the first year of a medium-sized dog’s life.
- Year two for a dog equals about nine years for a human.
- And after that, each human year would be approximately five years for a dog.
Check out this super helpful, easy to read chart in the AKC’s article, How to Calculate Dog Years to Human Years to more accurately determine your dog’s age.
2. A dog’s mouth is clean and sterile. Are dog mouths cleaner than human mouths? According to K9ofMine.com, a dog’s mouth is not cleaner than a human’s. Both human and dog mouths are loaded with microbes and bacteria that flctuate based on dental care and diet.
Is it a dog myth to let your dog lick wounds? Because your dog’s saliva is not sterile, you should not allow your dog to lick your wounds or theirs. Not only will it not aid in healing, but it may cause infection.
3. You must be an alpha so a dog will obey you. Do dogs always need an alpha dog? I think the term, “alpha dog” is often confused with the term, “pack leader.” According to TheDogCentral.com, alpha dog training involves controlling your dog’s behavior and teaching it to only obey your commands…the process of alpha rolling involves physically rolling your dog over and pinning it until it submits.
According to Professional Dog Trainer and Behavioral Specialist, Doggy Dan, pack leader training, often confused with alpha dog training, is the most effective, kind and loving way to train a dog. Being pack leader to your dog does NOT mean being physically aggressive or dominant with your dog.
For more information about the pack leader dog training philosphy, read my article called, Pack Leader Dog Training to understand why this works. or visit Doggy Dan’s website, TheOnlineDogTrainer.com.
Two reliable sources for accurate information about dogs can be found at American Kennel Club (AKC.com) and ASPCA.org.
For dog behavior and training issues, I recommend Professional Dog Trainer and Behavioral Specialist, Doggy Dan. Here are a couple of his blog posts about common dog myths and facts you’ll find interesting:
10 Things I Want Every Dog Lover to Know
Did You Think These Were True?
There are so many things about dogs and cats, most taught to me when I was a kid, that turned out to be just plain wrong. Have you had the same experience? Please comment below if you know of any common dog or cat myths you once thought were true and later found out otherwise!
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2 thoughts on “6 Myths About Cats and Dogs”
As a longtime animal lover who’s dealt with numerous people who take these myths to heart, it’s always good to see someone working to debunk them.
It drives me insane when some people still tout the “alpha” behaviour model, when even the person who coined the term “alpha” has disowned it as a gross misunderstanding of the wolves they studied at the time. Relying on aggression and dominance is only going to teach your dog to fear and hide from you or, worse, make it decide that the only option it has left is to fight back. A leadership role rooted in love and respect is something you should always strive for.
Meanwhile Jackson Galaxy continues to do the good work in teaching people how to understand their cats, and you’re right to direct people his way. As someone who grew up with dogs instead of cats, I had a lot to learn when interacting with cats. The dairy products myth especially. They’re drawn to milk and cream due to the high fat content, but that doesn’t mean it’s good for them!
Keep up the good work.
Thanks so much, Val. I also get my fur up (no pun intended LOL) when people talk about alpha dog training. In my videos I actually say THIS IS STUPID. STOP IT! ugh…