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Debunking Some Common Pet Myths 

March 15, 2024

Fluffy and Fido have been by our sides since the dawn of civilization. They have taken on a variety of roles, such as friend, guardian, hunting buddy, tracker, and therapist. Our furry best friends have also inspired plenty of legends throughout history.  It’s always interesting to  read the various stories. However, there is a drawback. Many superstitions and old wives’ tales persist even now! A local Denver, NC veterinarian discusses some of the most popular ones in this article.

Cat Myth:

Fluffy Has Nine Lives

It’s easy to see where this one originated from. Fluffy certainly has a talent for getting herself into mischief and narrowly escaping danger. Despite this old proverb, our pets, like us, have just one life. (We’re not sure if Fluffy received this memo, but that’s another matter.)

Kitties Always Land On Their Feet

This old legend, like many others, has some truth to it. Fluffy is incredibly agile and can twist herself in midair. However, just because our feline companions are able to do gymnastics doesn’t mean they’re immune to injury from falls. In fact, there is a term for the injuries that cats sustain when they fall from heights: High Rise Syndrome. Make sure that your screens and windows close properly.

Black Cats Are Cursed/Unlucky

These myths date back to the Dark Ages, when Fluffy was falsely accused of witchcraft. Unfortunately, the rumors resulted in a public backlash against black cats. The ancient beliefs persist to this day. This is why black cats are still a common Halloween theme. Sadly, that hurts their adoption chances. In fact, there are now several awareness days dedicated specifically to black cats.

Fluffy Uses Wormholes To Teleport

This one may actually be true. Let’s just say that we have some questions about Fluffy’s power to create wormholes and bend space and time to her will.

All Cats Hate Water

There is some truth to this. Many of our beloved feline friends do not like getting wet. However, there are a few kitties that actually enjoy the water. A few, such as the Turkish Angora, like swimming.

Kitties Only Purr When They Are Happy

As anyone with a cuddly furball can tell, our feline companions tend to start their engines when they are satisfied. Many felines purr when they cuddle with their people. However, this isn’t only a sign that your cat is happy. Cats also purr when they are ill, afraid, or alone. This could be a way for them to try to unwind and recharge under stress.

Cats Like Milk 

Those iconic images of Fluffy lapping up milk are very familiar. They’re also wrong! Once little Fluffy stops nursing, her body will no longer produce lactase, the enzyme needed to digest milk. This basically will render her lactose-intolerant. While some kitties may be able to tolerate small amounts of milk, others get upset stomachs. Err on the side of caution, and offer your pet something safer. (Tip: plain, cooked meat, fish, or chicken is a good bet.) 

Fluffy Can See In The Dark

It is true that kitties have more powerful night vision than humans. However, Fluffy doesn’t actually have the ability to see in complete darkness. In fact, you could consider getting a nightlight to help your furry friend find her way to her dishes or litterbox better at night!

Myths About Man’s Best Friend

Fido has also accumulated a fair amount of gossip and speculation. Here are some of the major facts regarding Man’s Best Friend:

Dogs Only Wag Their Tails When Happy

It’s not hard to understand where the confusion stemmed from on this one. We all know that dogs wag their tails when they are joyful. In fact, some puppies are so eager that they can injure themselves by banging their tails against things. This is known as Happy Tail Syndrome. The misconception stems from the fact that dogs do not only wag their tails to signify that they are pleased. Puppies who are uneasy, distrustful, suspicious, or uncertain will wag their tails. They just wag theirs considerably slower.

One Dog Year =  Seven Human Years.

This really isn’t a good gauge of Fido’s true age. Dogs do not age at the same rate throughout their lifetime. Furthermore, huge dogs and tiny dogs develop and age differently. Ask your Denver, NC veterinarian for more information. 

Fido Likes Hugs

This is more of a misconception than a myth. To be honest, some dogs do not mind being cuddled. Fido is really fond of his owners, so he probably won’t mind if you embrace him. However, you should never hug a strange dog. In doggy language, hugs are very similar to the body language pups use to demonstrate dominance over one another. Therefore, some pups may see it as a sign of aggression.

This is actually quite important. If you have children, you should make sure they understand this as well. 

Dogs See the World in Black and White

Another prevalent misunderstanding about Man’s Best Friend concerns his vision. Fido’s vision differs from ours. However, your pet’s vision is actually more equivalent to blue-yellow colorblindness. 

Fido Is Probably Sick If His Nose Is Dry

This is wrong, but like many of the other things we’ve discussed here, there is a kernel of truth to be found.

Wet noses help Fido identify scents more easily. Your dog’s nose produces a unique mucus that is designed to catch scent molecules.

Your canine pal’s nose can be dry for a variety of reasons. Older dogs often have dry noses. This could also indicate that Fido has just taken a long nap and hasn’t licked his nose in a while.

However, this could indicate dehydration, which is a major health problem.

It’s also worth noting that if we could tell if a dog was sick just by how dry its nose is, we wouldn’t need as many types of diagnostic procedures and equipment here at the clinic!

Dogs Should Be Eating Like Wolves

Many individuals are interested in giving their pets natural meals. We applaud anyone who is trying to ensure that their pets are eating high-quality foods. However, it is critical to understand Fido’s nutritional requirements. While our canine companions are descended from wolves, they diverged into their own branch of the family tree thousands of years ago. Fido’s diet should be primarily meat-based, but it should also include healthy fruits and vegetables, grains, eggs, and other items. Be sure to ask your Denver, NC veterinarian for precise guidance on this.

Fluffy And Fido Should Have A Litter Before They Get Spayed

Unfortunately, many people believe that allowing pets to have a litter of puppies or kittens before being spayed or neutered will make them healthier and happier. This is actually false. Not only are there no physical benefits, but encouraging pets to procreate contributes to the growing number of homeless animals. If your furry pal hasn’t been fixed yet, schedule that appointment with your veterinary clinic right away. 

Do you have any questions about your pet’s health or care? Please feel free to contact us, your local Denver, NC pet hospital, for all of your pet’s veterinary care needs. We are always here to help!