Cats, a never-ending source of amazement and amusement. Their amazing abilities have led to many myths, superstitions and fallacious tales.
Cats Are Liquid
An example of a logical fallacy: liquids take the shape of a container while maintaining a constant volume. Therefore, cats are liquid.
You could be forgiven for supporting this view. How many times have you seen a cat pour itself into a bag, box, or a crazily absurd place? But being flexible and obsessed with tight spaces doesn't make the cat a liquid.
Cats Can See In The Dark
Cats can see much more in dark conditions than people can, but cats require some light to be present. In pitch-black conditions, the cat is as sightless as we humans.
Cats Have Nine Lives
I'm afraid that if you rely on this fallacy to give your cat a long lifespan, you are misleading yourself. Like the rest of us, the cat only lives once. Felines are indeed incredibly agile and able to perform feats that we humans can only look upon in awe—but this does not make them invincible, and they certainly cannot notch up more than one death.
Cats Have a Poor Sense of Smell
Wrong! Cats have a tremendously good sense of smell. Their ability in this regard is thought by some experts to be better than that of the dog.
Hairless Cats are Hypo-allergenic
Strictly speaking, the majority of allergies are from the proteins in cat dander. Cat dander consists of skin flakes and dried saliva left when the cat cleans itself. Consequently, hairless cats and cats with fur, rather than hair, are still able to trigger allergic reactions.
Two Fallacies Based on Superstition
- Black Cats are Unlucky
In the United States and Spain, Black cats are considered unlucky. Yet in Great Britain and Japan, a black feline is deemed to be lucky. At best, only one of these statements can be true—the reality is that neither is factual.
- White Cats are Lucky
Yet more confusion, superstition, and myth leading to a common fallacy.
Cats Need Milk
Not True. Kittens do wean on their mother's milk. Adult cats are unable to properly digest the lactose in cows milk properly, often leading to diarrhea.
You Can't Argue With a Cat
While it is true that cats are experts at getting their owner's attention whenever they want to feed or play, that doesn't necessarily mean that a person cannot win an argument with a cat.
Cats are intelligent, and every cat I have encountered can be trained with a little perseverance, especially if there is something in it for the cat.
Kitty Has a Grudge
How many times have we heard a cat owner state that their cat has a grudge against them or their partner, often expressed by the cat peeing on their clothing and bedding?
This cat behavior is a response to feelings of insecurity or territorial intrusion.
Two Fallacious Generalizations
- Ginger Cats Are Always Male
A generalization of the facts. Female Ginger cats do exist, although they form a relatively small part of this cat's cohort.
- Tortoiseshell Cats Are Always Female
Again, a similar generalized statement is made about Tortoiseshell always being female. They do exist as a smaller part of this cats group, but by no means are they non-existent.
No Cat has No Tail
The argument goes like this: One cat has one more tail than no cat. Therefore, one cat has one tail.
This is an example of a fallacious argument related to a statistical study:
Cats Cannot Be Trained
A fallacy based on untruth. This fallacious statement likely stems from the different characteristics of cats and dogs. Unlike the dog, a cat tends not to respond well to discipline, preferring instead to shy away from any activity it considers a punishment. A different tactic is required when training a cat. Keep training sessions short and use rewards. Repeating these little lessons will eventually yield results.
Schrodinger's Cat—Dead or Alive—Last Seen Before Box Was Closed.
The fallacy related to Schrodinger's Cat is set against the theory of Quantum Mechanics. However this is not an argument with the theory itself. It is that is a commonly held view that Irwin Schrodinger, an Austrian-Irish physicist, supported the view that a cat held in a closed box can be both dead and alive at the same time, with the actual status of the cat only becoming "fixed" when the box is finally opened, and the cat viewed.
Schrodinger has seemingly become forever linked to being the person who stated this as being factual. In reality, Schrodinger's argument was that this was an absurd situation.
Cats are Rat Killers
A broad generalization. Cats will indeed tackle mice and young rats. However, studies have demonstrated that domestic felines will prudently avoid adult rats in preference to taking on a foe who could inflict damage upon them.
Hungry Cats Hunt Better
A misconception. Cats roaming free on a farm will feed themselves, but they mostly only kill prey to feed; once their hunger subsides, they stop. Well-fed cats will tend to hunt for sport and consequently pursue more.
Vets Debunk Myths About Cats
Cats Will Fend For Themselves
A generalization. Some cats may be more capable of caring for themselves than others. It is too general a statement. Many felines are not suited—either through lack of skill—or through their physical makeup after generations of selective breeding, to hunting and providing sufficiently for themselves. Owning a cat is NOT a way to abstain from your responsibilities to care and nurture a pet.
Cats Hate Water
There is something of a myth about this statement. Felines are well known for being inquisitive, and I have seen cats become enthralled and intrigued by flowing water from a tap. Similarly, I have seen a cat become frantic when falling into a pool of water. A correct statement may be that cats don't like being submerged in water—a bit like me, but then I can't swim.
Cats Should be Put Outside at Night
Cats are crepuscular (meaning that they are active at dusk and dawn). They are not as is commonly believed—nocturnal. There is a school of thought that cats are happiest when allowed to roam at night. A cat that shared my home was far from being a nocturnal roamer; she was a home bird that couldn't bear the thought of being outside.
Sp Greaney from Ireland on November 09, 2020:
This is a really interesting. I like how you analysed myth versus fact. I think every cat is unique and that some have more character than others.
Ben Reed (author) from Redcar on November 03, 2020:
I think its a complete myth that cats need to be put outside at night and I agree that there are many dangers that they are exposed to if allowed to roam. I often see a couple of cats that stray across my garden most early mornings and they are invariably skittish and looking for somewhere warm and restful after their nightly excursion.
Ben Reed (author) from Redcar on November 03, 2020:
Hi, I have also found cats to be intelligent and more than capable of being effectively trained. I must admit that I have found myself talking to the cat on more than one occasion and the cat always seems to respond appropriately to what is being said.
Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on November 03, 2020:
You covered this topic well. Inside cats generally have longer lives than those allowed to roam outside. They do not as often encounter poisons, other animals that can do them harm, be hurt by vehicles, or sadly, humans who wish them harm. We have always enjoyed our feline buddies.
Barbara Purvis Hunter from Florida on November 03, 2020:
I am a cat lover and my Kitty "Baby" is very smart and well trained. Since I talk to him like I would a human he know what I am talking about. I brush him so many times a day and night, and of course he give me a little bite on my hand to let know I am well loved.
Thanks for this article it is well appreciated.