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It's time to blog about some popular but erroneous stereotypes about cats and do some mythbusting!

"Cats are aloof" 
Au contraire. I have found with every cat I have taken in, whether stray, feral, foster or adopted, is yearning for attention and love even if they are too scared to show you that at first. When they trust and can receive love, they give love. I take good care of them, I love them, I play with them, I let them know they are special to me. The people I meet who complain their cats are aloof also admit - when pressed - that they basically dump food in a bowl once a week, rarely change the water or litter, ignore the cat for days at a time, then complain the cat doesn't want to be around them. I usually inform them at that point that I wouldn't want to be around them either. Cats need and want companionship, from other cats and from their humans. Even from dogs!

"Cats love fish" and "Cats love milk"
With the exception of the recently departed Duchess, and Garth cats, every other cat I have been honored to care for HATES fish; refuses to eat fresh fish, let alone Fancy Feast fish flavors. Many hours are spent at the pet store, selecting individual cans because should I buy a case with fish flavors in it, the only one eating it will be the dog! In the wild, cats do not fish - bears fish. Cats eat meat.
Now I will admit when I eat Haagen Dazs Vanilla ice cream, there is a line of assorted pets wanting a piece of the action. I find my cats have zero interest in my 2% milk, but the rich cream of that ice cream or cream cheese is welcome. None of them have ever liked cheese with the exception of Alex who occasionally will eat some of my cheddar cheese.

"Cats can hunt for food"
Well, maybe in the wild, and maybe ferals; however, I have seen and tried to care for many a bone thin and starving feral. I can honestly say that my cats couldn't catch a dead rat let alone a live one. If you let your house cat "fend for itself" you will end up with a cat with rabies or any number of other diseases from the prey it tries to catch at best, a malnutritioned cat at worst with dental and health problems to boot. Feed your cat!

"Men hate cats"
Men do seem to be labeled with this stereotype. However,  I have to say that I have met plenty of men at the shelter and in my life that adore cats. Some of them take better care of their cats than the women I know! I'm not really sure where this stereotype came from, but to label an entire gender with this is really not fair.

"Cats land on their feet"
Not always. My cat Raja lost an eye when two U.T. Austin frat-brat drunks who threw her off a 3rd floor balcony "to see if cats always land on their feet." She didn't - and the force of the impact knocked one of her eyes out. The Veterinarian was unable to save it even though a good samaritan grabbed her - and the eye - and rushed her to the local E.R. Please don't try this experiment at home.

"Cats can't get along" and or "Cats can't live with dogs"
As you know from our pet care article on merging pets, cats can and do get along. As I note in that article as is so often in life, 2 females have a harder time getting along in one household than a pack of males. I have had multiple male cats simultaneously with no problems, and multiple males with 1 or more females. In those cases, the males and females do fine because the males - like human males - are smart enough to defer to the females......At two different times, I had 2 female cats at the same time. As long as one was willing to let the other be in charge, there were no problems. When Sabrina came into a room, Raja left the room. That worked.

As for cats and dogs, much to many peoples surprise I have always had both. All sorts of dog breeds from the shelter, all sizes; many had never lived with cats before; some were breeds "known to kill cats", and they all got along with the cats. Once the dogs realized who was in charge after a well placed swat from the cat. The only one who ever got hurt was the poor dog!

"Cats aren't social"
I have had many a late night conversation with a cat. I find the girl cats to be more talktative than the boys. The dear departed Duchess and I would often have long chats from everything about issues at my work to the dog eating poopy at the park. I would talk, and she would answer back in little chirps, warbles, or meows. I often wondered what the advice was...."Have you tried having your co worker eaten be prey?", or "I often find coughing up a hairball makes me feel better, you could try that". I'll never know.

Cats also love play sessions with their humans. We have spent many an evening or Saturday morning with assorted home made toys like crumpled paper balls, shoelaces with fuzzy mice tied to them, shredded toilet paper rolls (the cardboard piece in the center I mean).

The cats also just enjoy hanging out on the couch late at night, either snuggling against me or taking their place on the back of the couch where they can play with my hair, while watching the local TV stations reruns of old 60's and 70's sitcoms (we don't have cable). 

​Now go talk to your cat!