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Cats: Five Common Myths and Misconceptions

As the owner of seven cats, I've learned a lot about these unique and independent creatures.

Do you already know these five common misconceptions and myths about cats?

Do you already know these five common misconceptions and myths about cats?

Cats Will Be Cats. . .

Cats are unique. They can be trained, but it takes a person with a good deal of patience.

Cats will respond to your voice and come to you if you have never hurt them. They will gladly come over to be petted or to sit in your lap.

Of course, they can be independent cusses, and if you pick them up, will jump right down again; only to turn around and jump right back up in your lap because that time, it was their idea!

Let's Examine These 5 Common Myths

  1. Cats are light on their feet.
  2. Cats are graceful.
  3. Cats are anti-social.
  4. Cats are dignified.
  5. Cats are lazy.

Read on and find the truth about these fascinating creatures.

This silly girl is our nurse cat.

This silly girl is our nurse cat.

Myth 1: Cats Are Light on Their Feet

Well, they can be—if they want to.

The truth is, however, they can be very heavy-pawed, making sounds that would seem to come from a much larger animal. Is that part of their defensive mechanism, like fluffing their fur to appear larger in the face of a threat?

When they jump down from some high perch, it sounds as if a bowling ball is hitting the floor! For some reason, this is especially true if they are jumping from some surface where they know very well they are not allowed. It is as if they are saying, "What? No, I wasn't on the counter! See? I'm on the floor!"

Then, there are the midnight races up and down the hallway. Kalump, kalump, kalump! It is a game cat owners know as "THoE" or "Thundering Herds of Elephants."

Myth Busted: So much for being light on their feet!

Myth 2: Cats Are Graceful

Maybe I have unusual cats. I've seen some pretty ungraceful moves. But then again, any search on YouTube will bring up countless videos of cats doing some pretty clumsy things.

A couple of mine are true klutzes as well. I just lack the video equipment to prove it. I will leave you to judge by the video compilation below.

Myth Busted: Cats are klutzes!

This was our "Jigsaw Puzzle" kitty, named for his fur patterns. He was a real snugglebug, but sadly crossed the Rainbow Bridge in December 2018.

This was our "Jigsaw Puzzle" kitty, named for his fur patterns. He was a real snugglebug, but sadly crossed the Rainbow Bridge in December 2018.

Myth 3: Cats Are Anti-Social

Now, I know, some of you are thinking, "Oh, they only come around when they want food, or to sleep on your bed."

That may be true to some extent, but with all of our cats, and I'm sure other cat owners can vouch for this: most cats love to cuddle, be petted, and sing you beautiful purr songs to help you drift off to sleep. They may enjoy the soft bed, but they can just as well sleep at the foot of the bed. Snuggling with you is a sign of true affection, especially when it's summer, and they are not needing to share your warmth.

Of course, there is always the one who wants to act like a jerk, but that only proves that cats, like people, are individuals each with their own personalities. Don't we all know people who are jerks?

Furthermore, two of our cats are bonafide "nurse cats," who have helped both my husband and me when we were not feeling well. My late husband was a heart patient, and the one cat was his particular overnight companion when he was going through a very bad spell. If he was distressed during his sleep, she would know and wake him up so he could use his medication.

Myth Busted: Cats are alert and capable of caring.

Myth 4: Cats Are Dignified

This goes a little bit along the same lines with them being graceful, but again, not so much.

Cats are clowns, and even grown cats can act in very kittenish ways, sometimes resulting in hilarious outcomes. Check it out below:

Myth Busted: Cats are silly!

I'm not lazy; I'm conserving my energy for midnight.

I'm not lazy; I'm conserving my energy for midnight.

Myth 5: Cats Are Lazy

Oh, well . . . hmm . . .

Let's see: They have high energy, can leap up to six times their own height, can sprint at speeds up to an astonishing 31 miles per hour. (No wonder you can't catch them when it's time to go to the vet or give medicine!)

On the other hand, cats sleep up to 15 hours a day. But, it's not being lazy, it's conserving energy for all those high-energy pounces and chases, just like their wild cousins.

Myth (Partially) Busted: Well, maybe partly lazy—I may have to give you that one.

© 2015 Liz Elias


Liz Elias (author) from Oakley, CA on January 20, 2017:

Hello, Dolores,

Thank you for sharing about your special fur-child, Banjo. I do think they also have ESP! They KNOW when we're about to go out for a while! As far as understanding language, you'd better believe it! We have to spell out the word "treats," if they are not about to get any just then! LOL

And, one of them is a real 'nurse cat.' She stayed faithfully by my husband's side all night for the three years he was really ill; if his breathing became labored, she would wake him, so he could take his medication. Now that he is not in such distress, she shares her nightly time between us. :-)

Dolores Monet from East Coast, United States on January 19, 2017:

Hi Liz - it wasn't until later in my life that a cat moved in with us. He busted all the myths or silly ideas that I previously had about cats. Banjo (the cat) can understands actual words, I am sure of that. He hangs close or sits in my lap if I am downhearted. He understands and responds to 2 step commands. People think you make this stuff up about your cat, that you are just cat silly, but I've learned a lot about assumptions from Banjo!

Liz Elias (author) from Oakley, CA on January 13, 2016:

Hi, phoenix--

LOL--yes they do love the 'peanuts.' Be advised that those do have static cling, and it can be just as funny when they exit the box... have your camera ready! ;)

As for leaving you alone when you want to write--don't bet on it--they can be just that ornery! ;)

Thanks for stopping by and sharing.

Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon from United Kingdom on January 13, 2016:

I've been through all that with the two 'roomies'. Love the 'cats in peanuts' video. I'll have to try that. Maybe that will keep them occupied and they'll quit yowling at me to play when I'm trying to write. lol

Liz Elias (author) from Oakley, CA on October 08, 2015:

Hello, Scribenet!

I'm glad you enjoyed the article. I had fun putting it together. We have 7 of the darlings; some of them are featured in the article. Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing about your cat.

Maggie Griess from Ontario, Canada on October 08, 2015:

Great Hub. Having a cat myself, who knows my moods and is a clown and a cuddler (when he feels like it), I was nodding my head in agreement.

Liz Elias (author) from Oakley, CA on August 21, 2015:

LOL, alexadry--I can well imagine. That is too funny. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your experience. I'm glad you enjoyed the article.

Adrienne Farricelli on August 21, 2015:

Your "cats are not light-footed" section brought back memories of two black kittens I fostered. When they were playing on the second floor they were as loud as bisons. Indeed, we nicknamed them "tatanka."

Liz Elias (author) from Oakley, CA on August 11, 2015:

Hello, Bredavies,

Yes, cats are very empathetic. They always know when you need a cuddle, and when you're "good to go." A cat video festival sounds wonderful! Have a great time, and do write about it when you return!

Bredavies on August 11, 2015:

Hilarious and very informative. My cat, Rider, can sense when you are sad..everytime I have been upset he curls up on my lap and purrs. If I'm happy he ignores me, haha. This reminds me of the cat video festival I am attending next week. Thanks for the read!

Liz Elias (author) from Oakley, CA on August 07, 2015:

Hello there, RTalloni!

Indeed--I do think they are the best pet. Our count is now at 7, and there is will stay; we cannot afford to take in any others, though if I had unlimited funds, I'd have the biggest and grandest cat rescue outfit on the planet! ;-)

As we grow older ourselves, and as we lose our precious fur-friends to old age, (a sad fact of living with those with so much shorter life spans than our own), we will probably not get any more as kittens, because it would not be fair to the kitty to end up palmed off onto someone else, or worse, end up in a shelter, because they outlived US. In the future, we would probably adopt senior kitties who need a loving home for their golden years.

Thanks so much for your wonderful comment.

RTalloni on August 07, 2015:

There's nothing like a kitten to bring some lively smiles to a household, and then there is the pleasure of getting to know them as they grow and become a valued companion. Myths? What anyone who believes myths need is experience! Thanks for a fun look at one of the best pets a person can have, or in my opinion, the best. :)

Liz Elias (author) from Oakley, CA on July 27, 2015:

Hi, peachpurple!

LOL Yes, they do look so regal when walking. Other times, not so much. Thanks much for stopping by and adding your experience. ;-)

peachy from Home Sweet Home on July 27, 2015:

cute myths i must say. do sound heavy when they jump from a high place, they aren't graceful except for the catwalk

Liz Elias (author) from Oakley, CA on July 14, 2015:

Hi Stephanie!

Yes, they are certainly individuals, are they not? We regard our kitties as our last remaining connection to sanity in this crazy world.

Thanks much for your insight.

Stephanie Henkel from USA on July 14, 2015:

I love cats, and your article certainly showed their true nature! While cats can be graceful, light on their feet, and dignified, they can also be incredibly clumsy and silly. My two cats are as different as possible, but they bring me smiles every day!

Liz Elias (author) from Oakley, CA on July 12, 2015:

Hi, Sage!

Well that's good to know! LOL

Thank you very much. I'm delighted you enjoyed this article. ;-)

Mackenzie Sage Wright on July 12, 2015:

The writing is great (and yes, you win, I am convinced and will no longer say these things about cats, lol), but omg the pics & videos-- so adorable. Thanks so much for sharing.

Liz Elias (author) from Oakley, CA on June 14, 2015:

Hello, MsDora!

Thanks very much for your comment; I'm so glad you enjoyed this hub. The kitty who is the "nurse cat" is the first one pictured at the top of this article. She is indeed precious.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on June 14, 2015:

Most cats I've seen are the way you describe yours--except for that wonderful creature that is your husband's helper. What a blessing! I enjoy the read.

Liz Elias (author) from Oakley, CA on June 13, 2015:

Hi there, FlourishAnyway!

LOL poor dear kitty boy!

I don't have any like that, but our most senior kitty ( who recently had to be helped across the Rainbow Bridge), spent the last 2 years of her life out in our shop, because she could not remember where the litter box was, or what it was for...and concrete is a lot easier to clean than carpet!

She was well loved to the end; and had it good out there--none of the other cats to annoy her, as she'd gotten a bit grumpy with them, and she had her nice cushy bed, and central heat and air. ;-)

Glad you enjoyed this tongue-in-cheek post. Thanks for sharing your story.

FlourishAnyway from USA on June 13, 2015:

They are all such individuals. I enjoy them more than an most people. I have one that we nicknamed DumDum because he forgets which door is which in my house after living here for 5 years and each morning must be taken to his food. The poor dear is easily distracted but we sure love him.

Liz Elias (author) from Oakley, CA on June 11, 2015:

Hi, drbj!

LOL Yes, indeed, cats do have staff! There is also the old saying of "cats were once worshipped as gods; they have not let us forget."

Glad you enjoyed this whimsical ramble; thanks much for the vote!

drbj and sherry from south Florida on June 11, 2015:

I've never owned a cat - only dogs. But that didn't stop me from enjoying your busted myths scenario. Voted this one Up, Liz.

Friends who have owned cats and dogs tell me their cats are usually more independent than dogs. Guess it's true what they say: dogs have owners. Cats have staff.

Liz Elias (author) from Oakley, CA on June 11, 2015:

Hello, sallybea,

Oh, how sad. I'm so sorry you lost your beautiful fur-friend. They do have a way of wrapping our hearts around their adorable little paws.

I'm sure there is no terror; only harmony, on the other side of the Rainbow Bridge. ;-) Thanks so much for sharing about Sylvester.

Sally Gulbrandsen from Norfolk on June 11, 2015:


My one and the only cat I owned lived for around a year. He was hit by a car when I called him for dinner. I found him frozen and stone cold laying on the ground the next morning. He was quite a character, but I learned soon on that all cats are murderers! I also learned they are also very generous in nature. He brought me gifts aplenty, usually in the form of little dead creatures, poor little birds, mice, and crickets. Why oh why did I love Sylvester as much as I did?

Thanks for reminding of my fella who is probably terrorizing all the little creatures in the spirit world.

Liz Elias (author) from Oakley, CA on June 10, 2015:

@ Bob Bamberg - What you say is true; I was mostly writing in a humorous vein. ;-) I know what you mean about them heading for the carpet at the most inopportune times! Sometimes, I can catch them, and as you say, escort them to a hard-surface, and sometimes, I even manage to position their head over the litter box, so I don't have any mess to clean off the floor. However, with one of them, she's too quick, and that doesn't work; trying to chase her only results in scattered 'deposits' down the hall or under the table. Better, then, to just let her get it out, and them deal with it later. Good thing I have my own carpet shampoo machine!

Glad you enjoyed the hub; thanks much for sharing your experience and the votes!

@ bravewarrior - So true. They are wonderful companions. We like dogs, too, but no longer have the physical stamina to deal with them; they are definitely much more high-maintenance than cats. Cheers!

@ billybuc - Ah..but you have a cat now; s/he will win you over, and you'll be converted in no time! ;-) Did I mention cats can also be quite manipulative? ;-) Thanks much for sharing!

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on June 10, 2015:

I really can't vote intelligently on this one. I'm not a cat person and the one we have now is the first I've lived with. I will say without hesitation that our cat is not boring and often entertaining....kind of like me. LOL

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on June 10, 2015:

Lizzy, some of the myths are true and some aren't. Actually, most of the myths you cite are truths at one point or another in a cat's life. I guess I could have have voted "sometimes", but that wouldn't do justice to the majesty of cats.

I'd give my eye teeth to be a cat!

Only a cat lover knows the true value they give to our lives. In my opinion, they are better than dogs. They don't require the maintenance of dogs (walking to pee and poop, etc.) and they seem to have an inherent connection with their human counterparts. Yes, dogs do too, but cats can go to their litter boxes when their humans are down for the (temporary) count. Thus, you bi-pass accidents on the floor. Cats are self-sufficient; all they need is love and they give it back in spades.

Bob Bamberg on June 10, 2015:

Fun hub, Lizzy. I don't think you can differentiate between myth and fact. Most cats show both sizes of each coin. With my cat, everything was on her terms. She was a good lap cat when it suited her, she'd play with us when it suited her, she'd eat when it suited her. She'd be a velcro kitty when you were at the keyboard, and when it came time to puke, as she did 3 or 4 times a week, she'd wait until she reached the carpeting before she'd start to wretch. Occasionally, I'd be able to scruff her and carry her to the tiled kitchen floor, which would usually cause the barf to get stifled. She's been gone over 4 years now, and I still expect to see her at the top of the stairs when I start on my way up. Enjoyed the hub...up, funny and interesting.

Liz Elias (author) from Oakley, CA on June 10, 2015:

Hi, Shauna--You're quick! ;-)

Hmm... what would have been a better answer for you in the poll? ;)

They are like kids in many ways; they can get into all kinds of mischief. But I have to laugh at their antics despite the no-nos. They are our last remaining connection to sanity in this crazy world.

You have just proven the point about how they are all individuals, just like people. And they are so lovable.

Thanks so much for sharing your experiences with kitties.

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on June 10, 2015:

Lizzy, I couldn't vote on your poll because there wasn't a response that related to my experience with cats. I'm a cat lover and know them well, although each has its own personality. I have three indoor cats and two outdoor felines that have deemed my house their own.

I've had cats all of my adult life. What I love about them is they're like women: they're self-sufficient and come for love when they need it. However, when you're sick, depressed, or recovering from surgery, they're right by your side and won't leave. My three take turns taking care of me. Although they can't cook for me or give me my meds, walk me to the bathroom, they're there for the recovery of my soul. They're there to love me and let me know I'm important.

When all is well and good, they try to do no-nos. They're not allowed on eating surfaces, nor do I allow them in my bedroom, which is carpeted. They like to pick the carpet and make it look like crap. Additionally, on the rare occasion I do let one of them come sleep with me, they irritate the hell out of me by making dough on my bedspread or my head. Then, when they want out, they pick the carpet by the door (did I mention this is a no-no?) and wake me up. Funny... when they want to wake me up in the morning for breakfast, they meow at (the outside) of my door. So howcome meowing only works on one side?????

I love my cats. I love their nuances and they accept mine. I've yet to find a human that can do the same.