10 Common Cat Behavior Myths Decoded

5. Cats never need special playtime — they entertain themselves.

False. Cats thrive when they are given daily activities. Sharing playtime with your cat for a few minutes several times a day will cut down on nuisance behavior such as your cat waking you up early in the morning. Many cats even enjoy going out on walks and can be taught to walk on a leash.

6. Cats never get along with other cats. 

False. Cats often enjoy the company of other cats. If you’re adopting a kitten, you’ll fare best adopting multiples from the same litter, which increases their chances of bonding and enjoying each other’s company. Depending on the cat, it may also be possible to bring another adult feline into your home.

7. Cats who claw furniture have behavior issues.

False. Cats love to scratch because it sharpens their claws, relieves anxiety, is an energy releaser and is a way to mark territory. It’s unfair to expect your cat not to scratch, because scratching is a perfectly normal behavior that is essential for your cat’s mental health. You can, however, redirect his clawing to appropriate areas by providing scratching posts in strategic areas of your house.

8. Cats always freak out at the vet's office, and there is nothing you can do.

False. Cats need regular veterinary care, but unfortunately, a large percentage of cats do not see the veterinarian as often as they should, primarily because owners believe such visits are stressful for their cats. But regular veterinary visits are crucial because they help to spot medical conditions in your cat even when he’s not displaying any discomfort that you can see. Hospitals across the country are more commonly using “stress-free visit” protocols, including gentle handling, cat-specific waiting rooms and fun treats and toys, to decrease feline anxiety. If your cat has trouble with clinic visits, consult your veterinarian for tips on how you can help make the experience less stressful.

9. Kittens and cats raise themselves and don't need training.

False. Cats have a socialization period during the first weeks of life, falling between 2 and 7 weeks of age, where they learn about their environment and what is “safe” and “unsafe.” This is the key time to help your cat adapt to his environment and build bonds with others. There are even kitten socialization classes that can help your young cat build confidence and increase his sociability.

10. Cat meows don't mean anything and can be ignored.

False. Admittedly, excessive meowing can be a little annoying at times. But your cat is meowing at you because it’s his form of communication. Cats are often rewarded for meowing; if your cat meows with enough persistence, he can elicit a response from you — often in the form of petting or pulling out the can opener. Excessive meowing, however, can be linked to medical problems, such as dementia, hyperthyroidism and high blood pressure, which means extra meowing in your cat should be investigated by your veterinarian rather than just ignored.

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