A discussion about untrue cat facts. In my opinion, almost all untrue cat facts are disseminated (spread about) by people who don’t like cats, don’t care about them or care more about their objectives (disagree? – please tell me in a comment). By and large facts about cat health, anatomy, population sizes (hard sciences) are accurate to fairly accurate. The untruths are encountered when there is a hidden agenda. Some people like to serve their own objectives at the expense of the truth.
Also it is worthwhile stating that even cat facts which should be fairly well established can be presented inaccurately. These are the opening lines on the cat facts page of this website:
Are Cat Facts, Facts? There is often good reason to avoid so called ‘cat facts’. There are many websites that confidently proclaim a pile of cat facts without source reference but how accurate are they? Here are two examples. The www.xmission.com website says that the Maine Coon is, ”America’s only natural breed of domestic feline…” I think this is incorrect.
Domestic, Stray and Feral Cats
For me, the most important untruth about the domestic cat concerns its impact on birds. There is no conclusive study which provides solid evidence that the domestic cat has a significant impact on bird populations despite what the cat hating ornithologists say. Ornithologists want to see feral cats exterminated because they believe they threaten the very existence of whole populations of bird species. They base their argument on small scale studies and guesstimate what the overall impact would be. This is an inaccurate method and can lead to dangerously misleading conclusions. People and their constructions – cars, buildings and machinery etc. – kill far more birds. We know it and they know it but they keep quiet about it because it suits their agenda.
The dangers of toxoplasmosis in cats to people has been greatly exaggerated. Most cats have been exposed to it and many people carry the disease without symptoms but cat haters like to say it will make you mad. Not true. It is scaremongering at the expense of the cat.
Animal rescue organizations always use the word “euthanasia” when they kill unwanted cats in their care. This is most often untrue. It is a misleading use of the word “euthanasia” designed to cover up the truth, which is that the cats are killed. Euthanasia is much softer. It implies that the cats are killed humanely for their own good because they are terminally ill. This is not what happens in truth.
The situation regarding the cat breeds is almost universally stated in an untrue way. Cat breeds are a human invention. Before their invention there were no cat breeds, just cats in different parts of the world. The impression that cat breeders give to the world is that many cat breeds are created by nature and all they do is “refine” what nature created. You’ll find that this is not true. People don’t say that the people of Iceland or India are a different breed of human to those of America. They are all people from different parts of the world with huge commonality and with slightly different appearances and ways of doing things. If cat breeders had applied their methods to humans we would see exaggerated physical differences between different peoples because breeders like to “create” their own “product”. The Turkish Angora and Persian are paradigm cases of the truth versus the untruth.
Although not quite a fact there has been a gradual development of the idea that cat owners can go online and diagnose their cat’s health problems and fix them. The internet provides very useful information but the information should not encourage cat owners to avoid taking their cat to the vet when necessary. It is an untrue fact that a cat owner can avoid going to the vet by using the internet.
Many vets in America state as a fact that declawing is OK. They say it is a last resort and then shamelessly carry out declawing operations in their millions as if it is a mainstream “treatment”. There are often hugely detrimental consequences to declawing. The vets hide the facts.
The natural home range of the average domestic cat is about 1-3 acres I’d say. The phrase “home range” means the area that a cat naturally calls his home. This is a cat fact that is ignored when deciding to keep cats inside the home where the space is often around one twentieth of an acre.
One criticism of feral cats is that they pose a health risk to people; they spread disease, yet there are very, very few diseases that can be transmitted from cats to people and none are serious (for example ringworm). People are by far the greatest health risk to people.
The stabilization of the population of the Siberian tiger at around 400 is said to be a Russian success story yet the effective population size is around 14 in terms of breeding abilities. They are sterile due to inbreeding. This is a fact that is covered up. Sterility that develops amongst wild cat populations is probably the biggest threat to the various species after habitat loss and poaching.
The world’s smallest cat is probably the wild rusty-spotted cat not some hyped up Guinness Records runt of a vulnerable domestic cat.
If anyone tells you the world knows how many Bengal tigers are left in the wild they will be telling you an untruth because we have yet to devise a completely accurate way of counting tigers in the wild! Often government authorities overestimate population sizes to hide their failings in the conservation of this most endangered iconic creature.
People in Asia might say that a leopard wandered into their town and terrorized the inhabitants. That is misleading. The better statement is that the people built a town in an area where the leopard has lived for thousands of years and in doing so terrorized the leopard.
In America people will often say that the mountain lion is a danger to them. This iconic cat of the Americas is seen as a threat to human health and safety yet in over 100 years it has only killed 24 people, mainly unsupervised kids while the beloved domestic dog kills 100 people in the USA annually or thousands over the same period. The true cat fact is that people are a far greater threat to the mountain lion than vice versa.
The cheetah is often stated to be able to run at 70 mph. My research indicates this to be an exaggeration. 64 mph is the amount maximum speed for a short distance of under 400 yards. The cat gets too hot after a while.
If someone says that that it is a fact that the tiger would beat a lion in a fight or vice versa, don’t believe them. We don’t know and fights have only happened in captive cats. You can’t generalize. The outcome depends on the individual cats fighting. If you were to generalise you’d have to say it would be a draw.