Myth Busters

Truth or mytH?

Whether you're a pet owner or not, most of us have heard the stories – how cats hate water and have nine lives or how you can't teach an old dog new tricks. Here at Felcana we decided it would be fun to uncover the reality behind common beliefs about our cats and dogs.

1. Cats only purr when they’re happy. Myth!

We all love it when we get home and our cat purrs with happiness (perhaps  knowing they may be fed soon!). Cats definitely purr to convey pleasure and happiness, and letting us know they’re enjoying fuss. However, cats can also purr when in pain or frightened. So if the're purring away but something seems a little off, it may be worth investigating.

2. Dogs can’t see in colour. Half-myth!

The part of the eye that “sees” by recognising light is called the retina. Retinas have two types of receptor – rods and cones. Cones allow us to see colour and rods help us see when it is dark. Humans have three types of cone cell (red, green and blue receptors). Dogs just have yellow and blue receptors. So although they do see some colour, it is much more limited  than the spectrum we enjoy. Dogs are also very near-sighted – they can't see as far into the distance as us. However, they make up for this with their incredible noses, having at least 1000 times a better sense of smell than we do! Their smell is so sensitive they can even be used to detect drops in insulin in diabetic patients, helping avoid emergency low blood sugar levels.

3. It’s okay to treat your cat with a little chocolate. Myth!

Most pet owners are now aware that chocolate is poisonous to dogs. But it's also dangerous to cats. Containing theobromine, chocolate can cause nausea and vomiting, heart problems and internal bleeding. The toxic dose for cats is actually even lower than in dogs. Other household poisons include chewing gum, xylitol used in sugar free baking, garlic, onions, and plants such as mistletoe and poinsettias.

4. My dog’s nose is dry; he must be sick. Myth!

There are many reasons that a dog’s nose may be dry, such as not drinking enough, during sleep or sitting too close to a heat source. A dry nose can be the result of allergies or sunburn. More worrying signs of illness that can be gleaned from a nose include colourful discharge, a runny nose or crusty build-up.


So what are some true facts about cats and dogs?

  • They dream just like us!
  • Their noses are equivalent to a human fingerprint
  •  Cats are unable to taste sweetness
  • A poodle haircut was traditionally intended to improve their swimming ability, leaving the pompoms as a way to keep their joints warm

There are hundreds of myths and misconceptions about the right way to do pretty much anything with our pets – from feeding to playing, housing or neutering. The best person to ask to get the facts is your veterinarian!