Debunking Myths About Cats: Cats and Milk, Friendliness, Seeing Ghosts, Scared-y Cats, Nine Lives, and Weather Predictions

Leading vet charity PDSA is debunking popular myths about our feline friends.

PDSA Vet Nurse Nina Downing explains: “Cats are a popular pet with almost a quarter (24%) of UK adults owning one, according to our latest PDSA PAW Report – that’s an estimated 11 million cats in homes across the UK.

“But despite this, there are still some myths that people believe about our furry family members! From drinking a saucer of milk each day to seeing ghosts, we’ve all heard the rumours but it’s safe to say, don’t believe everything you hear.”

Cats and milk

“For years we’ve seen cats enjoying a saucer of milk on TV and other media so a lot of owners often think that cats need milk to be healthy but this isn’t true! In fact, milk might actually do more harm than good to your feline friend.

“Your cat may seem to like the taste of milk, but we’d always advise steering clear of giving it to them. Most cats are actually lactose intolerant as they don’t have the enzyme (lactase) in their intestines to digest the sugar in milk (lactose), meaning that milk which contains lactose can make them poorly. They can get vomiting, diarrhoea and stomach pain from drinking it, just like lactose intolerance in humans.

“Not just that, but a saucer of milk can be loaded with fat! One saucer of milk for your cat is like you eating an entire 12-inch pizza. That might not sound too bad on its own, but imagine eating that on top of all your usual daily meals. Suddenly that pizza seems like a lot more! Giving your cat milk can not only make them poorly but it can also lead them to gain weight. It’s best to avoid!

Not very feline-friendly

“It’s often thought that cats are a lot less friendly compared to other popular pets such as dogs – but again this isn’t true. All animals are different, regardless of type of pet or breed, they have different personalities just like humans. Cats make lovely pets, and with the right home life environment and positive training, they are often great, loving companions. Cats show their emotions and display affection in a different way than dogs do and usually like things to be on their terms.

Cats can see ghosts

“All cat owners have probably experienced their feline friend running crazily from room to room but despite what you might have been told about cats seeing ghosts, there’s no evidence to support this.

“Cats can sense things we can’t for example their hearing is much more sensitive than ours, but this doesn’t necessarily mean they’re sensing anything paranormal. They’re just picking up on things that are happening around us that might be too quiet for us to hear.

“If your cat is running around like something possessed, the likelihood is that they’re having a funny five minutes to get rid of the excess energy they might otherwise burn when hunting and extra playtime is probably needed.

Scared-y cats

“We’ve all heard of the term ‘scared-y cat’, but sadly when a cat is scared it’s more than just a phrase. Cats can be afraid of lots of different things and for many owners finding the cause of the problem and knowing what to do next can be a challenge. Unfortunately if your cat is left without any help their fear can lead to stress, anxiety and even illness, especially as fears tend to get worse over time. If you think your cat is acting out of sorts, hiding away, or generally more stressed, it’s always best to speak to your vet for advice.

Cats have nine lives

“Cats have a remarkable ability to fall from a height and land on their feet often unharmed which can be quite shocking to witness. And while they might seem lucky, they definitely don’t have nine lives. They manage to get out of some ‘sticky’ situations, but they are not invincible! Instead they rely on their athletic abilities, flexibility, strength and their tail, which they use for balance. Having said that, it is always best to make sure your second floor windows or balconies are securely closed or covered with mesh so that they don’t cause themselves any injuries.

Cats can tell the weather

“Some believe that if a cat licks their fur more, it means it’s going to rain, but unfortunately not, our pets cannot predict the weather. Generally, cats are very clean animals and like to groom themselves, so unless it’s going to rain every day, this superstition is completely untrue. If your cat is licking themselves a lot more than normal, it’s always best to contact your vet for advice as this can be a sign of illness such as stress, parasites, or skin allergies”

To find out more about cats, including feeding, health and behavior visit

PDSA is the UK’s largest vet charity providing a vital service for pets across the UK whose owners struggle to afford treatment costs for their sick and injured pets. For many vulnerable pets, PDSA is there to help when there is nowhere else for their owners to turn. Support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery helps us reach even more pet owners with vital advice and information.

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