True or False: Do Cats Have Nine Lives? Are Cats and Dogs Mortal Enemies? Is a Black Cat Unlucky?

Yes, cats are such mysterious creatures.

So enthralling are these felines that they have long played important roles in ancient Egyptian worship and culture since the 2nd millennium BCE. Bastet was the most famous of these cat goddesses, with Bubastis in the Nile River delta as the center of her worship and where masses of cat mummies were later discovered.

Photo: Pexels/Matteo Petralli

Hence, it’s not surprising that this feline is surrounded by numerous myths. For centuries, many people in Europe and the United States have been afraid of encountering a black cat because misfortune would befall them. (Although, in Japan, a black cat is said to bring good luck.)

There’s also the popular belief that cats have nine lives; that’s why these creatures should be revered. The belief may have originated from the story of the sun god Atum-Ra, who had taken the form of a cat so he could go to the underworld. Atum-Ra then gave birth to eight other gods, hence the nine lives.

But should we really believe these myths? Here are the facts:

Photo: Pexels/Helena Lopes

Myth: Cats have nine lives.
Truth: According to PetMD, a cat’s average lifespan is between 13 to 17 years, but it depends on a number of factors like breed, genetics, lifestyle, nutrition, and preventative care.

Myth: Cats like milk.
Truth: Kittens need cat milk for growth and development. But once they are weaned, most cats become lactose intolerant. Cow’s milk is especially bad for cats, and it can give them an upset stomach. Best to give your cat fresh water to hydrate it.

Myth: A black cat is unlucky.
Truth: It was during the Medieval Period (500 AD to 1500 AD) when black cats were associated with the devil and sorcery. And so, along with witch hunting, mass culling of black cats became a notorious practice that might have contributed to the spread of the bubonic plague, since the mice population went unchecked.

Photo: Pexels/Nadia Vasil’eva

Myth: Cats and dogs are mortal enemies.
Truth: Cats and dogs are two different species; that’s why they naturally have communication gaps. But people can train them to get along with each other, according to Jackson Galaxy, cat wellness consultant and host of Animal Planet’s “My Cat from Hell” series. “Sure, we have two species, and when you’re talking about two different species, there is a communication gap that is bound to happen,” Galaxy told the Insider. “That’s why it’s our job to be ambassadors — to do everything we can to ease that communication gap between the two species.”

What other myths are out there about cats? Which ones do you believe?

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