The Most Common Pet Myths That People Have Been Believing For Years

Let’s face it — we spend more time with our pets than we do with most of the human beings in our lives. They sleep with us, crawl over our laps while we’re trying to work, and are often responsible for waking us up way too early in the morning.

But despite how well we think we may know our beloved animal friends, there are a surprising number of popular myths people believe about their pets that are simply not true. You’ve probably bought into some of these lies for your entire life!

Perhaps one of the most widespread cat misconceptions of all is that they always land on their feet. They don’t! While this is usually the case, plenty of felines become injured after falling from heights.

You can’t teach an old dog new tricks? Tell that to all the old dogs out here learning all these new tricks. While puppies have an easier time of it, older animals are most certainly capable of absorbing new information.

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This isn’t true either! While they don’t see colors like the average person does, canines actually have sight that is akin to people with colorblindness.

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Meanwhile, people assume cats are capable of seeing in pitch black darkness. This is not actually the case! While they’d fare better than humans in low-light conditions, a complete lack of light will leave them blind.

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Rabbits and carrots go together like peanut butter and jelly…right? Actually, rabbits rarely snack down on carrots. Their typical diet consists of hay, greens, and rabbit food. Go figure.

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Many hesitate to spay or neuter their animals, believing that it will fundamentally change their pet’s lovable personality. While getting rid of sex hormones may decrease habits like fighting or urine spraying, we’re sure there’s much more to your furry friend than those behaviors.

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Relatedly, neutering a male dog does not in fact emasculate him. Whatever male traits they had before the operation will remain, as they are gained early on in development. Neutering does, however, have a slew of health benefits. It even reduces the risk of some cancers!

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If you’re still worried about neutering for a different reason altogether, never fear because, thanks to a change in Kennel Club regulations, you will still be allowed to present your neutered pet in shows.

American Kennel Club

But cats and dogs aren’t the only household pets out there! A common myth surrounding horses is that they only sleep standing up. They can take light naps while standing but need at least a few hours of deep sleep every several days.

There’s nothing better than a warm furry cat purring against your lap — but, cats don’t only purr when they’re happy! They also exhibit the behavior if they’re scared or in pain in an attempt to comfort themselves. So cute…yet so sad.

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One of the strangest pet-related myths is that rabbits are bad luck at sea. This dates back centuries to when a bunny bit through the hold of a ship, causing hundreds to drown. Although clearly a one-off, many ferries still refuse the animals admission.

One moment he’s perched precariously at the top of a door frame; the next he’s fast asleep. Your cat might be unpredictable, but one “fact” everyone takes for granted about felines is actually pretty easy to pin down.

Watch pretty much any cartoon and you’ll be left with the impression that cats and dogs are mortal enemies. The reality is, if the two animals are introduced in the right way, they’ll get along just fine — in some cases they even become best friends!

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And while we’re on the subject of cats, they’re not actually nocturnal, as most people think. Instead, they are “crepuscular,” meaning they’re most active at twilight hours such as dawn or dusk, when hunting opportunities are the best.

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Many dog owners believe that they must exert dominance over their canine by acting as a “pack leader” so the animal respects them. This widespread belief came from a 1970s study of captive wolves and has long since been debunked.

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Most people are under the impression that all cats absolutely hate water. And sure, many of them do. However, some felines not only don’t mind water — they love to swim!

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Some will tell you that female dogs should have at least one litter of pups before being neutered because if they don’t they will feel “empty.” This is just not true — your pet will absolutely not become depressed or “broody” if they’ve been fixed before giving birth.

American Kennel Club

To city-dwellers and the squeamish among us, rats may seem like the dirtiest animals to grace the planet. This is a common misconception, though. Rats groom themselves constantly and are one of the most hygienic pets you can adopt.

Many dog-owners get scared if they catch their pet eating grass, thinking animals only do that when they’re sick. In reality, dogs can eat grass in sickness or in health — they just like how it tastes!

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Black cats are so strongly associated with bad luck that it leads to them having a very difficult time getting adopted. This myth is obviously not based in fact — and in places like Japan, black cats are actually considered a good omen!

Who doesn’t love penguins? Happy Feet and March Of The Penguins have made us swoon over these waddling antarctic seabirds… but they actually aren’t all that friendly towards each other in the wild. They’re actually kind of messed up.

Even the most depraved human can look like a saint compared to your average penguin. Female penguins have been found to kidnap and exploit more fertile penguins, and males engage in all sorts of nasty practices with both living and dead penguins.

What’s the evolutionary reason zebras have stripes? People have wondered this for ages, and many believe they’re camouflage or optical illusions that help them blend into their environments and keep predators away. But this is not the case…

Researchers found the stripes just help ward off biting flies and other insects, from which horses (the zebra’s cousins) often suffer. They may not fool any lions, but we’d rather just get eaten than plagued by bugs.

Known as one of the scariest underwater creatures, Piranhas have been featured in the media as blood-thirsty, man-eating monsters that will rip apart and devour anyone who crosses their path. The truth?

Sure, they do have razor-sharp teeth that can tear flesh right off, but here’s the thing: they mostly feed off animals that are already dead! In fact, people in the Amazon tread piranha-infested waters all the time, so don’t freak out if you see one.

Their name literally means “slow,” and they truly are. But unfortunately for them, they’re the only animal named after a sin: extreme laziness. This isn’t the case, though.

In captivity, sloths don’t need to gather food or hide from predators, so they sleep around 16 hours per day. However, in the wild, they only sleep around 9 hours — just like humans! Then again, some of us are pretty lazy, too.

A common misconception is that praying mantises pray all the time. Just kidding. But people do believe that the females always eats the male’s head after procreating. Yikes…

This only occurred between mantises that were part of an experiment. They were starving, which resulted in them eating each other. Also, the male could just as well have snapped off the female’s head. That’s right — equality.

Other than in Babe and Charlotte’s Web, pigs tend to get a pretty bad rap. They’re said to be messy, fat, and sweaty. We even have a saying: “sweating like a pig.” But that couldn’t be less accurate!

Pigs don’t actually have working sweat glands, which is why they cool down in the mud so often. They never pass waste near their living space and even wash their food, which makes them cleaner than most of us.

As far as reptiles go, the Komodo dragon is pretty terrifying. Many believe that, like alligators, they have really strong jaws and can bite their living prey to bits, but this is not the case.

It wasn’t discovered until 2009 that Komodo dragons actually spew venom when they bite their victims, after which they just wait until their food gets weak and they can eat it in peace. Which means we still suggest avoiding them at all costs!

For centuries, people all over the planet have collectively shared one great fear: an earwig worming its way into their ears and laying eggs. But don’t worry. Those fears aren’t grounded in reality.

They’re called ear-wigs because their wings are shaped like a human ear! They can’t fly well, so it would be hard to reach a human ear, and the mother wig stays with her babies — she wouldn’t leave them in an ear.

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