Like the old adage of “Man’s Best Friend,” there are many phrases, expressions and myths that pet owners hear constantly. Statements like “Cats have nine lives” and “Dogs are colorblind” are heard so often they have become somewhat cliché in the pet world. Although we say and hear them all the time, is there any truth behind these myths? Research throughout the pet industry has been done to investigate where these ideas came from, and whether any are rooted in fact after all.
Myth: Cats have nine lives.
Although your cat, like all other animals, does only have one life to live, this myth may be rooted in the fact that cats are incredibly self-sufficient and are known to make their way out of otherwise deadly situations. A PetWave.com article called “Muzzle the Myths About Dogs and Cats” tells us that many reports of cats surviving very harsh conditions without food or water may contribute to this expression, as does the fact that the number nine is considered by many cultures to be a lucky number.
Despite its popularity, the belief that you can multiple you dog’s age by 7 is not an exact formula for getting their “human” age. According to DogYears.com, the actual ratio is dependent on breed and size of the dog and decreases as the dog ages. Your one-year-old dog is actually closer to 15 in human years, and hits the 7 year mark somewhere between six and eight months of age.
Cats are very agile and athletic, traits that contribute to the widespread belief that cats always land on their feet. Although this is often true, it is not an absolute and should definitely never be put to the test! A far fall will cause injury to a cat regardless of how they land, and even a short fall for a cat who is caught off guard or injured in any way may not allow time to twist around to feet-first.
Dogs, like most other mammals, have protanopia (color-blindness resulting from insensitivity to red light), which prevents them from seeing reds and greens in the color spectrum. They can, however, see shades of blue and yellow. Dogster.com demonstrates this in a recent article on how colors look to dogs, and introduces a mobile app called Chromatic Vision Stimulator that will allow you to see the world as your pet sees the world.
A dog’s mouth contains different types of germs and bacteria than a human’s mouth, mostly due to the differences in our diets. As Pet Age reports, dog saliva was once believed to be a healing antiseptic, which may be the basis for this myth. Before you let your dog shower your face in kisses, remember that just as with humans, a dog’s saliva contains plenty of germs. After all, there’s a reason behind all that “dog breath!”