Top Myths About Adopting a Cat

I’d love to get a cat but…

Maybe watching cat videos is good for a laugh during a stressful day, or checking in on internet-famous felines is something you do before bed. But actually get a cat of your own? Nah. There are so many reasons not to…or are there? Well, let’s just say you’re not the only one who’s sometimes misunderstood.

Cats are boring.

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With more than 26 billion views of its cat videos, YouTube says otherwise. Whether they’re hitching rides on Roombas, skidding around corners, or dive-bombing your laundry basket, most cats are quite playful. Just like any pet—or person—the key is finding what toys or activities they enjoy. Start with that cardboard box you keep forgetting to put out with the recycling. You’ll never look at empty boxes the same way after watching cat interact with one!

Cats can’t be trained.


Just because cats have a rep for having a mind of their own doesn’t mean they’re untrainable. From using a litter box to walking on a leash, cats can learn all sorts of important skills that make it easy and fun to live with them. A little patience will help you house-train your cat in no time. Throw in a clicker and treats for positive reinforcement, and you can teach your cat to come, sit, fetch, high-five, roll-over, and literally jump through hoops.

Cats destroy furniture.

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Cats need to scratch—for relaxation, hygiene, stretching, and marking. But they don’t need to scratch your furniture. Or your walls. Or drapes. The key is redirection. Give them something that’s OK to dig their claws into. Pet stores offer a range of options, like carpeted or sisal-wrapped posts, corrugated cardboard pads or loungers, and cat trees of all sizes with different scratch-friendly surfaces. You can even make your own with materials easily found in a DIY store.

Cats are aloof.

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PHOTO © Ray Setup Photography + ASPCA

People say that about introverts too, but with the right company, in the right situations, both are warm and friendly. Research even shows that in cases where cats are antisocial, it’s humans who are to blame. In many cases, cat behavior depends on our own. Cats may not always seek attention, but when you engage with them—playing, petting, and even brushing them—you can create a strong, loving bond.

Cats and dogs don’t get along.

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Outside of cartoons and comics, most cats and dogs get along just fine, and many even grow to love each other. The key is a thought-out, well-managed introduction. You’d do the same thing if you brought anyone new into your household.

Cats aren’t good with little kids.

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Research shows that kids raised with pets reap emotional and physical benefits, and cats are just as much to thank as dogs. (For that matter, so are guinea pigs, ferrets, fish, birds, rabbits, and reptiles.) Cats may not offer as many sloppy kisses or want as many belly rubs as dogs, but they bring their own gifts to young families. Adopting an adult cat, versus a kitten, may be a smart move, as their more low-key demeanor has a calming effect. Cats are also great teachers, helping young kids learn about patience, empathy, gentleness, and respecting personal space.

While cats may be a little bit more mysterious to us than dogs—after all, we’ve been living with dogs for thousands more years—cats are sweet, loving companions who have the power to enrich our lives.