When the novel coronavirus began to spread globally until it became a pandemic of Covid-19, pet owners wondered if their animals could carry the virus and give it to them. Some fingers pointed at the cats. Although these pets, dogs and even ferrets have tested positive for the disease, they do not transmit it to humans.
Around cats there are several myths that two veterinarians demolished for the readers of Business Insider Mexico. The first one has to do with a very popular parasite.
A very common myth among people who do not visit veterinarians is that cats transmit toxoplasma gondii —the parasite that causes toxoplasmosis—; but this is false, since this parasite is very frequently found in:
“Suppose your cat is sick and the parasite is in its droppings. If you clean the sandbox and then wash your hands perfectly, there is no problem. In fact, it is transmitted due to the lack of hygiene of those who care for the animals and then consume food," said Juan Carlos Falcón, a zootechnical veterinarian.
According to the Mayo Clinic, most people with toxoplasmosis have no symptoms.
Through Facebook conversations, people spread misinformation about cats. The Mr. Cat site pointed out that some users of that social network claim that cat hair causes sterility in women and that it also destroys their uterus.
“It is an aberration to think that a hair has an affinity for entering a vagina and causing sterility. Yes there are strong allergies, I have many colleagues who have become allergic to cats and do not treat them. But it is an aberrational myth to think that a hair can cause the destruction of the vagina or the uterus," said veterinarian David Méndez.
No, a cat is not waiting for you to fall asleep to steal your breath or plan your death. In fact, little by little they have become very important pets for Mexicans. Méndez pointed out that in the last 20 years, the ownership of cats —among his clients— went from one for every 10 dogs to 50% of the pets he cares for.
Mailing out letters for my virtual kiddos today! I am super proud of them especially being able to learn how to con… https://t.co/uPOQ22vxpB— 𝘔𝘳𝘴.𝘛𝘰𝘳𝘳𝘦𝘴 Thu May 06 12:51:36 +0000 2021
“Cats are becoming a more popular pet because people who live in small apartments want a quiet, clean pet. In New York, it is the favorite pet because of the way of life,” Méndez added.
According to Inegi, three million cats live in Mexican homes, representing 15% of pets in the country.
In addition, Falcón pointed out that feral cats that are raised in fields or industrial warehouses —and do not have contact with humans— will reject contact. “They warn you, they scratch and bite you if you grab them by force; but let them attack your jugular, no," he said.
“Another myth is that the black cat brings bad luck, that is false. Generally, black cats are very peaceful but they have always been mythologized in the movies,” Méndez added.
Another myth that both veterinarians have had to combat in their practices is the belief that feline AIDS can be transmitted to humans. “In Mexico there is no vaccine for feline AIDS; It is an immunodeficiency syndrome very different from that of humans and it has an expensive treatment —between 12,000 and 15,000 pesos—, but there is medication,” Méndez said.
Both specialists agree that sterilization will make cats of both sexes more homelike. Although they differ in letting them out, both stress that this exposes them to various dangers. At Méndez's office, some of the injuries he has treated in cats that left the house are:
“Cat fights are awful, you just can't break bones between them. That is why we emphasize that they do not let them go out into the street. We need to educate people that having any type of animal is a very big responsibility,” said Méndez.
For his part, Falcón indicated that sterilization is extremely important for the control of the feline population and is completely safe. “Another myth is that cats have to have a litter before they are sterilized because if they don't, they can get cancer. That is false, they can be sterilized before their first heat”, the vet recommended.
Be careful, before buying a pet take into account that it needs vaccinations, sterilization, regular deworming and adequate food. In fact, Mercado Libre's cat food category shows that around 101,000 users in Mexico browse every month looking for their kitten's food.
But feeding cats and dogs the same kibble can be harmful. The National Council of Manufacturers of Balanced Food and Animal Nutrition (Conafab), through its Amascota division, explained that "the nutritional requirements of both species are completely different and therefore, the formulation in their food is not the same."
The agency indicated that cats need a food rich in protein and fat, but lower in fiber. "It is crucial for the feline diet that their croquettes contain taurine, an amino acid that the feline cannot produce, so it must be provided in the food," according to data from this organization.
We hope this information will encourage you to adopt a cat, if you don't already have one. Now, celebrate cat day with this gallery with the kittens from the editors of Business Insider Mexico:
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