As veterinary professionals, we have come across the 'why does my pet do ____' inquiry many times. We also hear statements of 'fact' about pets that in reality are fiction. There are many myths about pet behavior out there today (too many to discuss here), but here are a few that we commonly hear.
Cats purr when they are happy- This is true, however, there are other reasons for purring. As much as we at PVC would love to believe that all kitties adore us and our care, we know this is not exactly true. So why do so many cats purr during a vet exam? Stress relief. Purring is a response that stressed cats will perform to help them calm down. But don't worry- if your cat is on your lap purring away at home, rest assured that it is because he is happy.
Cats need milk- While many cats like milk, it is not a necessary part of their diet and can, in fact, cause problems. Cats, like people, can be lactose intolerant and milk drinking can cause vomiting or diarrhea. If your kitty can handle milk, it is ok to give as an occasional treat.
Dogs eat grass when their stomach is upset- Maybe. When dogs survived as scavengers, grass likely served as a way to help expel something that was way past its 'best by' date. However, there are lots of dogs who will eat grass because they like the taste, they can't resist the tall strands at the edge of the lawn, or for various other reasons that will remain a mystery. If your dog is a grass eater, just make sure your lawn hasn't been recently treated with a chemical.
Dog's yawn when they're tired- Also true, but there are other reasons for this as well. Dogs will also yawn when they're stressed. If your pet is in a new situation and you are noticing a lot of yawns, it may be a good idea for you to help them take a break for a little bit. Dogs may also be able to 'catch a yawn' just like we do.
If you're interested in more dog and cat myths, you may want to check out 'Why Do Cats Always Land on Their Feet?' and 'Why Do Dogs Drink Out of the Toilet' by Dr. Marty Becker- both fun reads!
Packerland Veterinary Center
121 Packerland Dr.
Green Bay, WI 54303
Located across from the main post office with easy access from the interstate and Hwy 29.