Common Misconceptions About Cats, From Why They Meow to Whether They Hate You

They've got places to be.
They've got places to be. / vasiliki/iStock via Getty Images

Until someone invents a good meow-to-human language translator, we’ll have to rely on the expertise of veterinarians and other scientists to determine why cats love to knead, why they knock things over, why they always plop down on your computer keyboard, and so on.

In short, cats are maddeningly mysterious, which helps explain why there are so many myths and misunderstandings surrounding them. On this episode of Misconceptions, Mental Floss editor-in-chief (and loving mom to two cats) Erin McCarthy is covering some of the most common ones.

According to an old wives’ tale that dates at least as far back as the 17th century, cats sometimes suffocate sleeping babies by “stealing their breath.” This, thankfully, is impossible. A cat's tendency to snuggle up beside a snoozing kid is probably just because they want to be near a source of warmth. And a cat's tendency to purr when their happy doesn’t mean that every purr they make is indicative of a good mood.

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