Literary Myth-busting: Buttering a Cat’s Paws

It seems to be a common belief among novelists that when one moves to a new house and one owns a cat, one should put butter on the cat’s paws to encourage it to stay at the new house instead of running away and becoming lost.

There’s no scientific evidence that this actually works.
Your results may vary depending on the nature and temperament of your cat, but most modern cat experts think that this is a silly thing to do.

This article busts this literary myth: Buttering a cat’s paws will probably not encourage it to stay at a new home. Novelists, take note!

“Six Myths About Cats and Dogs”

Literary Myth-busting: Brandy for Hypothermia

It seems to be a universally accepted truth among novelists that it is the Done Thing for rescuers to pour alcohol (usually brandy or whiskey) into rescuees who are lost-and-injured and/or lost-and-cold. It seems to be a literary given that alcohol is the correct and proper treatment for shock, injury, exposure, or hypothermia.

It’s not true.
And reading about it in novel after novel drives me slightly crazy.

In both the driver education class and the hunter education class I took as a teenager, it was distinctly and strongly hammered into us that dosing people who are injured, cold, or suffering from exposure with alcohol is a Very Bad Thing to do.

Alcohol has a deceptive effect on people’s bodies, in that it makes them feel warmer on the surface of their skin, while actually causing their core temperatures to drop, making them more—not less—cold and susceptible to hypothermia.

Here are some links to articles that further bust this literary myth: Dosing people who are injured, cold, or suffering from exposure with brandy or whiskey is not helpful. Novelists, take note!

“Alcohol Does Not Prevent Hypothermia, It Actually Makes It More Likely”

“Does Drinking Alcohol Really Keep You Warm When It’s Cold Out?”

“Drinking Alcohol Will Warm You Up: Myth or Fact?”

The New York Times Dialect Quiz

Hey, you guys put on your tennis shoes, and help us unload the semi that’s parked kitty-corner to your aunt’s house. Your uncle drove all day on the freeway to get here in time for dinner.

Then, grab a can of pop and relax while you take the fun and interesting New York Times Dialect Quiz.

This quiz is pretty darn accurate. Here’s my dialect map!

My dialect map