The Barking Lot is a regular weekly feature of This Just In…
THE FOLLOWING IS A SPECIAL 04/01 EDITION: CATS
THE WEEKEND CAT -WALKING FORECAST: There is none for today and Sunday. Not necessary. Cats don’t go for walks.
Time now for CATS IN THE NEWS, felines that made headlines, this week and beyond, selected especially for this special edition.
Everything You Know Is Wrong: 12 Reasons Why Cats Actually Suck — Scientifically.
Why Is My Cat So Annoying? Cat Attention-Seeking Behavior Explained.
The Causes of Aggressive Behavior in Cats.
Scientist: Cats think you are just a big, stupid cat.
Having a cat may take a toll on your sleep, study suggests.
Dog and cat owners differ in personality.
The Hidden World of Cats: What Our Feline Friends Are Doing When We’re Not Looking.
Then you have The Inner Life of Cats.
Researchers from the University of Lincoln in the United Kingdom, the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil and the University of Veterinary Medicine in Austria examined the conditions in which cats produce stress hormones. One of their findings published in the journal Physiology & Behavior suggests that cats typically stress out when humans pet them.
The stress can be somewhat abated in a multi-cat household, where the felines that most dislike human touch can avoid it when there are other cats present that at least tolerate it.
“Also,” said Daniel Mills, professor at the University of Lincoln, in a news release, “and I think very intriguingly, our data suggests that cats who tolerate, rather than enjoy or dislike being petted, seem to be the most stressed.”
Some cat lovers flat out disagreed with the findings.
“I have never encountered a cat that didn’t like to be petted or cuddled or held,” said Valerie Cautrell, who has worked as a pet sitter and a volunteer at the Animal Rescue League of Iowa.
Cheri Brichetto, a volunteer at Furry Friends Refuge, a West Des Moines animal shelter, said she has encountered a diversity of responses among cats.
“If you go into the shelter in any of the rooms,” Brichetto said, “there will be a cat that will run up to you and want to be petted, and there will be cats that sit on their perches, like, ‘Yeah, whatev’.”
Dana Danks, a doctor of veterinary medicine and animal behavior consultant in Slater, cited the relative lack of research on cats.
That raises the question: Are cats are just misunderstood?
Danks said researchers have studied dogs for some time, but knowledge about cats has begun to emerge only in the last 10 to 20 years.
One important finding, Danks said, is that cats have only a short window within the first two to three weeks of life in which they can be socialized to enjoy touch.
“Cats also tend to be very capable of living on their own,” Danks said.
Dogs, in contrast, have had a lot more practice getting used to humans.
“We have been manipulating dogs for at least 14,000 years,” said Stanley Coren, a psychologist at the University of British Columbia who has written extensively on dogs and psychology. “We have been systematically creating an animal which responds to our communication.”
Dogs became workers, hunting buddies and general companions over time. But cats, said Coren, “came on the scene much later.” Rodent hunters employed them to keep droppings out of grain with the rise of organized agriculture some 7,000 years ago, he said.
“Human beings formed some kind of a bond with them, but what we’re dealing with is the fact that the cat was never meant to have that empathy, to have that desire to have that contact with us,” Coren said.
Dogs also have the equivalent capacity of a 2- to 3-year-old child, Coren said, while most cats understand about as much as an 18-month-old child, “so there’s a huge difference in terms of their ability,” which leads people to prefer one over the other.
Coren admitted his own preference: “Cats are not my cup of fur,” he said.
That’s it for this week. Thanks for stopping by.
You’ve noticed it’s 04/01. NO, this will NOT be a new regular feature. That’s because I concur with Stanley Coren. Cats are not my cup of fur.
Might make an exception for Broadway…