Behavior and personality traits identified in cats

With cats being the number one pet, there is surprising little research about their personality and behavior traits, especially in relation to cat breeds. This study has managed to explore the world of cats. They studied 4300 cats in 26 breed groups. Their study was the most extensive and significant to date and opens the door for further research.

By using questionnaires in an efficient manner, the researchers at the University of Helsinki have identified the following:

  • Activity/playfulness
  • Fearfulness
  • Aggression towards humans
  • Sociability towards humans
  • Sociability towards cats
  • Litterbox issues (relieving themselves in inappropriate places, precision in terms of litterbox cleanliness and substrate material)
  • Excessive grooming
Turkish Angora – Bonnie

 According to the study, “The most fearful breed was the Russian Blue, while the Abyssinian was the least fearful. The Bengal was the most active breed, while the Persian and Exotic were the most passive. The breeds exhibiting the most excessive grooming were the Siamese and Balinese, while the Turkish Van breed scored considerably higher in aggression towards humans and lower in sociability towards cats.”

The result of this study coincided with a previous study, giving it more validity.

Author’s Note: It is just as important for anyone who plans to add a cat to their home to be aware of the personality traits of cats as it is for future dog owners to select the right type of dog for their living arrangements. Even if a cat is a mixed breed, certain physical characteristics can give the potential cat owner an idea of the breed group it comes from, helping them make a selection.

Cats prefer free food rather than work for it

According to a study by researchers at the University of California, Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine, even active cats would rather have “free” food rather than work for their meal.

The researchers offered a sample of cats, the option of getting their food from a food puzzle or having access to their food on a tray. All of the cats preferred the easily available food on a tray.

This was true for active cats and cats used to using a food puzzle. The researchers added that the food puzzles used in the study may not have stimulated their natural desire to hunt and ambush their prey.

The researchers added that this does not mean that cat owners should stop using a food puzzle.

Cats, the new source for genetic research

Scientists use dogs and other animals to learn about genetically related diseases and illnesses that are common to animals and humans. By developing a cure for an animal disease, they often have breakthroughs for curing similar human diseases. One species that has been overlooked in this process is the common domestic cat.

Leslie says Lyons, of the Department of Veterinary Medicine & Surgery at the University of Missouri has explored this option. According to Lyons, cats can be an important asset in understanding the genetic “dark matter” that makes up 95% of DNA. Lyons has found that cats have genetic diseases that are related to the dysfunction of their genetic dark matter.

Lyons feels that cats could pay a role in developing precision medicine for genetic diseases. This could allow scientists and medical personnel to fix the actual gene and what the gene does instead of treating the symptoms.  

The Animals In Our Lives

I had the honor of contributing to this book. Please spread the word.

Stories of Companionship and Awe

by Catherine Lawton (with Cladach Authors and Friends)

The wonderfully varied stories recount experiences with dogs and cats, sheep and horses, backyard birds and woodland deer, and other surprising creatures. The encounters and adventures of people and animals include childhood memories, individual and family experiences, and wilderness adventures. They all celebrate the companionship we have with animals both domestic and wild, in good times and bad, in times of celebration and times of challenge.

As fellow creatures, we give animals attention and care, and they give us so much in return. If we listen and observe, they teach us about God and about ourselves. This inspirational volume will evoke laughter, tears, and the experience of awe.

Animals entertain us, help us, teach us, play with us, mourn with us, even work with us. They help us experience God’s presence in our lives.

Publication date: August 20, 2021

ISBN: 9781945099274, 5.5″ x 8.5″, 15 Black/White Photos

$17.99 Pre-order Now: https://cladach.com/the-animals-in-our-lives/

Surprising activity in Tufted Titmice and Chickadee’s

Researcher Mark Hauber a professor of evolution, ecology and behavior at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and other scientists have made an unusual discovery. They found that Tufted Titmice and Chickadees will use animal hair to line their nests. While this may not seem unusual, what he found by studying videos, was that the birds braved landing on sleeping mammals to pluck out their hair. It seems the mammals did not mind having the birds do this and some did not wake up. The fact that these birds use animal hair was not new to the researchers, but it was always assumed that the birds obtained the hair from carcasses, not from live animals.

Tufted Titmouse

The researchers have named this behavior “kleptotrichy” which is Greek for “theft” and “hair.” As the researchers further studied this behavior, they found that the birds plucked hair from 47 humans, 45 dogs, three cats, three raccoons and a porcupine. I wonder if the humans were aware of the plucking birds.

Lily the Havanese
budgie who pulled Lily’s tail

What came to mind for me was a parakeet (budgie) that I owned years ago. While I was working in my office, I would let the bird fly around. My small Havanese would sleep in her bed next to my desk. The keet would sit on my lamp and watch the dog. Then he would fly down, landing on the floor and tilt his head back and forth as birds do, watching her sleep. He would take a few hops toward her until he reached her tail and then he would grab one hair and pull it. The dog would wake up, half rise and growl at the bird, who would squawk bird laughter, as he flew back to the lamp. When the dog went back to sleep, he would do it all over again. I always felt that he did it for fun but who knows?

Jealousy in dogs

Almost every dog owner has experienced jealousy in their dogs. This is manifested by vocalizations, agitated behavior and pulling on a leash. What researchers have discovered is that a dog acts jealous when they imagine that their owners are interacting with a rival. What is important about this study is that when a dog acts jealous, it shows that the dog has self-awareness. The study also showed that dogs act in a similar manner as children who are jealous. Dogs are one of the few animals that have this human-like behavior.  

What further illustrated the intelligence of dogs is that the dogs in the experiment only reacted to a perceived social rival and not an inanimate object. This shows that they are capable of analyzing the situation.

Riley trying to sneak up on the cat

It is exciting to learn more about the mind of a dog. It is too bad that similar experiments cannot be conducted on cats. I personally feel that cats are at least as smart as dogs.

How high sugar affects memory in animals and people

Although this article is not specifically about animals, I thought it was important enough to include on my blog site.

A research team from the University of Georgia has conducted a study about how sugar affects the brain. I have quoted part of the article below. Based on this research I would caution pet owners, especially those people who have puppies that are slated to be working dogs, to watch the dog’s sugar intake. We do not know how this finding affects other animals. People who have younger children should be especially careful since they tend to share their treats with their pets which could significantly raise the pet’s sugar level.

“New research led by a University of Georgia faculty member in collaboration with a University of Southern California research group has shown in a rodent model that daily consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages during adolescence impairs performance on a learning and memory task during adulthood. The group further showed that changes in the bacteria in the gut may be the key to the sugar-induced memory impairment.”

Animals in the Bible

As we approach Passover and Easter, it is a good time to reflect on the impact and role that animals have in God’s plan. From the very beginning, in the Garden of Eden, God used an innocent animal to represent His saving Grace.

When Adam and Eve sinned, they tried to fix their sin themselves by making aprons of fig leaves to cover their nakedness or sin. But God showed them that only God can forgive or fix sin. To do this He killed an animal and made them clothes of the animal’s skin. From that point on the Jewish people had to sacrifice an animal on the Day of Atonement to cover their sins for a year. This animal sacrifice represented the coming of the Messiah.

When the Angel of Death visited Egypt, those people who had the blood of the lamb on their door posts were passed over. Did you realize that their animals were also spared?

Scientists have long pondered the mental abilities of animals. Recently they have designed tests to determine just how smart and how aware animals are. If they had carefully read the book of Numbers, they would have had their questions answered.

The Bible teaches us kindness to animals, how they think, which animals were created to be domesticated and which ones were not. It also talks about miracles that involve animals.

Jesus is referred to as the Lamb of God. When he died and was raised from the dead, there was no longer a need to sacrifice animals, the debt had been paid. Have you ever thought of the fact that only an animal is innocent and pure enough to represent the Messiah?

If you want to read more about the role of Animals in the Bible, you can do so in my book, God’s Creatures: A Biblical View of Animals. There is so much the Bible teaches us about them. You will be amazed. You can order a signed copy at http://www.sbulanda.com

Cats will play in the snow

          December in many parts of the world often means snow. Almost everyone who is an animal lover knows that most dogs love to play in the snow, but do you know that cats can enjoy the snow too? Many people believe that cats do not like any form of liquid, whether it be a bath, the rain, a swimming pool or even riding in a boat, but there are cats who do find these things fun to do.

          My cat is one of them. It all started when I was shoveling the deck and she saw a chipmunk run from under the bird feeder and dive into the snow. In a moment of excitement, she leaped off the deck and dove into the snow chasing the chipmunk. I stopped my shoveling to see what would happen. It wasn’t long before her head popped up through the snow, the flakes covered her ears, face and nose. She shook herself and started to come back to the deck. But as she walked, tiny snow balls started to cascade down the sides of her path through the snow. She stopped suddenly and pounced on them with both front feet, like cats do.

Playing in the snow chasing little snowballs

          I could see by her body language that she had discovered a new game and was enjoying it very much. She was oblivious to the fact that some of the snow was melting on her body, making her wet.

          As the winter progressed and we got more snow, she decided that she liked to follow me as I did my outdoor chores and pounce on the little balls of snow that slid into my footprints. She also joined the dogs for their romps through the snow. It is quite a sight to see her walk in the paths that they make, ever alert for sliding snow with her tail above the snow, standing straight up with a slight hook at the tip.

          The lesson I learned from this is that a pet of any kind may enjoy playing in circumstances that you would not expect them to like. In the case of my cat or a small dog, I am careful to keep a close eye on them because they could become disoriented in deep snow, become exhausted and not be able to get back to the house. In very windy conditions they may not hear you call, so it is also important to be able to walk to your pet while they play outside in the winter. I have taught my dogs to come to a sheepherding whistle which carries up to a mile.

          It is also important to be sure that your pet does not become too cold.  Dogs will play outside even though they are cold and wet, to the point of shivering, and not want to come indoors. Cats, however, seem to be more willing to come indoors when they get too cold.

          All pets that go for a walk on paved surfaces may have problems with salt, so it is a good idea to wash their feet when they come indoors. A dog can become cold and wet even if you put a dog coat on them.

          The bottom line is, let your pet have the opportunity to experience safe play, even if it is not the type of play that you think they would like. You never know.                 

Breeding Dogs Part Two – Registries

The following is the second part in a series of eight articles about breeding dogs. Although it applies to a dog, it also applies to cats. People do not realize that there are cat mills which are similar to puppy mills. Note that these articles are based on my years of experience, my opinion and that I do not intend to refer to any individual. Please read the entire eight articles to glean a full understanding of breeding.

Part Two

Understanding registries is important because who a dog is registered with will give you a clue as to its legitimacy. There are a few types of registries.

  1. Nationally recognized registries. These are established organizations that register purebred dogs. In the United States it would be the American Kennel Club and the United Kennel Club. In some cases, there are breed registries that are legitimate. The way to determine if a registry is recognized is if other countries or registries accept a dog registered with the organization.
  • Non-recognized registries are those that anyone can establish. In the United States there are registries that cater to puppy mill breeders so that the AKC cannot shut down puppy mill operations.
  • Breed registries are those that are recognized but are designed to register certain types of working dogs. An example would be some of the working stock dog registries.
  • Anything goes registry are those that will register any type of animal for any reason.

Most people who own a pet dog feel that their dog is worth more if it is registered. They only understand that the dog has “papers.” They do not understand the value or uselessness of the papers. The non-recognized registries have used this lack of understanding to legitimize dogs by giving them “papers” that are not recognized by any national or international recognized registry.  

It is important to note that no registry can guarantee the quality of a dog or puppy. They can only guarantee that as reported to them the records have been accurately kept. If the breeder owns both the sire and dam, they can list any dog as the sire and dam of a litter. For example, I had a client who made an appointment for training and told me that he had a Rottweiler. When I questioned him, he assured me that he had AKC papers. When his breeder found out that he was coming to me for training, he admitted that the dog was a Rottweiler/German Shepherd cross, the result of an accidental breeding. Yet the dog had recognized registration papers because the breeder owned both the male and female. The real ethics depends on the honesty of the breeder.

Ethical breeders will only register their dogs with recognized registries.