5 Weird Things Cats And Dogs Do
What’s the science behind the weird behaviors of cats and dogs? Live Science looked into several mysteries, including why dogs eat poop and why cats stretch so much, to explain the possible evolutionary and biological reasons for each.
Let’s take a leap into the wild brains of your adorable, and often baffling, four-legged housemates.
Why do cats hate baths?
It’s no mystery that most domestic cats dislike being in water, whether for a bath or a dip in a pool or lake. Most dogs, on the other hand, can’t get enough of it. But why is this?
Perhaps it’s because a cat’s fur takes longer to dry than a dog’s does, and cats don’t like being sopping wet while they wait to dry off, Kelley Bollen, director of behavior programs for the College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell University, told Live Science in 2010.
Or maybe cats prefer to have all four feet on a solid surface and “do not appreciate the sensation of floating in the water,” she said.
Moreover, some dog breeds, including the Portuguese water dog and the Irish water spaniel, are bred to “work” in the water and have body types equipped for swimming.
In addition, most dogs are pleasantly introduced to water when they’re young, while cats are not, Suzanne Hetts, a wildlife biologist with Animal Behavior Associates in Colorado, told Live Science.
Why do dogs walk in circles before lying down?
Dogs often walk in circles before settling down for a snooze. This curious behavior is actually hardwired in them from prehistoric times, Leslie Irvine, author of “If You Tame Me: Understanding Our Connection With Animals” (Temple University Press, 2004), told Live Science in 2011.
Fido’s wild dog ancestors would walk in circles to make a nest — an area with stomped-down grass or underbrush where they could sleep. This behavior may have also driven out snakes or large insects that otherwise might have bothered them, Irvine said.
Moreover, a nest would mark the dog’s territory, telling other dogs to stay away, she said.
Why do dogs poop along a north-south axis?
Dogs aren’t just particular about their cozy “nests.” Turns out, some pups like to poop while they are aligned with the north-south axis of the Earth’s magnetic field. To come to this wacky conclusion, researchers spent two years observing 70 dogs as they defecated and urinated.
The dogs studied, which included 57 different breeds, tended to face north or south while pooping and seemed to avoid facing east or west, the researchers noted in their study, published in 2014 in the journal Frontiers in Zoology. Even so, the researchers are not sure how the dogs are sensing the magnetic field (if they are, in fact, sensing it) or why they’d have such a particular pooping position.
Why do cats bring home dead animals?
Even though most pet cats have access to a bowl of kibble, these natural-born hunters often still bring home mice, birds and other small animals they’ve killed during their outdoor escapades.
That’s because wild cats usually eat several small meals a day, and that instinct didn’t disappear when they were domesticated about 10,000 years ago. Moreover, mother cats in the wild catch prey and bring it home to teach their young how to eat. Domestic cats are often spayed, meaning they can’t have kittens. But they may still try to pass on their hunting wisdom.
In fact, your cat may think you’re a “kitten” that needs feeding or may want to thank you for the food you provide her, according to veterinarian Dr. Marty Becker on VetStreet.com.
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