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Norwich Bulletin - 10/8/2006

Cats And Dogs

As there are many differences between cats and dogs, there are also several similarities. Here are some interesting canine and feline facts to ponder.

Anxiety causes many common behavior problems amongst adopted dogs, including separation anxiety or on leash aggression towards other dogs, Rescue cats can also suffer from anxiety which includes separation anxiety or aggression towards other cats. Leaving soft music playing when you are not home can ease a cats' anxiety. Dogs may require more attention to solve their stress issues but soft, soothing music, certainly can't hurt.

People make mistakes with their puppies and kittens by allowing bad behavior when they are young because it's so cute. When your pet grows up, the behavior is no longer cute and can take a lot of time to correct it. Also, neutering an aggressive male dog or cat can lessen or even eliminate the aggression. It can also help stop both dog and cat from marking its territory and it is definitely healthier for both.

Some dogs, as well as cats, circle several times before lying down. This is instinctive to when they were wild animals and were circling their space in their dens. When dogs sniff where other dogs have eliminated, they immediately "know" the other dog by sex and if the animal is altered or not. Cats get to know other felines by sniffing for pheromones, which tell them all about their gender, their health and if they have been altered or not.

When a dog exposes its belly to another dog or its human, it is showing its submissiveness to the other party. When a cat goes on its back and allows you to rub its tummy, it is showing you its trust (never assume a cat is submissive, because they are not). Dog roll in really stinky, yucky stuff at times. They are actually going back to their roots and trying to mask their own scent to protect them from possible predators. In a similar way, cats bury their waste to hide evidence of their existence to possible predators and other, more aggressive cats.

When a dog wags his tail he is showing signs of friendliness and happiness and that he is a confident dog. Similarly, a cat will hold its tail upright when it is relaxed and confident, but a puffed up tail shows fear or agitation.

Then, of course, there are differences between our favorite feline and canine companions. Dogs jump up on people because its their way of greeting someone in a friendly, happy, manner. They are not doing this because they are "bad," its their natural way of saying hello to their human. Problems with aggression has their causes.

When a friendly puppy all of a sudden changes its personality, the number one reason is usually because of hunger; and most dogs bite from fear or anxiety, not because they are vicious by nature. And when your dog is howling with the other neighborhood dogs, they are simply having a conversation. However if your dog is howling with you when you sing, its probably because it is trying to improve the sound of your voice.

When a cat's ears are up it is a sign they are looking for attention, but when those ears are flattened, they want solitude. And when cats raise their backs to the human touch, they are showing you their affection and when they collapse their backs, it is a hint they want to be alone. Cats have 24 whiskers and they can gauge their ability to slip through narrow openings by the sensories on those whiskers.

Coat color is indicative of gender in that most tri-colored cats are female and most red cats are male. Cats are one of the cleanest animals in nature because they spend 30% of their time grooming themselves. Purring, the sound that belongs exclusively to cats, often indicates pain or fear as well as pleasure.

But the most important fact that belongs to both cats and dogs is that research shows that people who own them tend to live longer lives and experience less stress.

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