Children can form a loving relationship with the family cat that will enrich their lives in so many ways. A close bond between cat and child won’t happen by accident though. As the parent and responsible pet owner, you need to do your part to make sure your children know what to expect when living with a cat. You also need to be sure that the home environment is both kid-safe and cat-safe. Here are six important things children need to know about living with cats.
Cats are Not Toys
In a child’s eyes, a cute, fluffy cat may resemble that stuffed animal she plays with and takes to bed at night. They need to be taught that cats are not inanimate toys but living beings with daily needs that need to be met, including food, water, grooming and cleaning up after them. Children also need to understand that animals experience pain, fear, love and many other emotions, and need to be treated kindly at all times. Your kids might think it’s fun to put doll clothes on the cat and lug her around like a baby, but not all cats will like this. Forcing a cat to do things it finds frightening or objectionable will hinder bonding and may even lead to your cat avoiding the child at all costs.
Learn to Read the Cat’s Body Language
Understanding what the cat is trying to convey through body language is such an important thing for children to learn. As individual beings, cats have different likes and dislikes, and varying degrees of tolerance. What all cats have in common, however, is that they will give off warning signals before resorting to biting or scratching to get away when they’ve had enough petting or don’t want further interaction with you. Kids – and parents – just need to know what that tail, eyes, ears, whiskers and legs are “saying.” My article, How to Read the Body Language of Cats, will give you detailed information. Read More »
When you research dog breeds, you discover that little is known about the origins of most of them. The Molosser is not one particular breed but rather, a group of dog breeds. Although there is agreement on the origin of the word that defines the Molosser group, when it comes to the various dog breeds included, that’s a completely different story. An interesting mix of legend and real life are intertwined in their history, which adds to the mysticism surrounding these dogs and makes it harder to determine fact from fiction.
Generally speaking, dogs in the Molosser group are large, solidly built dogs from a variety of breeds, but all of them are believed to be descendants from the same root stock. They’re heavy boned with pendant shaped ears, a short muzzle and a muscular neck. An example of the dogs considered to be in this group include the bully breeds, mastiffs, Golden Retriever, Great Dane, Doberman Pinscher, Great Pyrenees, Greater Swiss Mountain Dog, Chinese Shar-Pei, Norwegian Elkhound, Entlebucher Mountain Dog, Anatolian Shepherd Dog, Komondor, Bernese Mountain Dog, Newfoundland, Rottweiler, Rhodesian Ridgeback and Saint Bernard. This isn’t a complete list, but it gives you an idea of the variety of dog breeds in this legendary group. However, there is disagreement regarding some of the breeds included in the list. Read More »
Dogs roll on their backs to show submissiveness or trust, and as an act of defense when fighting. They might also roll around on a toy, food or something they find during play or while exploring outside. When your dog rolls on his back on an object, he is doing it for a reason.
A dog rolling on their back may be showing that they are content. During play, a dog can expresses happiness and pleasure at the activity with every part of his body. Have you ever watched a dog rolling around on your bed on his back? It may just feel good to him. Certainly the exuberance with which they perform the activity is a sign of happiness. Rolling around on a favorite toy, for example, may just make them happy knowing that is their toy and they are staking their claim to it. Read More »
The other day, three friends posted the same video to my social media page. It was the cutest darn thing I’d seen a while, and it consisted of nothing more than two cats having what appeared to be a full-on conversation. There was plenty of subtle body language being passed between these two, but what really struck my fancy (and apparently 60 million other people’s fancy) was their vocalizations. Full of trills, purrs and squeaks, these cats were “getting it said,” and I wanted to know what they were saying. Let’s take a look at 5 common cat sounds, and what they mean.
Ah, the sweet, sweet sound of a cat’s purr. Snuggling your cat and listening to him purr is said to have therapeutic qualities; it elevates your mood while lowering your blood pressure. That’s a pretty potent combination! Purrs also help newborn kittens to survive. When a mother cat gives birth, she purrs during the process to help comfort herself and reassure her babies. And since the kittens are born deaf and blind, they cannot see or hear their mother – but they can feel the vibrations of her purr. These vibrations direct the kittens to their mother’s warmth and food. Read More »
The close bond dog owners share with their pet is unique, and research has shown that both humans and canines benefit from positive interactions. Now a new study has provided scientists with some surprising findings about the power of a dog’s gaze, which also helps explain why the bond between humans and dogs is so tight.
The human/canine bond is a symbiotic relationship that benefits both species. In many households, dogs are considered treasured members of the family. Playing with, training, petting and grooming your pet helps create an unshakable bond. Researchers know we experience beneficial physiological and psychological changes in the body when interacting with dogs, and a recent study found that both humans and canines have a spike in oxytocin levels when looking into each other’s eyes.
Oxytocin is often referred to as the “love hormone” or “cuddle hormone” and is linked to the emotional bond between mother and baby. It’s also what bonds other mammals that mate for life, such as wolves, swans, beavers and bald eagles. The hormone helps create a powerful social attachment of affection, and in the case of humans and dogs, it’s fueled by a gaze.
There’s no denying the cuteness factor of a newborn kitten or puppy. The miracle of birth is an awesome process to witness, as is the incredible bond that quickly develops between mother and babies. Puppies and kittens are born with their eyes shut and ear canals closed, which makes them functionally blind and deaf for their first few weeks of life. It seems odd that nature would deny these predator species access to two major senses – sight and hearing – at birth. However, there is a good reason why kittens and puppies are born deaf and blind.
The evolutionary process is a complex series of experiments that over time improves the survival chances of a species. At a time when the different mammal species were adapting and learning the best way to live in their environment, they had to make a choice about reproduction and development of their young. It was an evolutionary decision that would give their offspring the greatest success of living. Read More »
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