By Linda Cole
We humans have a tendency to present our species as being the most sophisticated, smartest and superior. But when it comes down to it, there are many things animals can do a lot better than we can.
1. Gripping Ability
If you’ve ever played tug-of-war with your dog, you know how strong his grip is. The average bite force of a dog is 320 pounds per square inch. Humans have an average bite force of 120 psi. The Mastiff has the highest bite force at 552.
A dog running at full stride is beauty in motion. It’s almost as if they are racing the wind. The fastest human, Usain Bolt, holds the running record at 28 mph, and has an average running speed of 23 mph. But his speed isn’t even close to the fastest dog, the Greyhound, with an average speed of 40 mph and a top running speed of 45 mph. When you add endurance, humans would be gasping for breath long before most canines stopped.
3. Navigate Tight Spaces
As a lifelong cat owner, I’m constantly reminded that no matter how small an opening, never assume a curious cat can’t squeeze through it. Ultra-sensitive whiskers help a cat judge the size of an opening, and a free floating collarbone allows her to squeeze through tight openings. If the head fits, the entire body will follow just fine.
4. A Nose That Knows
The ability of dogs to pick up scents in the air is truly amazing. The canine brain is wired to process smells, and gives them a sort of “visual image” that is as vivid to them as a photograph is to us. Almost half of the dog’s brain is dedicated to analyzing scents. The average canine nose has between 125 to 300 million scent receptors to our mere 5 million.
5. Purr Therapy
An old veterinary school saying “If you put a cat and a sack of broken bones in the same room, the bones will heal,” may seem farfetched, but researchers have discovered cat purrs do have a healing ability. Cats purr when they’re happy, but they also purr when injured, giving birth and even at the end of life. The feline purr is between 25 and 150 Hertz, which is the best frequency range to promote healing in feline bones and muscles, and improve bone density.
6. Radar-like Ears
Dogs track a sound by moving their ears to locate exactly where it’s coming from, and can pinpoint the source to 6/100th of a second. An average dog can hear sounds four times farther away than we can, and ten times better. Eighteen muscles in each ear gives dogs radar-like control to follow an interesting sound (like when you are opening up his favorite CANIDAE treats!). We hear sounds at 20,000 cycles per second; dogs hear sounds at 40,000 to 60,000 cycles per second.
7. Sniff Out Trouble
We’ve come a long way from the first seeing eye dog, Buddy, who made history when he safely guided his blind owner across a busy New York City intersection in 1928. Since then, we have successfully trained dogs to detect seizures, cancer, low blood sugar, peanuts (for those with allergies) and other medical conditions and possible life-threatening situations.
8. Make a Perfect Landing
A cat’s flexible spine is what allows her to twist, turn and perform acrobatic acts. Felines are born with the ability to right themselves in mid-air to make a perfect landing on their feet. The first thing a falling cat does is rotate her head, then the spine, and finally the rear legs. To soften the impact, she will arch her back. Many cats have survived falls from heights of seven stories or more. The higher the fall, the more time the cat has to right herself.
9. Super Vision
Feline eyes are designed to see in low light to locate prey. Proportionately larger than our eyes, cat eyes have super reflective cells called tapetum lucidum, which reflects light like a mirror to give rods and cones in the eye a second chance to pick up all available light. Larger eyes and the tapetum make it possible for cats to see in very low light and pick up movement, and is why their eyes glow at night.
10. Predict Earthquakes
The paw pads of dogs and cats are super sensitive, and seismologists believe some pets may be able to detect P-waves before an earthquake hits. P-waves are the fastest moving waves just before an earthquakes occurs.
Top photo by Kathleen Tyler Conklin
Middle photo by Anssi Koskinen
Bottom photo by Mark Watson
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