Category Archives: earthquake

How Important is the Sense of Touch for Pets?

By Linda Cole

We know how important our sense of touch is to us. Snuggling next to the one we love makes us feel good, safe and warm. Our pets respond to our touch in the same way when we give them a scratch behind the ears. My dogs love a good ear scratch so much, they will lay their head in my hand and close their eyes in response to the good feeling they are experiencing. Each dog has a sweet spot that gets their back leg kicking in pure pleasure when you rub their tummy, and you know when you’ve found your cat’s favorite spot along her back or under her chin. The sense of touch for pets is just as important to them as it is to us.

Cats and dogs have very sensitive whiskers which help them “see” in the dark. As air moves around couches and chair legs in the home, their whiskers act like little radar detectors picking up changes in the air movement. This also helps them locate prey in the dark. Dogs have a higher sensitivity to touch around their mouth which aids them when they mouth objects to determine what they are. Cats have whiskers on their legs to help them determine where their prey is and if it’s still alive. Since they can’t see things right under their nose unless they detect motion, a cat depends on their sense of touch to compensate.

Since dogs are social animals and are accustomed to living in a pack social structure, they use their sense of touch while socializing with each other. That’s one reason why your dog likes to lay beside you on the couch, your favorite chair or at your feet. It’s important for them to be with the rest of the pack and they like to be close enough to touch us. My dogs like to gather around me on the couch and lay with their head on my leg. It gets a little crowded sometimes when all of them are trying to find a vacant area on my knee.

A cat’s sensitivity to touch is their most sophisticated of all their senses. Nerve endings are connected to pressure sensitive receptors that constantly send messages to their brain giving cats the ability to always be on top of what’s going on in their world – even when they appear to be sound asleep. Their amazing sense of touch is a big reason why cats can react with a split second reaction time.

Some people believe that an animal’s sense of touch is so sensitive they can feel vibrations in the earth prior to an earthquake. Researchers have been trying for years to determine if our pets have a sixth sense that could warn of an impending earthquake, but so far, the answer has been elusive. However, there is speculation that cats especially may be able to feel vibrations through their paw pads because their pads are so sensitive to touch.

As a general rule, cats don’t like us to mess with their feet because they are sensitive, but as long as you are gentle, they do like to be tickled between the toes and pads on their feet. You know you are doing it right when they spread their toes apart so you can gently scratch in between their pads. I’ve yet to find a cat who doesn’t enjoy a good between-the-toes tickle massage every now and then.

If you’ve ever given your dog or cat a massage, you know how much they enjoy it. Not only do they benefit with better circulation and stress relief, they love the feel of our hands on their bodies. Our touch can have a calming effect on a dog who feels insecure or frightened. Have you ever watched your sleeping dog or cat when they seem to be dreaming? Dogs will move and jerk their legs as if they are running and will sometimes whine, and a cat’s whiskers will pull forward as if they are stalking a mouse or bird. Who knows what they are dreaming about, but if you gently lay your hand on their side and slowly pet them, it calms them down. So they apparently are aware of our touch even when they are asleep.

Like us, our pets have a keen sense of touch and they use it every day. They feel pain, and understand the pleasure a gentle stroke gives them when we pet them on the head or scratch behind their ears. All you have to do is notice how they respond when you scratch them between the eyes and down their nose to understand how much they enjoy the feel of a gentle touch.

Read more articles by Linda Cole

The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

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Animals Can Warn of Danger

By Ruthie Bently

Have you ever wondered how your dog or cat knew there was a storm coming? How animals sensed the approach of the Indonesian Tsunami? Or how pets in California know when there is an earthquake coming? Living in Minnesota, I am very glad that I live with animals. You see, Minnesota is on the northeast corner of what is known as “Tornado Alley,” and when we get severe weather here everyone knows about it. Our house is in a valley upon a slight rise in the land; there is a meadow to the east of the house and a river just beyond that. The river seems to attract a certain amount of lightning and we get some spectacular thunderstorms here. I am happy to say that I can usually tell if they are going to be bad or not depending on how the animals on the property behave.

I can feel changes in the weather coming when it is turning cold and damp and have read that some people can tell when it is about to thunder because they feel strange, but I wondered how my animals knew there were changes coming. When there is a bad storm coming the animals all go to ground. The wild birds and animals retreat to their hiding places and get very still and quiet. The chickens that don’t usually go into the hen house until around dusk, go in several hours early and won’t come back out. Skye and the cats will go to the open door, give a sniff and turn around and retreat back into the house.

I even remember seeing a story on the local news after the tsunami in Indonesia several years ago, that mentioned a little girl who was saved by an elephant, as he took her to higher ground with him. So how do they do it? How do animals know the weather is changing, that California is in for another trembler or that an earthquake on the ocean bottom created a tsunami? I was discussing it with a friend of mine one day and he said that our animals actually sense the changes in atmospheric pressure. Because they can also sense changes in the temperature and humidity levels they are aware that a storm is coming and go take cover. I was reading about animals and weather recently and learned that they can smell changes in the ozone levels and as ozone levels change during storms, they would be even more alert to the bad weather coming.

According to scientists, because animals have such physiologically highly developed senses they are able to feel changes in magnetic fields, electrostatic and chemical changes as well as touch, vibrations and sounds that may be too low for our human range of hearing. Because a dog’s sense of smell is between 10,000 to 100,000 times better than ours, it is possible for them to smell the chemical changes in the air before an earthquake. However, there are several opinions about how animals tell that an earthquake is coming. As most of the evidence is anecdotal and hard to duplicate in a laboratory, the scientific results are inconclusive, so this will probably be an ongoing project.

However you look at it, our pets are more connected to our world and more aware of changes than we are. It makes sense to me; they are connected to the earth through their feet at the very least. I am very glad that I have such a well functioning animal early warning system here where I live.

Read more articles by Ruthie Bently

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The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.