Showing posts from June, 2012

One Kitten or Two? 7 Reasons to Pick Two Kittens

Is it better to get one kitten or two? Here are seven reasons why it might be a good idea to get two. Photo: biburcha / Shutterstock By Zazie Todd, PhD This page contains affiliate links which means I may earn a commission on qualifying purchases at no cost to you. This is the time of year when many people get a kitten, and cat rescues are full with  cats and kittens . These days, some shelters and rescues will actually insist that people adopt not one but two kittens at once.  It turns out there are some good reasons to get two kittens instead of just one. Here are 7 reasons why. And okay, maybe the first one is a little facetious, but there are some serious reasons why it works so well to get two kittens. 7 reasons why it's best to get two kittens 1. It’s twice as much cute fluffy fun … if one kitten is adorable, then surely two is even more adorable?  2. So they can play together. Kittens love to play. They have a wide variety of play behaviours: play with objects

Cats and Dogs: Do They Get Along?

Research shows dogs and cats that live in the same house usually get along, but if helps if the cat is there first. Photo: Jiri Vaclavek/Shutterstock By Zazie Todd, PhD Can cats and dogs ever get along? Isn’t there always a risk that the cat will become a furry snack, or the dog will get a scratch to the nose? Although we often talk about ‘cat people’ and ‘dog people’, in reality many of us are both, and want both as pets. There’s some good news from a study by N. Feuerstein and Joseph Turkel, who looked at cats and dogs that live in the same home. They distributed a questionnaire to pet owners who had both cats and dogs, and also spent time in the house observing how the cat and dog interacted when in the same room. Where people had multiple cats or dogs, they chose the animal to observe at random, so they were just observing the interactions of one dog and one cat. They classified the behaviours on a six-point scale that included friendly, indifferent and aggressiv

Will a Dog Comfort a Crying Stranger?

Study shows that dogs will respond to someone in tears, even if they are a stranger. By Zazie Todd, PhD A lovely study was just published by Deborah Custance and Jennifer Mayer of Goldsmiths College, London, who wanted to know if dogs show empathy for people. They wondered whether a dog would try to comfort someone who suddenly started to cry, and whether it made a difference if that person was their owner or a complete stranger. Photo: Tatchaphol / Eighteen medium-sized dogs took part. They were aged between 8 months and 12 years old, and were tested in their own homes, so that their behaviour wouldn’t be affected by strange surroundings. Interactions were video-taped so that the dogs’ behaviour could be rated later by several observers who did not know about the aims of the study. The stranger and owner chatted in the living room, ignoring the dog completely. For short periods of time, the stranger pretended to cry, the owner pretended to cry, the stra

Another Reason Not to Buy Puppies From Puppy Mills

Dogs kept as breeding stock and then re-homed from puppy mills are more likely to have behaviour problems than other dogs. It's important to choose the source of puppies wisely. By Zazie Todd, PhD A puppy mill, or puppy farm, is a commercial breeding establishment that raises puppies for sale. Often the dogs are kept in very small enclosures and have limited interaction with people. Puppies from these sources often have health problems (because the parents haven’t been properly health-checked), and behavioural issues (because they haven’t been socialized to people, other dogs, or a home environment from an early age). In some cases, the conditions are squalid. A recent survey by the Dogs Trust in the UK found that almost 95% of dog-owners said they would not consider getting a dog from a puppy mill. Unfortunately, when asked where they had acquired their dog, 15% of them said the internet, an advert in the paper, or a pet store – all likely places to find puppies from pupp