Friendly Felines: How To Tell If Your Cats Get Along

These signs of affectionate feline behaviour show that your cats are friends with each other. Photo: Fernando Calmon/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. Get Companion Animal Psychology in your inbox. If you have more than one cat , it helps a lot if they are good friends. Tension between cats can result in stress for them and perhaps also for you. But how do you know if they are friends? Here are the signs to look out for. They greet each other with the tail up . The tail up greeting is when one cat approaches the other with their tail straight up, often with a little hook at the end, a bit like a question mark. You might also see this when your cat approaches you. The tail up is a friendly signal.  These two cats are touching heads, bodies, and tails, and they're also showing the tail up signal. Photo: ClementineKANJ.  They sniff noses . Sniffing the nose is another way tha

How You and Your New Puppy Can Help Canine Science

Can you help Generation Pup get to 10,000 puppies? Photo: Lunja/Shutterstock Guest post by James Oxley Generation Pup is a longitudinal study, run by Dogs Trust , started in 2016. In 2023 the study recruited its 7,500th puppy onto the project. However, although the study has been a great success, we still require more puppies and their owners to take part in order for us to reach our 10,000-puppy target. Can you help? The data gathered from this work will be fundamental in understanding the development of health and behaviour problems in dogs over their lifetime. This is achieved by all our voluntary puppy owners who regularly complete online surveys about all aspects of their dog’s health, welfare and management.  There are also additional contributions which dedicated owners can decide to provide to the study, including the submission of hair, faecal, urine and buccal swabs from their dogs. This also builds a unique database of dog samples which will help in the understanding of dog

Feline Enrichment and Writing Tips with Sassafras Lowrey (PPiC Ep 11)

The importance of enrichment for cats, Sassafras Lowrey's latest books Claw This Journal and Jillian at the Junior Showcase , and tips for aspiring dog and cat writers. The latest episode of The Pawsitive Post in Conversation .  By Zazie Todd PhD This page contains affiliate links which means I may earn a commission on qualifying purchases at no cost to you. Get Companion Animal Psychology in your inbox. Watch episode 11 of The Pawsitive Post in Conversation   on Youtube or below, listen via your favourite podcast app or below, or scroll down to read the highlights. Enrichment for cats and tips for aspiring writers In this episode, we chat with dog trainer and author Sassafras Lowrey. We start with her latest book, Claw This Journal , which is full of fun activities to do with your cat. We learn about how Sassafras's cat Thing came into her life and why she wrote this book. We talk about enrichment for cats, and how it's important to tailor it for individual cats.  W

Is Your Dog's Food Bowl Half Full or Half Empty?

How to tell if your dog is a pessimist or optimist. Artwork: Sarah Alsmiller Guest post by Sky Sobol We all know people who are optimists. The glass is always half-full, and they see the bright side of everything. We also all know some pessimists — people that see  the glass half-empty and read doom and gloom into the most neutral events. In humans, it is easy to tell how optimistic someone is, but what about your dog? Does your dog see the food bowl half-empty or half-full? Fortunately, science can help answer this question.  In human psychology a person’s tendency towards optimism or pessimism is called judgment bias (Roelofs and van de Staay 2017).  Optimistic people have positive judgment bias and pessimistic people have negative judgment bias.  Optimism and pessimism are not fixed traits, and in humans, these traits shift based on positive and negative life experiences and reflect emotion (Schwaba et al 2019). The ability to measure someone’s judgment bias can give us a window in

What are Reward-Based Training Methods for Dogs (and Cats)?

It's best for your pet if you only use reward-based methods to train them. Here’s what that means. Photo: OlgaOvcharenko/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. Get Companion Animal Psychology in your inbox. Dog training methods can basically be divided into those that use fear and pain and those that don’t. Or aversive methods and reward-based ones. What do we mean when we talk about reward-based training methods? It's an important definition because there’s an ever-increasing body of research that tells us that we should use reward-based methods because aversive methods have risks to dogs’ welfare. Those risks include fear, anxiety, stress, aggression, stress-related illnesses, pessimism, and a worse relationship with the owner.  There are also some studies that suggest similar risks for cats. Many animal behaviour and welfare organizations recommend the use of reward-base

Happy Cats and The Best Cat Stories about Gremlin

Learn about how to make cats happy and hear about Anna Webb’s amazing cat Gremlin in the Purrcast. By Zazie Todd PhD Sometimes cats come into your life and choose you. That was the case for Anna Webb’s cat Gremlin, who turned out to be a very special cat. Last year, I chatted with Anna about how to make cats happy, and learned all about Gremlin and the things he got up to, as well as how he taught the dog in his chosen household to learn to live with a cat. Plus his ability to bring home gifts that sometimes caused an issue...  Very sadly, Gremlin recently passed, and Anna has re-issued the interview in his memory. You can listen to this very special Purrcast below or wherever you get your podcasts. It’s the only episode of A Dog’s Life dedicated solely to cats. Many condolences to Anna on the loss of her beloved pet. Thank you for sharing all of these stories about him with me—he was the best cat. Here’s to Gremlin! Zazie Todd, PhD, is the award-winning author of Wag: The Scie

The Feline Grimace Scale Helps You Know if Your Cat is in Pain

Cat caregivers can successfully use this tool to spot acute pain in cats, study shows. Photo: Heidi Bollich/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. Get Companion Animal Psychology in your inbox. Cats have a reputation for being inscrutable and It’s well known that it’s hard to spot when a cat is in pain, so the Feline Grimace Scale is an important breakthrough to help veterinarians recognize the signs in their feline patients. New research shows that cat guardians can use the scale too.   This is great news for cats because it means people can more easily assess when their cat needs to go to the vet due to acute pain. Dr. Beatriz Monteiro of the City University of Hong Kong, the first author of the paper, told me, “This is the first study showing that cat caregivers are able to assess acute pain (e.g. pain after surgery, abdominal pain) in cats. It is a great advance for feline we

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