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Showing posts from October, 2018

Can Synthetic Pheromones Help With Aggression in Multi-Cat Households?

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Promising results from a pilot study of synthetic cat-appeasing pheromones (Feliway Multicat) for aggression between cats that live together.



Cat owners know only too well that cats can be choosy. As solitary hunters, the domestic cat can do just fine alone and does not have to be friends with other members of the species. On the other hand, cats can live in social groups, especially in colonies of female cats and their offspring, when female cats will help care for each other’s young.

Many people have multiple pet cats and they aren’t always friends. It is obvious cats don’t get along if they fight. But there are also more subtle signs of cat aggression, such as when one cat blocks another cat’s access to a resource like the litter box. As well as bouts of aggression, when cats don’t get along they may hold urine for too long, pee outside the box, suffer feline idiopathic cystitis, over-eat or lose weight, or sometimes (if they have outdoors access) one of them may even leave home.

Reso…

Companion Animal Psychology News October 2018

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The latest news including an evidence-based guide to pets, what it's like growing up with wolves, and anxiety in pets and us.



Some of my favourites from around the web this month
The Psychologist guide to … pets. I love these evidence-based tips on pets put together by Ella Rhodes.

“Fido” or “Freddie”? Why do some pet names become popular? A fun and interesting post from Prof. Hal Herzog, complete with a quiz to test how popular your dogs’ names are.

Do you want to know what the umwelt of a dog is? And what canine science experiments look like? The Scientist Podcast interviews Dr. Alexandra Horowitz

“Treating my cat for depression caused me to question the state of anxiety in animals and us.” Can a cat have an existential crisis? by Britt Peterson.

Secrets of getting pee and poop samples from Fear Free. A tricky thing that many pet owners have to do sooner or later… what to do next time you need to take a sample to the vet.

Caring for senior and geriatric cats by Pam Johnson-Bennett.

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A Short Petting Session Improves Wellbeing in Shelter Dogs

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For shelter dogs, spending 15 minutes with a volunteer who will pet them when they want is beneficial according to both physiological and behavioural measures.



Dogs in shelters may be deprived of human company. Can a short petting session help them feel better? A study published earlier this year by Dr. Ragen McGowan et. al. and published in Applied Animal Behaviour Science investigated the effects of petting from a stranger and found positive results.

The scientists set out to answer the question, “Does one 15-min petting session make a positive difference for shelter dogs?”

And the answer was yes.

The report concludes,
“As predicted, positive physiological and behavioral changes were evident in shelter dogs even after only a single 15-min petting session with an unfamiliar volunteer. A complete understanding of the human-animal bond from the dog’s perspective is still in its infancy, however this work contributes to the mounting evidence that humans play an important part in the emotiona…

Do Dogs and Cats Get Along? Ask the Cat!

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Dogs and cats living together get along most of the time, but it’s the cat’s level of comfort with the dog that is the defining factor, according to research.


With 94.2 million pet cats and 89.7 million pet dogs in the US, it’s inevitable that some dogs and cats live together. While we don’t know how many households have both a dog and a cat, scientists Jessica Thomson, Dr. Sophie Hall and Prof. Daniel Mills (University of Lincoln) recently published a questionnaire study of how well people think their dog and cat get along.

The results show that in general, dogs and cats living in the same house are friendly towards each other – but it’s the experience of the cat that is most important in mediating this relationship.

Early introduction of the cat to the dog (preferably before the cat is 1 year old) helped them to have a good relationship, whereas the age of the dog at first introduction was not important. (This is different to an earlier study that found early age of introduction for bo…

Companion Animal Psychology Book Club October 2018

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"An accessible and richly illustrated introduction to the natural history of dogs―from evolution, anatomy, cognition, and behavior to the relationship between dogs and humans"



The Companion Animal Psychology Book Club choice for October 2018 is The Dog: A Natural History by Ádám Miklósi.

From the cover,
"As one of the oldest domesticated species, selectively bred over millennia to possess specific behaviors and physical characteristics, the dog enjoys a unique relationship with humans. More than any other animal, dogs are attuned to human behavior and emotions, and accordingly play a range of roles in society, from police and military work to sensory and emotional support. Selective breeding has led to the development of more than three hundred breeds that, despite vast differences, still belong to a single species, Canis familiarisThe Dog is an accessible, richly illustrated, and comprehensive introduction to the fascinating natural history and scientific unders…

Happy Thanksgiving

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Happy Thanksgiving!



It is Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada and there is much to be grateful for.

I am thankful for such a wonderful community of people who want to learn more about companion animals. I am thankful to have met so many amazing people as a result of writing this blog. And I am thankful for every one of you who, in your own way, does something to make the world a better place for pets (and people).

Happy Thanksgiving!


The beautiful photo of a tabby cat with pumpkins and walnuts is by Nailia Schwarz/Shutterstock.