Happy February Furiends!
I hope all is good in your neck of the woods. It’s been C-O-L-D in our neck of the woods! Today the temperature climbed up to a balmy 15 degrees Fahrenheit!
Since it’s a new month, Oliver, Lily and I decided to celebrate some of the occasions that are celebrated in the month of February. Enjoy andn don’t forget to celebrate!
Oliver is less than enthusiastic that February is National Bird Feeding Month.
Lily wants to remind all her furiends to get their fangs checked during National Pet Dental Health Month.
As for me, I’m looking to celebrating National Hot Breakfast Month every day!
Date night is purrfect in San Diego
Date night has been made so much better for folks in San Diego. Whiskers and Wine may be the only full restaurant, bar and cat rescue in the country. For a $30.00 fee you can have the attendance of some meowvelous felines while you enjoy a delicious dinner and some cocktails like a Whisky Meower. Whiskers and Wine is a hit and, since it’s opening in August 2022, has helped 80 cats get adopted. And, if you visit them on Saturday or Sunday mornings, you can purrticipate in yoga with cats. .Be sure and watch the video of this great place!
Fighting or Play Fighting? Scientists study why cat’s wrestle with each other
The Human often gets frustrated with my brofur Oliver and I when we suddenly go after each oither. She can’t tell if we’re really fighting or play fighting. Evedintely sh e’s not the only human who wonders about this. A new study published in Scientific Reports has investigated play and fighting in cats.
The scientists used observation to see if they could figure out this conundrum. The study, led by Noema Gajdoš-Kmecová from the University of Veterinary Medicine and Pharmacy in Slovakia and from the University of Lincoln, UK, analyzed 105 videos of interactions between 210 cats to find the answer.
After they purrused the videos, the research team then developed an ethogram – a list of specific behaviors and those were put into six groups:
- Inactive: head and body motionless and in specific position, for example crouching
- Wrestling: cats in physical contact with wrestling movements
- Chasing: one cat runs in pursuit or another cat runs away
- Other interactive activities: for example grooming, approaching, raised fur on back
- Non-interactive: activity directed towards themselves or an inanimate object, for example drinking, self-licking
- Vocalization: for example growl, hiss, meow
They went back and watched the videos again to identify which of their discovered behaviors were shown in the cats. Each interaction was then analyzed statistically to work out which behaviors appeared together in clusters.
They then separated the videos into three categories of interactions.
- 1-Playful: included 40% of cats from the videos and included wrestling and a lack of vocalizing.
- 2-Agonistic: agonistic behaviors (any social behaviors that include threatening, aggression, and submission). Cats in this group vocalized and had recurring bouts of inactivity; 32% of cats from the sample landed in this group.
- 3-Intermediate: this group included 28% of cats and was more closely associated with the playful group than the agonistic group. Cats in this group interacted for prolonged periods with pauses in between.
The scientists also had cat behaviorists review the videos and their conclusions. From their observations, the professionals provided some tips.
- If your cats are wrestling, they’re probably playing. Normally, when there is friction between cats in a multi-cat household, they tend to avoid physical contact. Instead, they’ll use offensive or defensive maneuvers that don’t involve extended direct contact, such as slapping. This is true with our Lily. She’ll walk by Oliver or I and give us a big whacky paw for no reason, and then she strolls off.
- If your cats are vocalizing, and chasing between periods of inactivity (such as crouching), they are most likely fighting. Vocalization is an especially important clue here to an aggressive rather than playful interaction. Chasing is OK if it’s mutual, but if one cat is chasing or one cat is running away, that’s not so positive.
- The intermediate group is the tricky one. It contains elements of both playful and agonistic behaviors, though but more closely related to the playful than the agonistic group. This suggests play could become agonistic, depending on what happens during the interaction.
- In particular, the authors observed frequent breaks within the interaction, which may allow cats to reassess their partner’s interest in playing and avoid escalation from play to aggression.
This study is the first to apply a scientific approach to cat behaviors anybody can identify, describing three types of interactions to help identify between play and fighting in cats.
It’s pretty easy for humans to figure out when cats are really fighting but this study helps in working out what’s happening when it doesn’t appear to be a real cat fight.
It’s also important to understand the relationship between cats. If they are buddies, share food and for the most part friendly with each other, you can let them have a little antagonistic play without worrying.
Everyone has that one coworker…
After watching this video, I can’t believe that anyone would complain about this wonderful employee!
Vikings Helped Cats Conquer the World
This feline loves to learn about the history of my ancestors. This article is about how . Vikings prized cats for two reasons: their rodent-hunting abilities and their coats. In other words, when felines started slacking on the mousing, they faced transformation into a cape or a coat. (Note, this was NOT part of the history I enjoyed!)
As felines traveled on the conquering Viking ships as they pillaged and murdered their way through the British Isles, Iceland, Europe, Greenland and North America many found homes in these new places. (Perhaps if they knew they were in danger of becoming a coat, some of them jumped ship!)
It’s a bit hard to picture these violent people with pets but it’s true, they purrfered cats!
And how did the fabulous feline get to Scandinavia you ask? Recent examination of feline DNA from archaeological sites dating to 15,000 to 2,700 years ago suggests the ancestors of today’s cats expanded across the world during two distinct periods, separated by millennia. The first migration event saw them move from the Middle East into the Mediterranean. There, local farmers welcomed our ancestors, pleased to have effective rodent-control services in their fields and crop storehouses.
Still, even this cat knows that the Mediterranean is a long way off from Northern Europe, Archaeologists say that happened thousands of years later and began in Egypt. At this point, seafarers knew the value of felines in keeping from setting up shop on their ships. Some of these sailors were Vikings This was discovered in a Nordic site in Germany where scientists discovered cat DNA resembling that of ancient Egyptian felines.
That second wave of cat migration began around 1700 B.C. and picked up significant speed by the A.D. 400s. This conclusion was reached after reseearchers worked with animal bones from the Bronze age to the 1600’s.
Perhaps the most fascinating insight discovered by the researchers was the physiological transformation felines underwent over the centuries. Typically, when animals get domesticated, they shrink in size. For example, the average dog is about one-quarter smaller than its wolf ancestors.
When it comes to felines, however, DNA shows something altogether surprising. Instead of getting smaller, “domestication” caused cats to balloon. (I resemble that remark!) We know that the Egyptians treated us as gods and that the Vikings fed us very well! Thankfully that tradition continues today!