During our time as not only veterinarians but animal lovers and owners we have had the joy of experiencing all kinds of animals personalities and behaviour traits, often marvelling at just how incredible our animal counterparts are or left wondering about the reasoning behind some of their bizarre quirks!
Are our pets a lot smarter than we give them credit for?
Some of the common behaviours our pets display may look crazy but do make sense. For example, how many of you have cats who will only drink from a tap? Did you ever think, why? Cats are exceptional at keeping themselves alive and well, they would not want to use up one of those nine lives by drinking from a contaminated source, would they? In the wild running water is often cleaner and also fresher than, for example, a stagnant pond or puddle. They also prefer to have a source of water in a different location to their food bowl, to stop the water from becoming dirty and also prefer to drink from a large shallow dish (this lets them keep their whiskers out of the way)
On the other hand, our vet nurse once knew a farm dog who lived next door and would only drink from the toilet if given the chance! (He would also bark at the door to be let in, only to go for a sleep behind the sofa rather than put in a days work on the farm but that’s another story)
Does your cat fit one of the five personality types recently discovered?
A recent study by Australian researchers discovered that cats seem to fall into 5 personality types;
They designed a series of questions based on the personality traits of humans and invited cat owners to take part. You can read more about the study and see which trait matches your cat here.
The incredible story of Digby the life-saving labradoodle?
The bond between humans and animals has always been strong and the last year has been a difficult one for many. Time and time again we have read amazing stories of pets supporting their owners, improving lives mentally and physically.
You may have read such an article in the news just this week. Digby the labradoodle is a therapy dog for Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service. Previously he has helped crews during therapy sessions after being exposed to trauma. On this day the rescue team were attending a scene where a distressed young woman was sadly considering jumping from a bridge over the motorway. When the lady spotted Digby approaching she started a conversation about Digby and his role at the fire service. When asked if she would like to meet him, she actually reconsidered her whole traumatic situation and moved back to a safe area, to everyone’s relief. You can read Digby’s story here.
Do other species interact with us in the same way?
There are many reports of the animal kingdom seeking ways to communicate with us. From dolphins to birds or even an octopus!
We have always found our own horses to be intelligent, sensitive and expressive family members too. Often standing at the paddock gate ready to come in, only for us to be hit by a sudden downpour a short time later. But equine intelligence might not end at predicting the weather! Incredibly researchers from the Norwegian University of Life Sciences were able to teach 23 horses to express their needs using symbol boards. After only 11 days they were able to request blanket on, blanket off or no change so communicating their desire to wear a rug or not. You can read more via this link.
How we use our knowledge of pet behaviour to improve our products.
When designing our products we try to think about how best to improve the health of our pets but also ensure their happiness. There is no point in designing an effective toothbrush or new set of nail clippers if your pet finds the whole process uncomfortable or irritating.
With this in mind, we thought long and hard about the design of our slow feed bowls. We tested different sizes and designs with our own pets and in our cat-only veterinary practice. The puzzle design promotes the natural instinct your pet has to forage as well as providing mental stimulation and reducing their ability to binge. Designed and tested by Sarah and Paul the bowl helps prevent obesity, regurgitation and overeating.
Click this link to see a short video of Piper, our brand manager Gayle’s cat showing off her hunting skills with one of our bowls.
We are sure you agree, our pets and the wider animal community continue to amaze us the more our knowledge and understanding grow. After over forty years of veterinary medicine, we NEVER stop learning. This is part of the reason we love what we do.
Why not share your incredible pet’s story with us? We would love to hear it!