Monthly Archives: May 2014

“Did You Know?” Cats


How well do you know your cat?! Here are some interesting facts about cats you may not have known…


  • Cats hear at a higher frequency – higher than dogs or cats
  • The sense of smell of a cat is less sensitive than that of a dog
  • The sensitivity of cats ears are 3x better than a humans
  • Cats can smell odours 1000x lower than a human can detect
  • Whiskers are also known as vibrissae
  • Vibrissae help to detect the proximity of objects
  • Whiskers are used to help detect prey
  • Mother cats may chew the whiskers short or off their kittens, so that they cannot wander off too far (they will grow back)
  • Proper vibrissae do not develop until a cat is 5-6 months old
  • A female cat can be known as a Queen or a Molly – the term Queen is more common for a mother/ nursing cat
  • Males are called Tomcats, and occupy a larger territory than females
  • Cats have scent glands on their face, between their toes, their rump, their shoulders and neck
  • Cats can tell age, gender, and health from smelling the spray of another cat – as well as how long ago the cat made the scent spray
  • This is used to mark territory – and can be done by both genders, neutered or not
  • A cat may spray due to anxiety and stress – even in the home

  • Cats are an altricial species – born blind, deaf, and fur-less (require nourishment and more development after birth before they can move around much on their own)
  • Kittens can get food preferences from their mother whilst in the womb and when suckling
  • Cats are nocturnal or crepuscular hunters – so don’t be surprised if they wander off during the night or dawn/ dusk
  • They have spectacular night vision
  • When you see a cats eyes “shine” in the darkness, this is due to the tapetum behind the the eye which reflects the light
  • If humans had eyes the same size as a cats in comparison to their size, our eyes would be 20cm in diameter!
  • Cats sleep around 15 hours per day – that’s two thirds of their lives!
  • Cats switch between dozing and deep sleeping – sleeping deeply for approximately 5 minutes in between 15-30 minutes of dozing
  • Dozing cats are ready to jump into action if necessary with minimal warning
Zzz
Zzz

 

Summer Cool Down


So it’s meant to be summer (at least soon), but apparently Britain hasn’t got the memo yet!

Even though it’s raining outside, I was thinking of all the things people do to keep cool – air conditioning, going to swimming pools/ parks, ice cream and ice lollies, wearing summer clothes… Often animals are left to fend for themselves; aside from ensuring water is topped up and coats are trimmed.

So here are some other idea to help you keep your pet cool…

  • take off collars in your home and garden – these get sweaty and hot rubbing on the neck of your pet
  • paddling pools on the garden (or smaller pools for smaller pets)
  • ice blocks in water or frozen water (in water bottles) – ensuring fresh water is still available to drink whilst the ice melts
  • partially frozen veggies for your herbivorous pets  (partially so their tongues don’t stick to the veggies)
  • frozen peas are good to drop into your fish tank (especially cold water tanks) for your herbivorous fish
  • frozen (raw) meat for your carnivorous pets
  • providing shade indoors and outdoors – close blinds/ curtains, moving outside enclosures to shaded areas, providing shade at all times of the day
  • keep you pet off hot ground – shoes don’t protect your pets’ paws! – hot pavement is uncomfortable and potentially painful/ damaging to furry feet
  • provide a cool area for your pet to hide from the sun – whether this is ensuring your dog or cat can access the house, or ensuring your rabbit and guinea pig enclosure has a dark, hidden area for them to retreat into
  • avoid metal bowls outside! – porcelain bowls keep water cooler and do not retain heat like metal bowls do (thus keeping the water warm)
  • do not leave your pet shut in a hot car (or room)

 

Keeping cool in the pool
Keeping cool in the pool

Unless you and your pet are living in the same part of Britain as me and you are both unsure of what heat is 😉

If you have any other suggestions, that may be of help to others, please leave a comment below or on one of Ali’s Answers social media pages.

Rabbit Awareness Week


For many years, rabbits were wrongly classified as Rodents – they are not. Rabbits are classified as Lagomorphs. Today, they exist in the wild on every continent except Asia and Antarctica, and exist domestically world-wide.

It’s Rabbit Awareness Week! Enjoy Some Bunny Pictures & Even Check Out My Rabbit Post –
http://alisanswers.com/index.php/2014/03/28/bunny-basics/

Animal Alzheimer’s


Brain ageing happens to our pets as well as us. Alzheimer’s disease and dementia are the degenerative brain diseases that affect humans. The degenerative disease that affects animals is called Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome (CDS).

Animals age in 3 ways:

  1. Successfully – show normal signs of ageing, normal signs of getting older; such as stiffer joints, sleeping more, greying hair…
  2. Loss of ability – deafness, blindness/ cataracts, loss of sense of smell, arthritis, etc.
  3. Neurological impairment – CDS
Older Dog
Older Dog – greying around the muzzle

Signs of CDS can be seen behaviourally; as CDS is only diagnosed by a brain scan, looking out for behavioural signs is the best way to catch it early on – you know your pet and their behaviour best, but seeing a behaviourist (such as myself) can help ease any worries, and help you to know how to help your pet.

One way to look for degenerative behavioural signs is D.I.S.H.

D – disorientation

Pets getting confused as to where they are, despite living many years in the same place; missing doorways, continuing to walk despite being against a wall, bumping into furniture that hasn’t been moved around in years, appearing lost in familiar surroundings, failure to recognise familiar people/ animals/ routine, decreased alertness…

I – interacting less

Not greeting you as enthusiastically, or as often; a playful pet not wanting to play, pets retreating into themselves and becoming reclusive,  withdrawing often from social situations (either with people or other animals), disinterested in being petted/ fussed, no longer asks for attention…

S – sleeping pattern disturbed

Sleeping more during the day (do not go by this alone, as we all sleep more and earlier as we get older!), sleeping less during the night, lying in more (when usually early riser), rising early (when usually lies in), pointless vocalisation during the night, aimless wandering during the night…

H – house training lost

This is seen more in house pets, as you are more familiar with the toilet habits of your house pet than those that live outside or indoors in an enclosure; not asking to go outside to the toilet, frequently has “accidents” in the house, general loss of bowel and bladder control – unable to control when/ where they go…

Aggression, fear, vocalisation, and over-(self-)grooming are also signs that may occur.


 

To keep your pets brain active, alter their daily routine – take different routes when walking your pet, teach them new tricks (yes, older animal scan still learn!), mix things up now and then to keep them guessing and get them thinking and using their brain!


 

A combination of these behaviours as well as being an older animals could indicate CDS –  these behaviours can be behavioural problems and not necessarily neurological – always consult your vet for diagnosis.

Smallest Species – Bird, Reptile, Amphibian


Bee Hummingbird – the smallest bird in the world
  • Approximately 5-6 cm in length (from tip of bill to end of tail)
  • This species weighs approximately 1.6-2.6 g
  • Males are smaller than females, on average being 5.5 cm in length and 1.6 g in weight
  • Females are the larger of the species, on average being 6.2 cm in length and 2.6 g in weight
  • Mainly found in Cuba
  • Their wings can beat up to 200 times per second
  • They will visit an average of 1,500 flowers daily
  • These tiny birds must eat half their total body mass (and drink eight times their total body mass) every day to support their high metabolism
  • A solitary species, exceptions made only during breeding times
Jaragua Sphaero a.k.a. Dwarf Gecko – the smallest reptile in the world
  • This little gecko is only 0.6-0.8 inches in length; averaging a length of 0.63 inches
  • It weighs just 0.00455 of an ounce!
  • This species lives in the Caribbean; many in the protected Jaragua National Park
  • This is a very endangered species – threatened with extinction!
  • It is a terrestrial species, spending most of the day on the floor hiding in undergrowth
  • They do, however, spend their nights sleeping off the ground (hopefully away from predators!)
  • The Virgin Islands dwarf gecko is a very similar size measuring an average size of 0.71 inches in length
  • These 2 lizards are the smallest of the 23,000 species in the group Amniotes (all reptiles, birds and mammals)
Paedophryne amauensis (frog) – the smallest amphibian in the world
  • Also the smallest of all vertebrates
  • Has no common name, only the scientific name
  • From Papua New Guinea; lives amongst leaf litter in rainforests
  • Average size is 0.27 inches in length
  • The males are smaller than the females when fully grown
  • Discovered in 2009; officially announced in 2012
  • Discovered by Christopher Austin
  • They fill a small species specific, ecological niche
  • They can jump 30 times longer than their body size

 

“Did You Know?” 20 Random Mammal Facts


With the A-Z of Dog Breeds series finished, I thought I’d do a post about nothing too specific – so here’s a bunch of random facts about a wide range of mammal species (domestic and wild). Enjoy!


“Did You Know?”
  1. Shrews have to eat every couple of hours, otherwise they will starve
  2. Only 3 mammals go through menopause – humans, elephants, and humpback whales.
  3. Humpback whales can make the loudest noise of all mammals (not that kid behind you on the plane!)
  4. Each ear of a cat has 32 muscles, and the ears can move independently of each other
  5. A giraffe’s tongue is prehensile, blue,/black in colour and approximately 20 inches in length!
  6. The cheetah can reach up to 70 mph
  7. African Wild Hunting Dogs (African Painted Dogs) ensure their young eat first, unlike most wild predatory species
  8. The hippo is the second heaviest land mammal; elephants being the first
  9. Rhinoceros means “nose horn” (rhin – nose; ceros – horn)
  10. A pony is up to 14.1 hands high (144.78 cm), a horse is 14.2 hh (147.32 cm) and taller
  11. There are more than 4,200 species of mammals!
  12. The stripes on tigers and zebras are unique to the individual – no 2 patterns are alike; like human fingerprints
  13. The Sun Bear is the smallest of all bear species (the koala bear is not a bear but a marsupial)
  14. The Narwhal tusk is actually a large, protruding tooth
  15. Caribou are also known as Reindeer
  16. The Musk deer, the Muntjac, the Chinese water deer and the Korean water deer all have fangs (or tusks) instead of antlers – Google Image search them; quite odd looking!
  17. Przewalski’s horse is the only true wild horse species left in the wild
  18. The Saiga Antelope has an enlarged nose that hangs down over its mouth
  19. The Jaguarundi is a species of wild cat that is often mistaken for a mustelid, as it bares the appearance of mustelid species; such as the Stoat and the Weasel.
  20. The only mammal that can fly is a bat (and Batman of course)


I hope that you found the random mammal facts interesting – if you want any more information, or have any questions, please feel free to ask in the ‘thoughts’ box below or on the comments page, or via social media sites
– Facebook, Google+, Twitter or LinkedIn.