Monthly Archives: December 2014

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voxWho would have guessed that the big research questions of 2014 would be all about cats (okay, I’m biased)? Do cats really love us? Do they recognize our voices? Do they hate petting? Why do they love boxes? Does anyone understand them (even our vets?)? Why are cats so mysterious???

the cutI wrote about several cat studies that came out in the last year or so: on whether cats ignore us when they hear our voices, whether cat bites are related to depression, whether play can prevent behavior problems, how people feel about stray cats, how little veterinarians know about cat behavior, and of course the yet-unpublished study claiming that cats aren’t attached to us.

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What? Last Friday Faves of 2014?

Did Santa leave an assault course for your backyard squirrels?

One of my fave blogs, GrrlScientist, proposes a squirrel maze as a lovely alternative to the chemistry set as a family science project. I couldn't agree more!

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This week's cute and bizarre

We humans are a little self-obsessed, we just love images of squirrels doing things we do

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sqlordsI think maybe if I used recreational drugs, this video would have been even funnier. I can’t even really understand it.

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Connecting technology, movement and emotion to study animals

Scientists are using accelerometers on various animals - from cockroaches to elephants - and correlating their movements with positive or negative experiences. So far they have found significant differences in how animals move their bodies during positive or negative states. This potentially gives us new, non-invasive tools for studying animal emotions! So cool! Now tell me, what does my Fitbit say about my mental state?

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Dogs + Humping: Match made in heaven

Leave it to two of my science-blogging faves, DogSpies and BuzzHootRoar to bring us the top reasons that dogs hump, complete with animated GIFs. We can all just go home now, science journalism is done.

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Does your kitty have a history? Photo by Galawebdesign via Wikipedia/Creative Commons

I think most of us who adopt a kitty from a shelter (especially if they are an adult) wonder about their past life, before we brought them home. Who fed them? Were they born under a bed or under a bridge? But how important is it to adopters to know that their cat previously lived in a home, with people? A new study, "Is There a Bias Against Stray Cats in Shelters?" suggests that there might be a bias against stray cats with an unknown history.

The authors of the paper, Kathryn  Dybdall and Rosemary Strasser, did three studies. In the first, they examined shelter records of adult adoptable cats (12 months or older) who had been listed as either owner-surrender or stray. Owner-surrender cats tended to be adopted on average in 26 days, compared to 32 days for stray cats.

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What's the science behind your relationship with your cat?

catpplAre cat people just a little different? Do we relate to our pets a little differently too? Yes. I wrote on this subject for the Dodo many months ago, and was interviewed for this excellent piece by Gwynn Guilford that was released this week on Quartz (qz.com).

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All the squirrel news that's "fit to print" - squirrels got busy in November!

 Squirrels love the holiday season!

cinciEvery year, the Cincinatti Zoo has a “Festival of Lights” – with millions of beautiful lights for their holiday festival. The squirrels historically chewed the wires and removed light bulbs – burying them as if they were nuts – leaving the zoo to switch to LED and not hang the lights until the very last minute. The video is pretty awesome.

Squirrel damage seems to be a theme in the news these days, with this article: “Squirrels are cute until they cause property damage” which outlines the many ways squirrels can damage your attic, trees, and bird feeders.

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