This blog has covered many relevant topics on pets as a whole - but I'll be honest, thus far dogs dominate the main focus. So this week I have summoned the crazy cat lady inside to talk about, well, cats! In the world of cats, the latest scoop reveals that now cats can take their own customized personality tests, conducted by researchers at the University of South Australia.
What kind of personality does your cat have?
Owners of 2,800 cats in New Zealand and Australia ranked their cats on a scale of 1 to 7 on 52 different behaviors. So really, the test was taken by their humans, but the research was able to discover distinct personality types in our feline companions. Just like how we psychologically have traits and archetypes that compose our personalities, cats have these as well. The "Big Five" traits are skittishness, outgoingness, dominance, spontaneity, and friendliness.
This is the first personality study to use results from such a large sample of domestic cats. A significant amount of participating kitties fell in the middle of the spectrum on most traits, with little variation between genders, or indoor vs. outdoor. Hopefully American cats will be able to take part in the personality research soon, as Karin Brulliard from The Washington Post reports that researchers in North Carolina are looking to expand the study to the states!
Above: Martingale Collars from Up Country, Inc.
As we start stocking martingale dog collars, we get the inevitable question: What is a martingale dog collar?
At a first glance they might look like weird tiny harnesses or something fancy and just for show. I mean, why two loops? That's confusing! If the information is not available, browsing a whole wall of dog collar designs can understandably become a lot harder than it might sound. All good collars are made depending on size and specific breed or breed groups. Martingales are no different, and are steadily gaining popularity in the dog world.
Above: DIY Martingale Collar from My So Called Crafty Life
Martingale collars were created as the solution for sighthounds that easily slip out of regular buckle collars. These types of dogs, such as a Greyhound or Whippet, have necks larger than their head, resulting in easy escapes. The signature of a martingale is the two loops, the large loop that goes around the neck, and the smaller, 'control' loop. The leash attaches to the small loop, and when a dog pulls, the smaller loop is pulled taut, and the large loop becomes tighter on the neck. The dog is not choked, but the collar stays fitted around the neck until pressure is released. This comes in handy for fast, thin sighthounds, but is also highly recommended as a training collar. At rest, a martingale fits looser than most other collars, which helps prevent skin irritation. They are also recommended as alternatives to standard choke collars, as the tightening sends a gentler message of correction. The pressure is also evenly distributed around the neck, as opposed to directly on the trachea.
Martingale collars get their name from their similarity to certain horse tacks that are also known as martingales. The design of horse martingales prevents them from raising their head dangerously while being ridden.
Martingale dog collars should not be worn 24 / 7, since there is risk of the second loop getting caught on various objects. Outside the home, martingales are the perfect option for active sighthounds, dogs undergoing obedience training, and dogs that need to avoid pressure in their trachea area for medical reasons.
If interested, check out this DIY Martingale Collar tutorial for a completely unique, hand-made look!
Pet parents often find themselves bonding over that one quirk that is leaving on the radio for their pets during the day. Why do we do this? Sure, as humans we enjoy feeling that rhythm and singing along to our favorite songs, but what do dogs think of all the noise coming from those speakers?
The answer is dogs DO like music. What kind? Well, their taste is apparently more sophisticated than talk shows or pop tunes. Animal behaviorist Deborah Wells studied the preferences of our pooches and discovered that they appreciated the relaxing sounds of classical music. However, it is not all about the genre, but rather the specific pitches, tones, and tempos. Charles Snowdon, an animal psychologist from the University of Wisconsin, called this "species specific music", where most species will enjoy music that matches the pitches and tones of their own vocal ranges, and tempos that match their heartbeats.
Of course people like music that is made by and for humans - our hearts can synchronize with the beat of the bass, and aside from autotune, vocals are guaranteed to match our normal perception of pitches and tones. Classical music may capture the attention of dogs since it eliminates all of our extra "weird" noises. The variety of sound from musical instruments can also please high-pitched squeakers to deep-throated barkers.
When music is personalized for a dog's ears, it resembles classic compositions with ambient noises of other dogs, animals, and even human conversation. These musical pieces additionally offer a therapeutic benefit for dogs, and will often be played in shelters to ease stress and promote relaxation, especially during storms or holiday fireworks. Live Science reported on a study by musician Alianna Boone, in which harp music was played for hospitalized dogs. The findings resulted in lowered heart rates, which suggests that listening to music may aid in a dog's recovery.
If you are interested in listening to one of these canine melodies, it might be worth looking into if your dog is nervous or afraid of thunderstorms. And yes, there is specific music for cats as well!
So sit back, relax, and listen to some tunes. ♫
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