For most of the 20th century, animals weren’t allowed to have emotions. Your dog didn’t actually love you—it (and it was an “it” back then) was just a stimulus–response machine conditioned to act a specific way in a specific situation, says today’s Valentine edition of Wired Science. “Scientists who said otherwise—that animals actually had minds capable of thoughts and emotions—were accused of ‘anthropomorphizing’ and ridiculed by their peers. Even researchers as famous as chimp specialist Jane Goodall spent years sitting on evidence that animals could do more than just salivate at the sound of a bell.
‘But over time, that bias waned. Just consider the first sentence (and the title) of Virginia Morell’s new book, Animal Wise: The Thoughts and Emotions of Our Fellow Creatures: ‘Animals have minds.’ Continue reading “A valentine from the cat”
We know this but don’t often admit it: cats are killing machines
In all fairness, some of us like our cats for this reason – ridding our houses rodents or other pests, or at least deterring them. But if you are really, really sensitive about the issue of animal cruelty, letting kitty prowl about outside puts lots of birds and small animals at risk. A story on NPR exposed the ugly details about this. Millions of details, as it turns out:
“Previous studies had suggested that cats kill about 500 million birds a year. Marra’s group came up with something very different. ‘We estimate that cats kill somewhere between 1.4 and 3.7 billion birds a year,’ Pete Marra says. ‘For mammals, it’s upward of about 15 billion.’ Continue reading “American cats kill billions of birds”
Yes, Holly the cat found her way home, covering 200 miles in two months.
No one can figure out how the indoor housecat pulled it off.
Even scientists are baffled by how Holly, a 4-year-old tortoiseshell who in early November became separated from Jacob and Bonnie Richter at an R.V. rally in Daytona Beach, Fla., appeared on New Year’s Eve — staggering, weak and emaciated — in a backyard about a mile from the Richters’ house in West Palm Beach, reports the New York Times
“’Are you sure it’s the same cat?’ wondered John Bradshaw, director of theUniversity of Bristol’s Anthrozoology Institute. In other cases, he has suspected, ‘the cats are just strays, and the people have got kind of a mental justification for expecting it to be the same cat.’ Continue reading “Holly’s incredible journey”