Lori M Teller, Texas A&M University When one of my co-workers found out about a tiny, orphaned kitten that needed a home a few months ago, he didn’t hesitate to adopt it. He says his new companion helped make the months of COVID-19 isolation at home much less stressful.
Author Archives: The Conversation
Is your cat in pain? Its facial expression could hold a clue
Lauren Finka, Nottingham Trent University They say that eyes are windows to the soul. Indeed, research suggests this might also be true for our four-legged friends. Since the days of our most celebrated natural historian, Charles Darwin, humans have been interested in how animals communicate via their facial expressions, and how different species might express …
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It’s very unlikely your cat has coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2), and if it does, it probably won’t spread it
Willie Weir, University of Glasgow Since the outset of the coronavirus pandemic, the potential role of animals in catching and spreading the disease has been closely examined by scientists. This is because the virus that causes COVID-19 belongs to the family of coronaviruses that cause disease in a variety of mammals.
Australia’s war on feral cats: shaky science, missing ethics
William Lynn, Clark University In July 2015, the Australian government announced a “war on feral cats,” with the intention of killing over two million felines by 2020. The threat abatement plan to enforce this policy includes a mix of shooting, trapping, and a reputedly “humane” poison.
How to keep your indoor cat happy, according to science
Mark Farnworth, Nottingham Trent University and Lauren Finka, Nottingham Trent University By 2030, 60% of the world’s population will live in cities, while one in three will share their city with at least half a million other inhabitants. With more and more people living in dense urban settings, what does the future hold for pets?
Hong Kong dog caused panic – but you don’t need to worry about pets spreading COVID-19
Sarah L Caddy, University of Cambridge A Pomeranian dog in Hong Kong grabbed the international media’s attention this week after scientists found traces of coronavirus in the canine. Following confirmation that the dog’s owner was positive for the virus causing COVID-19, the dog was taken from Hong Kong Island to a nearby animal quarantine facility. …
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How to stroke a cat, according to science
Lauren Finka, Nottingham Trent University Many of us will have experienced that super friendly cat who seems to love being stroked one minute, only to bite or swipe at us the next. It might be easy at this point to blame it on the cat, but what’s likely happening here is that we’re just not …
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Do cats purr when humans aren’t around?
Jan Hoole, Keele University Why do cats purr? Humans tend to think that purring is a sign of happiness in a cat – and indeed it can be – but there are other reasons why our feline friends produce this particular vocalisation. Purring is a habit that develops very early in a cat’s life, while …
Ancient DNA reveals how cats conquered the world
Humans may have had pet cats for as long as 9,500 years. In 2004, archaeologists in Cyprus found a complete cat skeleton buried in a Stone Age village. Given that Cyprus has no native wildcats, the animal (or perhaps its ancestors) must have been brought to the island by humans all those millennia ago. Jan …
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