The Battle of Cats vs. Dogs

Source: Parade.com

 Great and interesting article...

Which of America’s favorite pets is top dog (or the cat’s meow) when it comes to smarts and skills?
We turned to science to put the age-old rivalry to the test. 

Which Have More Stamina?

The sled dogs that compete in Alaska’s annual Iditarod run about 1,100 miles in less than two weeks, often in temperatures as low as -40 degrees F. “They use  fat as their primary energy source—far better than any other athletic species that’s been studied,” says exercise physiologist Michael Davis, who notes that a 55-pound husky can burn as many as 12,000 calories a day. Davis’s research has also shown that sled dogs have an enormous capacity to process oxygen. Cats are more like sprinters: They’re capable of short bursts of energy but lack the aerobic endurance of ultra-runners like huskies.
Winner: DOGS

Which Are More Agile?

“Cats are very nimble, with great balance,” says New York City veterinarian Michael Garvey. “When a cat falls off a bookshelf, it usually lands on its feet.” And when cats take a longer plunge, their body control is even more on display. “Cats that fall large distances typically don’t land on their feet, but given enough time, they are able to right themselves. They contort their bodies so they are falling flat, which allows them to land on their chest and belly, reducing their injuries,” says Garvey. He should know: He’s the former director of an animal hospital in Manhattan that treated up to 250 falling felines each summer. He and his colleagues cataloged the injuries and discovered a surprising trend: Cats that fell from higher than 10 stories up actually fared better than those that fell from between five and nine stories. Garvey believes the added height gives cats the time to position themselves for a perfectly splayed-out landing. “I’ve seen cats that have fallen more than 32 stories and didn’t have serious fractures,” says Garvey, who conducted a follow-up study on dogs. “Sadly, most dogs that fall even four stories don’t survive, because they lack the ability to compose their bodies midair.”
Winner: CATS

Which Are Better Hunters?

Many kinds of dogs have been meticulously bred to assist humans in hunting, but cats are arguably more effective as independent assassins. “Some dogs will chase squirrels all day long, but if they do get one cornered, they often won’t know what to do with it,” says animal behaviorist Monique Udell, who has worked with both cats and dogs. “Cats will almost always go in for the kill.” Cats’ superior close-range and nighttime vision contributes to their hunting prowess, as does their ability to focus intensely on the task at hand. In fact, their skill as hunters has been documented: A 2010 University of Nebraska report found that feral and stray cats kill as many as 480 million birds in the U.S. each year—that’s approximately eight Tweeties for each Sylvester.
Winner: CATS

Which Are Hardest Working?

Both cats and dogs were originally brought into the human fold for practical reasons (cats to kill vermin, dogs to hunt and to herd). But these days, dogs have by far the more diverse résumé. Their job skills are almost as wide-ranging as humans’: Dogs guide the blind, chase down criminals, and sniff out illegal drugs. They’re called in to detect termites, to identify gas leaks, and even to help schoolchildren with ADHD concentrate. (They’re still pretty good at herding cows and sheep, too!) Meanwhile, though cats are sometimes recruited to control rodents, in general they lack dogs’ versatility—and drive. According to a recent study, the average house cat spends 80 percent of the day in repose.

Winner: DOGS

Which Live the Longest?

Cats have an average life span of 13 or 14 years, as opposed to just shy of 11 years for their canine rivals. “For dogs, there’s a huge difference depending on the size of the animal—the really large dogs tend to have considerably shorter lives,” explains Stanley Coren, an animal behaviorist. “A Newfoundland is quite old by the time he’s 8 or 9. A miniature poodle might live for 14 or 15 years.” For cats, the main age variable is environment—outdoor cats don’t live nearly as long as indoor cats, which have been known to survive for more than two decades.
Winner: CATS

Which Are the Fastest?

Greyhounds are capable of running 40 miles per hour—making them by far the speediest pet of either species. (The Greyhound Project, Adopt-a-Greyhound.org, works to ensure that retired racers find good homes.) “In general, the fastest animals tend to have fairly small guts, slender heads, and light limbs,” says Jim Usherwood, a British researcher who studies animal locomotion. And while some cats in the wild—like cheetahs, which can reach a top speed of 65 miles per hour—meet these physical criteria, house cats do not. Among Usherwood’s most interesting findings is that, unlike human runners, greyhounds don’t slow down at all as they round a bend. The motion of their legs is similar to that of a bicycle wheel, which keeps a constant speed through a turn. Studies haven’t proved whether domestic cats employ a similar running style, in part because they generally can’t be cajoled into galloping around a track. But when they are motivated to take off, cats run a (relatively) close second—they’ve been clocked at up to 30 miles per hour.
Winner: DOGS

Which Are the Most Independent?

Most domestic dogs need lots of human attention, relying on their two-legged masters to regulate their meals, supervise their exercise, keep them clean, and generally shower them with love and affection. Cats, on the other hand, are happy to be left on their own. “Dogs were domesticated to interact with people—to live with people, to hunt with people, to protect people, to herd with people,” says Udell. “Cats were domesticated to chase around rats—no supervision required.” As a result, “many of a house cat’s ancestral behavioral patterns related to hunting, cleaning, and even burying their waste are still intact,” she says. However, for many breeds of pet dogs, similar survival mechanisms—like the instinct to chase and kill other animals—have been bred out.
Winner: CATS

Which Have the Better Sense of Smell?

The human nose has about 5 million olfactory receptors, microscopic proteins that allow us to detect odors. With 45 million to 80 million receptors, cats have a far better sense of smell—but they can’t measure up to the average dog, whose snout holds between 149 million and 300 million receptors. The canine sense of smell may be a thousand times better than ours, and so discerning that dogs can not only track a missing person but distinguish whether he recently had a meal or smoked a cigarette. Historically, dogs relied on their superior snouts to find prey and avoid predators. These days, dogs are trained to sniff out everything from bedbug infestations to the chemical changes that indicate early-stage cancer.
Winner: DOGS

Which Are Smarter?

There are many ways of sizing up what’s going on inside our pets’ furry heads; scientists have tried to assess such areas as communication, trainability, and complexity of thought. Sorry, cat lovers, but in just about every measure, dogs come out on top. “The average dog can learn 165 words; that’s equivalent to the vocabulary of a 2-year-old child,” says Coren, whose surveys have found that border collies, poodles, German shepherds, and golden retrievers are the brainiest breeds. “Cats can learn something in the vicinity of 35 words.” (The smartest feline may be the Maine coon.) Dogs are also far easier to train and have a greater capacity for complex thought. A recent study found that pet dogs observe and learn from human behavior to such an extent that they won’t bother to beg for food while their owner is reading a book. Earlier work has shown that dogs understand the concept of “object permanence” (when a ball rolls underneath a sofa, for instance, dogs know that it still exists—it’s just hidden from view). Cats also have this ability but aren’t able to predict where the rolling ball will reappear, for example, as well as dogs can. And while Coren concedes that more research needs to be done on cats, he notes that cats evolved as loners, a factor that doesn’t favor intelligence. “Generally speaking, animals [like dogs] that have a complex social life and work in groups tend to be brighter.”
Winner: DOGS

The Verdict:

Looks like dogs are ahead by a nose, but as our experts have shown, each animal has its own special talents.


Giveaway: Pet First Aid Kits & Collapsible Water Bowls

Giveaway! Pet First Aid Kits & Collapsible Water Bowls!

Irresistible Pets is currently having a giveaway sponsored by VPI Pet Insurance and All YOU magazine for 10 Pet First Aid Kits & Collapsible Water Bowls.  It doesn't take too much effort, just a bit of research and a simple post to enter.  Feel free to visit Irresistible Pets for more information on this exciting giveaway!

Product Review: H2O4K9 25oz. Stainless Steel Dog Bottle & Bowl

Product: H2O4K9 25oz. Stainless Steel Dog Bottle & Bowl
Price: $19.95
Info: An eco-friendly stylish stainless steel bottle with an integrated dog-friendly 'bowl' cap system
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Paws

To be honest, I have never thought about carrying water for my dogs during walks.  Though, I suppose I should have given the burning hot weather going on this summer (especially living in humid South!)  Typically though, the walks generally are around the neighborhood and lasts about 15-45 minutes.  However, I can say that my dogs seem to have a bad habit of drinking water from questionable sources a lot of times instead of drinking the NICE CLEAN water I set out, they prefer the stagnant rain water from a hole in the ground.  In fact, I believe one of my dogs obtained coccidia AND giardia from drinking out of a stagnant pond that likely had dead stuff in it.  As such, I thought the H2O4K9 water bottle may serve as a solution to this issue during trips away from home.

Unlike any other stainless steel (SS) bottles on the market, this one has been specifically designed for dogs.  As such, it bears a unique cap design that doubles as a drinking bowl that holds approximately 8.5oz. of water per serving.  It comes with a sturdy carabiner attached so you could easily hook it onto a backpack, harness, or belt loop.  In addition, it is available in many bold and vivid colors to boot!  A neoprene sling accessory is also available that will help insulate the bottle to keep it colder.  I didn't opt for one, but now in afterthought, I probably should have since Spock (Rat Terrier) will probably never be able to carry a 25oz. bottle by himself, LOL.  It should be noted that H2O4K9 did have a 9.5oz. bottle available as well; however, I did not purchase it because it seems to lack a way to 'hook' onto something to carry like the 25oz. bottle (no hole in the cap, no carabiner). 

Compared to my personal SS water bottles, this one seems to be on par in terms of build quality with many other brands.  The only one that I know that is noticeable heavier/sturdier are the CamelBak SS bottles.  Though the differences could be due to two reasons: Insulated design of the CamelBak SS bottles and the use of 18/8 food grade stainless steel in the H2O4K9 bottles.  Unlike many brands though, the H2O4K9 was designed in such a way that it has a very nice 'feel' to it when held.
As you can see on Leila's harness, the bottles are attached on either side comfortable.  Personally for me, it would be great if it could be slightly shorter (or Leila could get slightly taller) as to provide better ground clearance.  I found that it occasionally came to bang against trees/posts (namely the bottom of the bottles as it swung back and forth) during walks however the durability was solid so it's really not a concern.
Drinking from the bowl cap was great and simple as opening the bottle and pouring it into the cap.  As you can see even Leila's massive jowls are accommodated by the cap.  Unfortunately, it still does not prevent her from splashing water everywhere (she's a really messy drinker!).  

My only concerns consists of relatively minor issues.  Due to its design, the plastic cap becomes thinner as tapers into its scoop design.  I'm sure it's sturdy, though I wonder its durability after everyday wear-and-tear including impact against objects or accidentally 'drops'.  Most regular SS bottles would not have this issue due to their very basic and simple cap design (little room to break into pieces).  A warranty or replacement cap option would easily solve this issue though.  The other issue was based on quality control.  One of the bottles I purchased had what looks like paint residue/chips stuck on the inside of the bottle (it matched the same color as the bottle).  I tried washing it with soap and water but it was still there, I may have to try at it again with a bottle brush.  Additionally, I received a 'nice' cut from the scoop cap end when I twisted it open for the first time.  Upon further inspection, it seems like it had a fine sharp edge along the edges of the extended ledge of the scoop cap.  Again, this is not a major issue and can easily be remedied with better mold casts or light sanding prior to shipment (or maybe it was just my particular bottle cap).

  • Durable yet lightweight
  • Distinctive color options 
  • Ergonomic bottle design
  • 'Free' carabiner
  • Functional integrated cap/bowl system
  • Neoprene sling option (insulation increases duration of cold water)
  • Long-term durability of plastic cap
  • Quality Control

For More Information:
Disclosure: I was not paid for my review and all opinions are entirely my own.


Woman ties puppies to fence outside Southern Pines Animal Shelter

Source: Hattiesburg American
Hattiesburg, MS

Unfortunate local event that led to the suicide of one puppy and euthanization of its 10 siblings.  Why in the world could she not have waited until the next day when it was open?!  Ridiculous, nice job ma'am.

The article has been copied here for your convenience:
HPD seeks woman who tied puppies to shelter fence
Southern Pines Animal Shelter and the Hattiesburg Police Department are looking for a woman who tied 11 puppies to a fence at the shelter Sunday night.

Shelter employee Elizabeth Swann said one of the puppies hanged itself during the night, and the other 10 had to be euthanized because of the injuries sustained from being tied to the fence.

"We showed up for work at 7:30 in the morning (Monday)," Swann said. "They had been tied with plastic twine - each and every one of them had it tied around their neck tight to the fence."

Shelter manager Lara Hudson said she had to euthanize the other 10 shepherd mix puppies Monday.
"(They) had their collars embedded so far into their necks that they weren't savable," she said.

Hudson said the woman who tied the puppies to the fence was caught on videotape. She said a police report has been filed with the Hattiesburg Police Department.

HPD spokesman Lt. Eric Proulx said the report is currently filed as a misdemeanor animal cruelty charge, but that the report has yet to be officially approved.

He said the report states that a white female with brown hair who is approximately 250 pounds was seen on the tape tying the puppies to the fence.

The misdemeanor carries a maximum penalty of six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.
A new state law passed in the 2011 legislative session changes the rules on how animal cruelty cases are prosecuted as they relate to domesticated cats and dogs.

The new law states anyone who intentionally tortures, burns, starves or disfigures a dog or cat can be charged with aggravated cruelty, which would remain a misdemeanor on a first offense. Another offense within five years would be a felony.

"I wish there were stronger laws in the state of Mississippi to protect from this," Hudson said. "This was a hideous, horrible crime."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


About Tails of the South

This blog is about the randomness of four distinctive pets living in 'urban' Mississippi.  Introducing the pack:
Leila, the diva princess Boxer dog

Rhys, the attention-starved alpha Savannah cat

Nashota, the aloof and strangers-hating Bengal cat

Spock, the exuberant and mischievous Rat Terrier puppy

The blog will also cover various pet issues including but not limited to the following: news, training tips, informative articles, giveaways, and product reviews (with an emphasis on local and regional affairs if possible).  Ironically, I'm not quite sure whether Leila's docked tail or Spock's natural bobtail can really count as 'tails'...but hey, who's really keeping count anyways right?