What’s the point of the “catnip response”?

What’s the point of the “catnip response”?

New research suggests it helps protect cats from mosquitos! Cats who respond to olfactory stimulation via plants (e.g., catnip, silver vine) often show a classic response that usually consists of rubbing, chewing and rolling in or around the plant. We’ve all wondered for decades WHAT exactly this behavior means. The rolling and rubbing looks like …
Cat facial expressions are affected by breed: Why there are implications for cat welfare

Cat facial expressions are affected by breed: Why there are implications for cat welfare

People often describe cats as a bit inscrutable and hard to read; in part, this is because cats have fewer facial muscles and fewer facial expressions. The expressions they do make are not necessarily like those of humans, so it may be challenging for humans to read them! Put on your scientist hat for a …
Should you “slow blink” at your cat?

Should you “slow blink” at your cat?

Science says probably! In the time that we have lived together with cats (for the last four to ten thousand years), it’s not surprising that we have developed specialized ways of communicating with one another. Cats retain the juvenile behavior of meowing (something that kittens do to mom, but adult cats rarely do with one …
Does being orphaned increase stress in kittens?

Does being orphaned increase stress in kittens?

Our new study says yes. For the past few years, I’ve been working at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, where I’m a postdoctoral researcher. One area of focus for my research has been the health and behavior of orphaned neonatal kittens (neonatal refers to kittens less than three weeks of age). This is …
How do you feel about fat cats?

How do you feel about fat cats?

Owner attitudes are related to their own cat’s weight Recent surveys of veterinary professionals indicate that around 60% of cats who come to a veterinary practice are either overweight or obese. Feline overweight and obesity (here on out, referred to as O&O) are known risk factors for health problems, including diabetes, joint disease, and heart …
Cats eating humans redux: a clowder will devour

Cats eating humans redux: a clowder will devour

It was almost a year ago that I reported on a study revealing scavenging patterns of feral cats outside of a forensic investigation station. These stations often research the changes that exposed human bodies undergo during decomposition, which is of great value to solving crimes and estimating details such as time of death. I knew …