Cats, once again, fail to contrafreeload

What is contrafreeloading? In the 1960s scientists discovered that laboratory rats liked to work for food. Rather than eat food from a bowl, rats chose to press a lever that would release of food pellets, even when they had to press the lever several times before food was available. They named this behavior “contrafreeloading” — …

Is your cat’s butt touching everything in your house? This young scientist tried to find out

Last week, a story about Kaeden, who did his school science project on whether cat butts touch the surfaces of your home, showed up in my Facebook feed. I was immediately (1) laughing (2) a little jealous I didn’t think of the research question myself and (3) super impressed with this scientific endeavor which addressed …

Should Persian cats be extreme?

New research looks at what’s really going on with their faces. Although cats have lived with humans for thousands of years now, it hasn’t been until the last 150 years or so that humans started selectively breeding cats. Cats with certain physical features were chosen for breeding, resulting in the myriad of cat breeds that …

Can you convince cats to stop hunting? A new study finds that food and play might help.

What gets cats to bring less prey home. Cats. Born to be wild, obligate carnivores and relentless predators. Folks who allow their cats outdoor access often complain about their cats’ killer habits – especially when they bring dead birds and rodents home. Many people are also concerned about the potential impact of cats on native …

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

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 …