Members from the Scottish Marine Animal Strandings Scheme (SMASS) were called upon to investigate a deceased sperm whale found on Scotland’s Luskentyre Beach.
When they arrived on the scene 48-hours-later, the experts dissected the animal to attempt to figure out what exactly was the cause of death. And in a Facebook post, they said it was not clear if the “litter” did or did not contribute to the whale’s death.
“In this whale’s stomach was approximately 100kg [220 lbs.] of marine debris — a whole range of plastic including sections of net, bundles of rope, plastic cups, bags, gloves, packing straps and tubing,” the post read. “All this material was in a huge ball in the stomach and some of it looked like it had been there for some time.”
“The animal wasn’t in particularly poor condition, and whilst it is certainly plausible that this amount of debris was a factor in its live stranding, we actually couldn’t find evidence that this had impacted or obstructed the intestines,” the post continued. “This amount of plastic in the stomach is nonetheless horrific, must have compromised digestion, and serves to demonstrate, yet again, the hazards that marine litter and lost or discarded fishing gear can cause to marine life.”
The locals who originally found the carcass called the SMASS, informing the BBC how marine pollution was constant issue in the area.
“We walk on these beaches nearly every day and I always take a bag to pick up litter, most of which is fishing-related,” shares local, Dan Parry. “This stuff could have easily been netting or the like lost in a storm, we just don’t know, but it does show the scale of the problem we have with marine pollution.”
The waste found in the whale’s stomach, according to the SMASS, likely came from both the “land and fishing sectors.”
But SMASS is not finished with their investigation quite yet.
“We are looking in more detail to see if we can work out quite why this animal ended up with so much of it in its stomach,” their post read.
On Monday, November 25th, Violet the Siamese cat was found in Illinois. The cat’s rescuers quickly realized the stray cat had been taken in before as she had a “very sweet” nature.
But that wasn’t all the rescuers found.
A note tied around Violet’s pink collar was also found when she arrived at the Effingham County Animal Shelter that appeared to be written by a child, addressing the cat’s new owners.
The note read:
“Bye Violet. I think that name chose you. I wish I could keep you. Bye Violet, I hope you get a good owner. To owner: Please take good care of her. By the way, I named her. Thank you! Love, Lacey.”
The letter broke many hearts, with an animal control officer, Vanessa Skavlem sharing with The Dodo:
“When we pulled it off and read it it just tugs at your heartstrings. I just envision some child loving this thing, and knowing that they can’t keep it.”
And when the shelter scanned the animal for a microchip, it came back negative. So instead, they posted a photo of Violet along with the note on social media — hoping it would lead her to her next forever home.
Cindy Murray then saw the post and her eyes quickly filled with tears. She could tell the little girl loved Violet but was not able to take care of her anymore.
Cindy then explained what happened next:
“I screenshotted the post and sent it to my husband at work, and said, ‘I want to go get this cat. I love it — talk me out of it.’ And he said, ‘You know I can’t do that. If you want it, go get it.’”
After visiting the cat in the shelter, Cindy realized she was nervous and decided to bring her home that very same day. But once Violet was in a loving environment, she began to relax and has been purring constantly.
Cindy now hopes to reach out to the little girl who cared so deeply about Violet that she wrote a note for her new owner — and is even considering posting a video online in the hope that it reaches her.
Her message is as follows:
“Dear Lacey, I adopted your beautiful Violet. She’s going to have a wonderful life — full of treats, snuggles and everything we can give her.”
The “oldest confirmed dog” in all of history has been found frozen in ice and he is a ripe 18,000-years-old.
Scientists Love Dalén, 44, along with Dave Stanton, 34, have revealed amazing photos of the dog who was found in ice in Siberia last summer.
The two who are from Stockholm in Sweden have spent over a year analyzing the animal but are not 100 percent certain if it is a young dog or a young wolf as he is from a time where dogs became domesticated.
The dog was discovered in a remote part of north-east Siberia a few hours from the nearest town Belaya Gora and is currently in Russia, while Love and Dave study one of its ribs in Sweden.
A professor of evolutionary genetics, Love said:
“It’s pretty special because you’re holding it and it really feels like a very recently dead animal. But you think about it and this was an animal that lived with cave lions and mammoths and woolly rhinos. So it’s pretty awesome.”
“It was amazingly well-preserved even before they cleaned it up. [When we found it] we didn’t know how old it was. They said they found it in the permafrost but it happens that things get frozen in there that are only a few hundred years old or even a few decades.”
“We were excited about it but we had a healthy dose of [skepticism] until we radiocarbon dated it. Obviously when we got the results that it was 18,000 years old, that changes everything…Eighteen thousand years ago is an interesting time period where we think a lot of stuff is happening with both wolves and dogs genetically.”
“I had assumed that what we’d find was that this was a wolf. But we recently got our first round of results on the genome and we can’t say if it’s a dog or a wolf. We should be able to – it should be easy.”
“We cannot separate it from a modern wolf, Pleistocene [Ice Age] wolf or dog. One reason why it might be difficult to say is because this one is right there at the divergence time.”
“So, it could be a very early modern wolf or very early dog or a late Pleistocene wolf.”
“If it turns out to be a dog, I would say it is the earliest confirmed dog.”
A fellow researcher, Dave, believes the dog is in good shape as it was found inside a tunnel that was dug into the permafrost.
“It’s very rare to get specimens that well-preserved. It’s basically been frozen for the last 18,000 years. You can’t find that kind of stuff unless you’re looking in that kind of place and there are obviously not many people doing that. It’s exciting when you get to look at the results and there’s a chance you’ll discover something new. It’s nice to know you might be able to contribute to something that’s been quite a big debate in the field for a long time.”
“[Working on something so ancient and well-preserved] I feel fairly nervous about messing something up in the lab. You don’t want to screw it up. It seems that dogs were domesticated from a lineage of wolves that went extinct. So that’s why it’s such a difficult problem to work on to understand where and when dogs were domesticated. If you want to find the answer to that you need to look at ancient samples because the population they were domesticated from doesn’t appear to be around anymore.”
“It’s specimens like this that could help clear that up but we don’t have the results yet to speculate on that.”
Sergey Fedorov, 58, who is also working on the dog in Russia, added:
“It’s an amazing feeling, to see, touch and feel the history of earth. Just imagine, this puppy has been lying underground in the same pose and condition for 18,000 years without being disturbed at all. I really carefully removed the dirt and other debris stuck to its body step by step, revealing a wonderful condition fur which is extremely rare for animals of that time period. The only negative was that the part of the spine was exposed, baring its ribs.”
“We named the find ‘Dogor’ which translated from Yakut means ‘friend’. Also it’s a pun – ‘dog or wolf?'”
If you love dogs and want to live across the pond, we have the perfect job for you!
A couple in Knightsbridge, London, is looking for a live-in caretaker to watch over their Golden Retrievers, Milo and Oscar.
Along with some light housekeeping in their six-story home, as the owners travel frequently, they need someone to keep an eye on their pets while they are gone.
The ideal candidate is hardworking, trustworthy and “MUST have a passion for dog care,” the post states.
Responsibilities include taking Milo and Oscar for morning and evening walks, food shopping, running errands and doing the laundry. The caretaker will work Monday through Friday with the occasional weekend.
The salary will be about $38,500 to $40,000 a year plus with room and board. Not too shabby!
To apply to this dream job, visit the posting here.
The smallest feline species on the earth is the rusty-spotted cat (prionailurus rubiginosus) and no, you can’t have one.
Recently, the BBC came out with a preview of its latest episode, Big Cats. The episode centers around an almost-adult, rusty-spotted cat that lives in Sri Lanka.
The cat comes from a wild species of felines living in in the forests of Sri Lanka and much of India, with sporadic sightings in Terai and Nepal.
At just 13 to 18 inches in body length, the cat can quite easily fit into human palms. AWE!
And while the tiny cats are predominately nocturnal, they will briefly come out in the daylight. But their activity during the day is limited as rusty-spotted cats hide in trees and caves as to avoid larger predators.
Their main food sources are rodents and birds but won’t shy away from consuming lizards, frogs, and insects.
You can credit the rusty-spotted cat’s adorableness to its size and coat — the species often described as a smaller version of leopard.
It should be noted the cat is currently on the list of near threatened species with the main cause being its natural habitat, the deciduous forests, are on the decline due to cultivation and natural loss.
Those who own dogs or who have been around dogs most likely will be licked without issue.
But one unfortunate European man whose case has since been revealed in the European Journal of Case Reports in Internal Medicine, was extremely affected by this dog’s affection. In the report, it states how the man was licked by his dog which caused him to contract a bacteria known as Capnocytophaga.
The bacteria is known to be transmitted via bite instead of a lick and exists in the mouths of both dogs and cats. But physicians are worried that the patient was healthy prior to the licking incident where as previous cases have indicated a type of immunodeficiency, splenectomy or alcohol abuse, all of which makes the victim more susceptible to the bacteria.
After contracting the bacteria, he began to exhibit flu-like symptoms prior to sepsis setting in.
This caused bruising on his skin before it began to rot and in addition, he suffered blood clots.
The condition then caused a heart attack which killed him.
Capnocytophaga, according to a Dutch study, is an extremely rare condition that affects around one in every 1.5 million people. A third of those who contract it will die while the other two thirds of people can be left in a debilitating condition.
And when Greg Manteufel contracted the rare blood infection, he then had to have his legs and arms removed as well as had part of his face removed. But despite it all, the man stands by his dog, Ellie.
The painter, who hails from Wisconsin, was rushed to the hospital on 26 June 2018, feeling weak after a fever. Medics quickly realized he had contracted capnocytophaga.
And while it was likely that the infection from Ellie, the family decided to not get Ellie tested to determine if it was her.
Manteufel revealed that he had been around many dogs before falling ill and was not sure if that was a factor that could have caused it.
Currently, he is getting used to life using prosthetics while waiting for surgery to correct his nose.
As soon as Aeida was welcomed to her family in Australia, she along with the dog next door, Cashew, have been best friends.
They play together every day and are so in love with each other that their families decided to make it easier for them to see each other.
Both families decided to build a doggy door between their two houses so Aeida and Cashew can hang out whenever their hearts desire.
The two love going back and forth between their houses and Aeida loves spending time with the neighbors’ little kids.
“Aeida is very friendly and loving. She really just loves everyone and anything — especially our neighbors’ children,” Nicole Ackehurst, Aeida’s mom, shared.
A few weeks back, Aeida’s parents would notice she had disappeared in the evening and believed she was off playing with Cashew — that was, until the neighbors let them know that actually, Aeida decided to join in on their kids’ bath time.
“Our neighbors sent us a Facebook message with Aeida sitting in their bathtub,” Ackehurst said. “We believe that was the first time she had done it.”
Aeida’s parents found the situation hilarious as the dog usually hated taking baths but for some reason — was willing to do it if it involved her favorite kids.
And now, before the kids’ bedtime, Aeida heads next door to participate and it has since become her new favorite thing to do.
“She will join them at bath time at every chance she gets,” Ackehurst said.
“I’m pretty sure our neighbors love having her over, just as we love having Cashew come over too,” Ackehurst shared. “Aeida and Cashew are great friends, and have such a strong bond. They’re both considered great parts of our families.”
Last year, Mariah Cervantes’ grandma enrolled the pup in an obedience training course.
And while Angel was excited, he ended up failing out.
But instead of retaking the course, Cervantes’ grandma decided to get a little crafty instead.
And since Angel did not earn an actual dog diploma of excellence, she created a faux one, honoring her favorite dog’s pseudo achievement.
Her grandmother even framed the certificate in a gold frame to show off Angel’s work (be it exemplary or not.)
And while Angel did the best he could do in his attempt to be a good boy, the only opinion that matters the most is Cervantes’ grandma.
“When I saw it, I immediately started laughing and was not at all surprised. My grandma is so cute and is always doing things like this,” Cervantes told The Dodo. “She’s so proud of Angel, even though she awarded it to him herself.”
Cinder-block the cat went viral recently after she was filmed putting in the bare minimum when it came to her exercise regime in an attempt lose the weight.
A man’s voice can be heard in the video asking the cat “are you working out?” while Cinder-block looks on with only one paw on the treadmill.
And while the cat is grumpy, veterinarian Brita Kiffney revealed she is “extremely affectionate” and purrs when you talk to her while the medical director of Northshore Veterinary Hospital in Bellingham, Washington, Kiffney, adding: “she’s very sweet.”
The video went viral earlier this month when the practice shared it on social media with thousands adoring the overweight cat, who found her way at the vet’s due to her health and hygiene issues which was caused by her obesity.
But Kiffney said she did not want to shame the owner in any way, adding how the person was under a lot of stress caring for an ill family member and the situation became “unmanageable.”
The three male predators have been a tight knit crew since they were rescued as cubs from a drug dealer’s house in Atlanta, Georgia, in 2001.
“The BLT (bear, lion, tiger ― as they are known) exhibited signs of being a bonded trio from the moment we saw them when they arrived at Noah’s Ark,” curator at Noah’s Ark Animal Sanctuary, Allison Hedgecoth, shared.
“They were already seeking out one another for comfort and displayed affection by snuggling, grooming and playing with one another,” she revealed to the Huff Post.
And while their initial bond was not uncommon to Hedgecoth, what shocked her was their 15-year friendship.
“Before they reach sexual maturity, a lot of times animals will form unique bonds with members of other species,” she shared, explaining how as animals grow older, they grow apart. “What was surprising is how they kept that bond, that family unit well into adulthood.”
The animals were only a few months old when police discovered them 15 years ago during a raid in the basement of a drug dealer’s home, according to the sanctuary where the three friends now live.
“When they were first brought to the sanctuary, Baloo, Shere Khan and Leo were injured, frightened and clinging to one another for comfort,” Hedgecoth shared.
The African lion, Leo, had been inside a small crate and suffered from an open, infected wound on his nose, while Baloo, an American black bear, was found wearing a harness he had outgrown so much, it was embedded into his flesh — which had grown over and around it. And the bengal tiger, Shere Khan, was severely underweight.
Each of the cubs were infected with parasite, malnourished and terrified when the Georgia Department of Natural Resources brought them a 250-acre nonprofit animal rescue in Locust Grove, Georgia, Noah’s Ark Animal Sanctuary.
Rescuers decided to not release them back into the wild and keep them at the sanctuary instead as their living conditions had left them so damaged.
But the silver lining? Their friendship was so strong that the sanctuary decided to keep all three in the same habitat.
“Even though they live in a three-acre enclosure, they’re usually within 100 feet of each other,” Hedgecoth shared. “That’s proof that they’re not just coexisting or cohabiting, they actually do enjoy each other’s company.”
The most difficult part of watching over various species in the same enclosure for sanctuary staffers is ensuring that all their needs are met simultaneously, Hedgecloth revealed. All which includes their nutritional, medical and behavioral requirements.
Baloo, for instance, is the dominant, confident and most relaxed one in the group while Leo can sometimes be distant but aware of his surroundings. And Shere Khan? He is very curious and always wants to play.
And yet, the three predators “live together, sleep together and even eat together as a family,” according to Noah’s Ark Animal Sanctuary.
In addition, they are often photographed cuddling together especially as Shere Khan is so affectionate.
And while typically in the wild, Bengal tigers live alone in the wild, Shere Khan often rubs against and grooms Baloo and Leo.
Thankfully, they let it happen without too much fuss.
“Their individual personalities as well as their group dynamic has not changed much throughout their 15 years together,” Hedgecoth shared.
It seems their bond – which has not only lasted through dark times – is also a cornerstone amidst their happy days at the sanctuary.
Leo has since passed away but their friendship will live on in our hearts.
One priest in Brazil is not only helping reduce the number of stray dogs wandering into the streets but also giving them forever homes.
Father João Paulo Araujo Gomes invites stray pups into his church and has made them part of his service in hopes their future families are sitting in the pews.
Gomes is the head of the parish of Santana in the city of Gravatá, who frequently attempts to help the pups find new owners by incoporating them into the service.
While some dogs fall asleep at the altar, others enjoy tummy rubs during the service — talk about a sanctuary!
Father João shared how the idea came to him when someone had gave him some cookies. And when he left them out, they were quickly eaten by his congregation, which gave him an idea when he came across a dog kennel with 96 dogs.
He shared with Metro the following:
“Then I began to bring the dogs to mass, with the same hopes of giving them away. In six months, I finished this process. All dogs were adopted. Now I work with street dogs. They sometimes come into the church looking for food and water. During service, we speak about dogs of the street, about how to respect and protect them. The church also helps with a castration project (to limit the number of stray dogs). We also help dogs in emergencies such as victims of violence or health problems.”
And due to his selfless acts, the amount of stray dogs who living in the city has massively decreased.
Sasha Hobson adores dressing up with her family for Halloween but creating a group costume for her and her seven dogs was a bit of a challenge.
“Every year we dress up the dogs for Halloween and do a photo shoot,” Hobson shared with The Dodo. “The dogs are now so used to it that when we say the words ‘photo shoot’ the dogs all jump to attention because they know they are about to get some treats!”
Hobson’s dogs ages range from 6 to 12 years old and are made up from everything to a small Chihuahua mix to a huge black Labrador.
“This Halloween is the first year with all seven of them, so we wanted to find a way to incorporate them all,” she said. “We originally were going to make them characters from ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ … but then I suggested ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.’ It was too perfect to pass up!”
While Hobson discovered different items of clothing that looked just like Snow White’s dress, creating her dog’s handmade costumes along with her mother-in-law was another feat.
“The hard part was just sewing everything and making sure it fit everyone,” Hobson said. “The dogs at this point are used to costume fittings so if treats are visible … they have no problem sitting still and letting us size everything just right.”
What was easy was Hobson matching each dog to their character like Goddess Isis, whom Hobson describes as “a bull in a china shop,” was Dopey. Haileigh Bug, who Hobson says is the “laziest dog I have ever had,” was Sleepy, and Zoey, whose “favorite things to do are bark and wrestle with the other dogs,” was Grumpy.
Hobson can’t wait for the best Halloween with all of her seven pups.
“People think we are crazy for having seven dogs and who knows? Maybe they are right,” Hobson said. “But we love our time with them and wouldn’t trade it for anything.”
“These dogs have it made and are without a doubt the spoiled kids on the block,” she continued.
A sweet creature by the name of Piglet who is deaf and blind is inspiring young students around the world to be courageous despite road blocks.
A Connecticut veterinarian, Melissa Shapiro, offered to foster the pup after he was rescued and sent to a shelter.
The dachshund-Chihuahua mix was meant to temporarily stay with Shapiro but after just two months, Piglet was not going anywhere.
Piglet was born in a Georgia home with 35 other puppies.
The pup is Shapiro’s seventh dog and while he is now living “like a little prince,” the transition in to the family was not an easy one.
In an interview with PEOPLE, Shapiro shared:
“It was quite a decision to make. He is a lot of work and he is like a full-time job, taking care of a little disabled baby. But he’s so cute, and we couldn’t give him away at that point. He was so anxious, he was screaming constantly. He would play, then go to sleep, but when he wasn’t doing either of those, he was screaming. I couldn’t leave the house the first month I had the dog here.”
Shapiro has recorded Piglet’s journey on Instagram where he was garnered over 100,000 followers.
Piglet has gone from a scared pup to a courageous doggo — but Shapiro says “he needs to have some bigger meaning.”
Piglet’s story found its way to a third-grade classroom in Massachusetts where a teacher used the dog as an example of why you should never give up and how life’s obstacles can sometimes lead to growth.
“She called it Piglet Mindset, and we corresponded throughout the year. At the end of the year, we surprised the kids. They thought we were going to FaceTime, and we walked in with Piggy in his stroller and three of my other dogs, and everyone was crying.”
Classrooms in Alabama, Connecticut, Japan and Australia are now promoters of the Piglet Mindset Outreach program, all which teaches kids how to fight problems and use what they have to their best advantage.
Thanks to social media ads and merchandise, Shapiro and Piglet’s fundraising efforts have exceeded over $30,000, all of which has been donated to special needs dog rescues as well as other non-profit organizations.
Shapiro hopes to start up a non-profit herself to help give money to additional rescues.
“People are afraid to adopt these animals, they think that it’s going to be too much work. But people see Piglet’s page and I get so many notes from people that because of him, they just adopted. It’s rewarding to know that people are taking the lead and being inspired by Piggy. It makes a lot of people really happy to know him.”
WARNING: THE FOLLOWING CONTENT MAY DISTURB SOME READERS
At a German laboratory, undercover footage was filmed by animal rights activists revealing monkeys and dogs suffering abuse.
The horrifing clips have been released by German animal rights organization Soko Tierschutz and Cruelty Free International, who allege to have uncovered monkeys being strapped into metal harnesses and kept in tiny containers at the lab in Mienenbüttel in Neu Wulmstorf, Lower Saxony.
Both cats and dogs were left bleeding and dying after toxicity testing.
The footage was obtained thanks to a joint operation which saw an undercover worker secure a job at the lab after the LPT Laboratory of Pharmacology and Toxicology put out an advert for new employees in Autumn 2018.
Friedrich Mülln from Soko Tierschutz said:
“In 2013, we also tried to get a job there, but were not successful. From December 2018 to March 2019, the undercover investigator worked in the lab.”
Reportedly, the undercover worker saw toxicology testing on animals – including beagles, monkeys, cats and rabbits – supposedly carried out for companies in Germany as well as worldwide.
The animals were allegedly kept in awful conditions.
Beagles allegedly had pipes forced down their throats and were given capsules prior to being left to bleed and suffer following the experiments.
“The animals were even still waggling their tails when they were being taken to be killed, the dogs were desperate for human contact.”
In addition, photos reveal monkeys strapped to seats in rows along the wall white others had their heads in restraints.
“The worst treatment was kept for the monkeys. The macaques breed of monkeys are small, relatively light primates, which are often used for animal experiments at LPT. They are kept in cramped conditions in small cages. Many of the animals have developed compulsive tendencies and are seen going round in circles.”
Meanwhile, the cats are reportedly given up to 13 injections per day by untrained professionals and left to die.
The undercover activist in addition shared how the animals are treated with violence by the workers, all of which who are not trained animal carers.
LPT is a family-owned contract-testing laboratory carrying out toxicity testing for pharmaceutical, the industrial and agro-chemical companies from all over the world, according to Cruelty Free International.
Cruelty Free International said:
“Toxicity testing involves poisoning animals to see how much of a chemical or drug it takes to cause serious harm, in an attempt to measure what a ‘safe’ dose for humans might be.”
“Animals are injected with or made to eat or inhale increasing amounts of a substance to measure the toxic effects which can be severe and include vomiting, internal bleeding, respiratory distress, fever, weight loss, lethargy, skin problems, organ failure and even death. No [anesthetics] or pain relief are provided.”
Chief Executive of Cruelty Free International, Michelle Thew, stated:
“Our investigation has uncovered appalling animal suffering, inadequate care, poor practices and breaches of European and German law.”
She continued on, sharing:
“We are calling for the Laboratory of Pharmacology and Toxicology (LPT) to be closed. We are also calling for a comprehensive review into the use of animals in regulatory toxicity testing in Europe, including the UK. Every investigation, without fail, shows a similar tale of misery and disregard of the law.”
The police are currently investigating the police thanks to the animal activists. In addition, they are vetting for laws in Germany to strengthen animal protection.
After an immensely hot day in northern Mexico, one man by the name of Adolfo Pazzi Ahumada saw what love looked life up close while on a grocery run.
Ahumada noticed he was out of milk at home and decided to make a pit stop at his local market despite it being 104°F weather.
And when he arrived, the unexpected scene he found was very sweet.
“A stray dog was being fed and getting water from the [store] clerk,” Ahumada shared with The Dodo. “Then I saw they let the dog inside.”
After Ahumada entered the store, the clerk shared with him the tale of how the pup came to take up residence in the space.
“He has been here the past [few] days. We suspect he was left behind by his owner. He came to us for help,” the clerk shared with Ahumada. “We could only provide him with food, water and some toys from the store that we paid with our money.”
The clerk continued on, sharing how that was not all they gifted the dog.
“We let him inside because the temperature outside is really hell-like. We feel bad for him, but he looks happier around the store,” the clerk said.
When looking down one of the aisles, Ahumada saw for himself the struggling dog who made a way into many’s hearts.
The dog has shown a lot of love to both the clerks as well as the customer, something the employees hope a shopper will see and adopt him into their home.
And while Ahumada could not be that person, he did purchase his milk and a treat for the pup to enjoy after his rest.
“I felt bad for what the dog has passed through,” Ahumada said. “But he is now receiving the love he deserves.”
And while cute animal pictures paired with their human pals are a dime a dozen, this photo below is one that will tug on your heart strings.
Mitchell and Audri were competing in the Iowa State Fair’s youth dairy cattle show. But when they found out they lost first place, instead of fretting, they decided to kick back and take a quick snooze.
Despite taking weeks for both Mitchell and Audri to get ready for the contest — with some days starting at 3 a.m. in the morning — they took home 5th place.
Needless to say, the nap was much needed as working on the farm is no cake walk. Most farm animals need to be bathed, clipped, walked as well as fed — a job that takes lots of effort with what it appears to be, a lot of reward.
To test the bonding behavior of humans – scientists observe how an infant responds to the return of their caregiver after a brief absence while in a new environment. Secure infants return to relaxed exploration while insecure infants tend to cling to their caregivers or avoid them altogether.
The “secure base test” has been used to study attachment bonding behaviors of both dogs as well as primates.
For this test, researchers wanted to know if cats also exhibit similar responses. To do this, researchers observed 70 cats who entered into a new room and spent two minutes with their caregiver.
Then, they spent two minutes alone, followed by a two-minute reunion with their human. A lot like humans as well as dogs, cats with secure attachment styles were less stressed and would explore the room in a healthy way when their owner returned.
“In both dogs and cats, attachment to humans may represent an adaptation of the offspring-caretaker bond,” according to study author Kristyn Vitale from Oregon State University in a statement.
She reveals that about 65 percent of cats exhibited secure attachment styles, the very same percentage as human infants.
“Attachment is a biologically relevant behavior. Our study indicates that when cats live in a state of dependency with a human, that attachment behavior is flexible and the majority of cats use humans as a source of comfort.”
Insecure cats on the other hand showed signs of stress by twitching their tails, licking their lips, running, hiding, acting aloof, or sitting in their owners’ lap without moving.
“There’s long been a biased way of thinking that all cats behave this way. But the majority of cats use their owner as a source of security. Your cat is depending on you to feel secure when they are stressed out,” Vitale shares.
The researchers wanted to see if these attachment bonds could be broken so over the course of six weeks, they conducted socialization training with cats as well as their owners only to discover that there were no noticeable changes. And once an attachment style had been established, it remained stable over time into adulthood.
Vitale shares that her team hopes to next explore what this means for cats and kittens living in shelters and whether socialization as well as fostering opportunities may impact their styles of attachment.