Truth about cats & dogs

By admin
20 August 2010

Pets - life just wouldn’t be the same without them. But wouldn’t it be cool if you could have a conversation with them to find out exactly what they were thinking? Especially now that the latest scientific research suggests there’s far more going on in their minds than meets the eye.

For decades boffins have insisted that in terms of intelligence it’s really only monkeys and apes that are worth noticing. But now they’re grudgingly conceding that our furry friends are actually a lot smarter than they’ve been given credit for. In fact, the truth about cats and dogs is they’re more like humans and higher primates than was previously thought. Not only are they capable of thinking rather deep thoughts, they’re also able to solve complex problems and can communicate with us quite eloquently – if we’re willing to listen.

Renowned canine researcher Stanley Coren of the University of British Columbia in Canada claims the average dog can learn up to 165 words and signals. This puts it on a par with a two-year-old child.

Coren points out that through observation dogs can learn the location of valued items and treats, better routes in their environment (the fastest way to a favourite chair, for example) and even how to operate mechanisms such as latches and simple machines.

British animal behaviourist Rupert Sheldrake is convinced animals have psychic or telepathic abilities. How else do you explain why your favourite feline does a disappearing act on the day you’re planning to take it to the vet for its annual shots?

Pet owners like to think they’re calling the shots but in many cases they’re the ones who have been well trained - and without even realising it. Cats in particular are excellent manipulators.

Researchers at the University of Sussex in the UK recently discovered that hungry house cats combine a pleasant purring noise with a whine that’s similar in frequency to the distress cry of a human baby when they want their owners to fill up their food bowls.

But it isn’t only dogs and cats that are impressing with their mental abilities. A study has shown that sheep are able to recognise the faces of at least 50 members of their flock and remember them for more than two years.

But pigs are much smarter than dogs and all other farm animals. In a recent study they proved capable of quickly learning how to use mirrors to detect food that had been hidden in the background. They’ve also shown their ability to use reasoning and logic when it suits them.

Read the full article in the YOU of 26 August 2010

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