Saturday, May 22, 2021

Do wild cats breed with domestic cats?

The question is asking whether any one of the 36 or 37 wild cat species is able to mate with a domestic cat to create a wild cat hybrid? And the answer is yes but it depends upon the wild cat species. Not all can mate with domestic cats. 

The best known small wild cat species that can successfully mate with the domestic cat are: the serval producing the Savannah cat, the leopard cat producing the Bengal cat, the jungle cat producing the Chausie and Geoffroy’s cat producing the Safari cat. As it happens, I have a fairly comprehensive list on another page which you can read by clicking on this link. You can read about these cat breeds by clicking here.

Loki an abandoned high filial Savannah cat. At BCR now. Safe but anxious
Loki an abandoned high filial Savannah cat. At BCR (Big Cat Rescue) now. Safe but anxious. Photo in public domain.

The size of the wildcat is a factor on whether it can successfully mate with the much smaller domestic cat. For example, the serval is a medium-to-large wild cat. The male serval does mate with the domestic cat in breeding catteries to create the F1 Savannah but these wild cat hybrids are very expensive at around $20,000, which tells us that the mating of these two cat species is problematic. We don't know how many failures there are and how cruel the process is. It is unnatural for sure. The physical issues would seem to be a barrier to me. 

Perhaps the best known and most popular wild cat hybrid is the Bengal which is a mainstream cat breed these days. But you'll be adopting an F5 normally; a cat with little wild cat DNA in her. They are very similar to regular domestic cats. F1 Bengal cats are as are all the first filial wild cat hybrids.

There was some resistance to accepting them in the fancy as there were fears that they'd be too wild and aggressive. That fear has subsided and the wild cat hybrid is now fully accepted and the high filials are considered exotic animals to treasure. They are status symbols for the rich.

There is actually a problem with the Scottish wildcat mating with outside domestic cats and feral cats producing hybrids which the world does not want because they are non-purebred Scottish wildcats and the look like the genuine article. 

In Africa the African wildcats often mate with domestic cats living in settlements. These are all hybrids and so you end up with the purity of the African wildcat being diluted and not knowing for sure which individual cats are purebred or not. In other words, the conservation of the African wildcat on the continent of Africa is being undermined by this hybridisation which takes place informally.

Friday, May 21, 2021

Reasons why the family cat prefers the husband over the wife

Bearing in mind that domestic cats rely on their sense of smell to identify objects and people, one reason why a family cat might prefer the husband over the wife is because the wife wears perfume and the husband does not wear aftershave. 

Wife feels like she is a 'side chick' to her husband because the family cat prefers him
Wife feels like she is a 'side chick' to her husband because the family cat prefers him. Photo: Imgur.

I would argue that it is far more common for a woman to mask their body odour compared to men. This may be having an important impact on the relationship between domestic cats and family members. 

I am speculating, of course, and I am not saying that domestic cats prefer husbands to wives. Far from it because when you research this point you will find that people are looking to Google for answers as to why a domestic cat prefers their girlfriend, or their roommate, or somebody else and it is always gender unspecific. 

This is not about human gender; it is, I believe, more about body odour! But there are many other factors why a cat prefers somebody over another person. It is about chemistry and we know that the word "chemistry" in relation to affection for a significant other is a very vague term. It means a bundle of factors that we can't necessarily specify.

But this 'chemistry' will be different the cats compared to people. The lives of people are dominated by what they see, for cats their sense of smell is certainly as important as their eyesight or perhaps more so. This is why you will see domestic cats constantly sniffing the legs of their human companion even when they know full well who that person is. They seem to be constantly reaffirming that this is the person they know. And they like the scent of that person. It's a reassurance.

Just this morning when I fed my cat with a treat after I came in from buying a newspaper, he sniffed at my leg on more than one occasion. I know that he loves the way I smell. It is just the way it is. And I don't wear aftershave. I never have. 

The range of factors which make up the chemistry between cat and person will include such things as: the sound of the person's voice, the way they handle their cat, whether they genuinely like their cat or not, whether they have raised their cat from a newborn kitten and so on. But I believe, to return to the beginning, that perhaps the most dominant factor is the scent of a person.

And the fact that cats can have chemistry with a human once again reaffirms that they are sentient beings. There are still people who believe that cats are not. But a recognition that domestic cats are sentient is so vitally important to their welfare. Once you accept that they are sentient beings with feelings it changes your perception of animals and it should make us more sensitive towards their needs and welfare.

Thursday, May 20, 2021

Do lions like water?

Unlike tigers, lions are not hugely fond of water. Whereas tigers can spend long periods immersed in water to keep cool, lions do not lie in water during the day. However, they are quite capable swimmers but, once again, less so than for the tiger. 


Tigers have been seen swimming in the open sea for up to 4 miles as I recall whereas lions have been recorded swimming across the Okavango and other major rivers according to CA Guggisberg in his book published in 1963: Simba: The Life of the Lion published by Chilton Books in New York.

Male lion of Okavango Delta
Male lion of Okavango Delta. Photo in public domain.

There is a group of lions living near the Okavango Delta in Botswana who have perhaps learned to accept water more than lions in general. The delta covers a large area and is a unique environment where there are seasonal floods. The average water depth is about 2-2.5 feet but there are some deeper areas. The lions there avoid the very deep water but know the area well. And as mentioned they are decent or perhaps even very good swimmers.

Also, unlike the tiger, lions are not particularly good at climbing at least relative to the other wild cat species such as the leopard which is an excellent climber. The lion is primarily terrestrial which means they live on the ground! Like all wild cats, they are, however, good jumpers and have been known to jump fences 2-3 m high.

It is said that young lions are quite good climbers and quite often play in a tree and can sometimes take to branches, within a tree, to avoid dogs. I've seen a lion chasing a leopard in a tree which indicates that they are not that bad at climbing after all.

My answer to the question in the title is, no, but they don't mind water. They seem to have the mentality of domestic cats when it comes to water.

TikToker can't wake up her kitten and thinks he's died suddenly

This cat owning woman who has a TikTok account planned to wake up her kitten and while doing it to video her kitten's reaction. The kitten was obviously in a deep slumber. She picked him up but he refused to wake up. She gently shook him and no reaction. His head flopped around as she gently carried and shook him.

She became concerned. It seems that at one time she believed that he might have died suddenly. Young kittens can die suddenly but this kitten is probably out of that age range where they can suffer from sudden death syndrome. Nonetheless she remained concerned and looked into the camcorder because she thought she would be able to simply wake him up and I feel that she was genuinely surprised by his non-reaction. See image below....

Woman looks concerned into the camera as she tries to 'revive' her kitten
Woman looks concerned into the camera as she tries to 'revive' her kitten. Screenshot.

She wanted to prank her kitten as she said but he pranked her she confessed. TikTok users can use a facility when making videos on this platform. They can convert text into a voice-over which I think is very useful because it helps people with difficulties in expressing themselves really well verbally and therefore is a great equaliser allowing people without verbal skills to create good and interesting videos.


My heart stopped for ages …

♬ original sound - Jollymai
The video on this page has been seen over 32 million times (at the last count - 20th May), I am told by the website Newsweek. The lady's user name and real name is @Jollymaii - Jolly Hoang.

"I woke up and thought my cat was in a deep sleep so I recorded myself pranking him and I realized he isn't waking up at all. I started to get really scared. Wake up..." she said.

Kittens do sleep really well as they become very tired from lots of sometimes frenetic activity. I have seen kittens suddenly keel over in tiredness and fall to sleep when sitting up. The same happens to puppies. Cats are polyphasic sleepers - they sleep multiple times in 24 hrs. Humans are not as we all know. Cats take cat naps, hence the phrase 'cat naps'.

Looking relieved as she kisses her kitten. Screenshot.

: videos on this site are typically made by people other than me and held on YouTube servers or the servers of other businesses (not the server storing this website). Sometimes the videos are deleted at source which stops them working on this site. If that has happened, I apologise but I have no control over it.

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

For a second, I thought this cat was dead

She has been praised for her acting skills! This pretty all-white cat is not dead, apparently. It is just the way the picture was taken. It can happen sometimes. In a split second a fleeting moment in the movements of a cat can give the wrong impression.

The comments on Facebook (the source of the photo) prompted me to select the title. The eyes look glazed and this cat looks thin too. That thinness leads us to think that she might be dead. She looks very still but I suspect that she was moving and the camera caught her in a position which indicates death. They say photographs never lie! We know that they do all the time.

Two pages featuring death in cats:

How long does it take to get over a cat’s death?

Cat revived from near death when pulled from home fire in Russia

Leonardo DiCaprio uses his celebrity voice for big cat welfare and animal welfare generally

In a tweet as long ago as April 20, 2012, Leonardo DiCaprio said that: "Big cats like tigers and lions belong in the wild, not in people's backyards and basements. Take action!"

In many American states there are quite lax laws regarding the possession and keeping of big cats as pets. There are more tigers in private zoos in America than there are in the wild on the planet. Texas has the biggest population of captive big cats. The Netflix Tiger King documentary about the man who had the largest private zoo in America, Joe Exotic, helped to highlight the need to change things and regulate the possession of big cats as pets. He's in jail for 22 years but it helped to provide a platform for Carole Baskin, the Big Cat Rescue founder and manager (who he tried to kill) for her campaign to create legislation to restrict big cat ownership in America. You can read about that by clicking on this link if you want to.

But what I'm interested in saying in this article is that people like DiCaprio are so valuable to animal welfare because they can use their voice, their considerable voice to motivate the legislators and the public in general to take action on protecting wildlife, and not only the iconic big cats but so many other species of animal who are in dire straits; quite dramatically endangered in terms of survival because of the destruction of their habitat as a result of the commercialisation of the landscape.

Self-indulgent idiot lion owner gets hurt by his pet lion and he deserves it
Self-indulgent idiot lion owner gets hurt by his pet lion and he deserves it. Pic: Screenshot.

DiCaprio has set an extraordinary example of what he meant when he asked the nations' leaders to stop procrastinating and take action to mitigate the environmental damage done by humans by raising $43 million (£30.2 million) to help restore wildlife in the Galapagos Islands, one of the most important and fragile ecosystems on Earth.

He has pledged the funds this week in association with the Galapagos National Park Directorate, Island Conservation which "prevents extinctions and restores islands". And also, with Re:wild, a global conservation charity that DiCaprio co-founded with leading conservation scientists.

The large size of the investment will help to make real change and the work will begin in this remote Pacific archipelago which is 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador. It is the island where in 1835 Charles Darwin observed wildlife and nature including the local finches which led him to begin formulating the theory of evolution through natural selection leading to his work On the Origin of Species.

They want to re-wild the islands and prevent the extinction of the pink iguana, a marine resources protection scheme to boost ecotourism which is very important to the economy. And they want to restore Floreana Island which is home to 54 threatened species. They want to reintroduce 13 locally extinct species on that island.

In addition, they have a plan to re-wild all of Latin America's Pacific archipelagos, from Mexico to Chile. Big thinking.

DiCaprio is described as an actor and environmentalist on social media. He has visited the Galapagos Islands. He said: "Around the world, the wild is declining. We have degraded three quarters of the wild places and pushed more than 1 million species to the brink of extinction. More than half of the Earth's remaining wild areas would disappear in the next few decades if we don't decisively act."

He wants action now not just for the big cats maltreated in tiny captive environments to please self-indulgent Americans but to do bigger things in conservation. It is brilliant that he is using his voice and status to achieve this.

Big cats in England? It is time to stop the charade.

The "Beast of Somerset" has emerged again from those soggy fields and behind trees. The Sun newspaper, ever ready to sensationalise, declares that a big cat the size of an Alsatian has been filmed and it is the clearest ever footage of the "Beast of Somerset". 

First off, an Alsatian is much smaller than a big cat but that is beside the point, I suppose. The video clearly shows a black domestic cat of standard size walking across a field. If people have difficulty in assessing the size of a cat at a distance, then you only have to look at the way the cat walks, i.e. their gait, to tell you that this is a domestic cat.

Clearly a black domestic cat enjoying an outing near his home in some adjacent fields. Not a Beast of Somerset as sensationally claimed. Photo: Kennedy News Media.

Big cats walk in a very masculine way if that's a good description, even if they are female. They saunter and they are very muscular in their limbs. It is a completely different way of walking and running. It is highly noticeable and this black cat is trotting like a domestic cat, using delicate and dainty steps. And the limbs are far too skinny to be a big cat.

I suppose that just because the cat is black somebody thinks of a black panther and we have a big cat on the loose in the south-west of England. No, it's just a quiet news day when the editor is asked to somehow fill the newspaper. It's a complete laugh and it is transparent and of course the editors of the newspapers know exactly what they're doing. The problem is that some people, some frankly gullible people, actually believe it. 

There is a group of people in England who believe that there are scores of big cats of various species hiding away in copses in the British landscape but all we ever see are grainy, blurred videos and images which is highly convenient because they don't provide us with sufficient information except when you can tell a difference by the way they walk!

It is time to stop this charade. I have written articles about this before and on every occasion, I've been proved right. I have also written about what I believe to be the best test if one is needed (and it is not to be honest) to gauge whether a video of a so-called big cat is genuine, which is the way they walk as mentioned. 

You can use YouTube if you want to study the differences. The big cats saunter and trot in a lugubrious nonchalant way whereas the domestic cats step daintily through the wet grass and their paws are tiny in comparison. I won't go on because I've made my point. The problem is the news media won't stop presenting these ridiculous news stories so they don't get the point, sadly.

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Cat with a genetic predisposition to being obese or a self-deceiving owner?

Swayze is a domestic cat who weighs 16.8 pounds and has become a celebrity for it, which I find disturbing. We do not need to celebrate obesity in felines, please. It is completely inappropriate because, according to veterinarians, there is an obesity epidemic among domestic cats in line, apparently, with humans. Swayze is a five-year-old tabby cat living in America (northern Georgia). She's a lady and has 32,100 followers on her Instagram page

Obese Swayze
Obese Swayze. Photo: Jam Press.

To me, the interesting aspect of this celebrity cat is that her owner is not overfeeding her.  Abbe said: "I limit Swayze to very little food and I don't leave food in her bowl all day. She has been on a prescription diet that didn't work. I just limit her food and she has lost some but she is stuck at 16.8 pounds. I feed her half a can of wet food two times a day and sometimes feed her 1/8 cup of dry, but not on a regular basis. I don't give her snacks or treats except cheese but it is so rare that I give it to her."

So, we have a cat that is apparently fed properly with very few treats but her weight is stuck at the obesity level which is patently apparent in the photograph. This level of obesity clearly negatively impacts health quite substantially. As mentioned, feline obesity should not be celebrated and I strongly disagree with the fact that the owner has turned her into a celebrity cat. I'm sorry but it is not a good idea. The Instagram account should be closed down because it only serves to encourage others to make their cat obese and then become a celebrity cat. What kind of good can that do?

I have to conclude that Swayze has a genetic predisposition to being obese. This can happen in humans but my research indicates that this inherited predisposition does not necessarily mean that the body metabolises food in such a way that you become obese. It means that the individual - and I am presuming that cats can also inherit this predisposition to obesity - has increased hunger levels, increased calorific intake, reduced satiety, reduced control over eating and a tendency to be sedentary.

This implies that a person who inherits this problem is driven to eating more than somebody who hasn't inherited the problem. Is this what is going on with Swayze? It appears not because she does not eat more than normal, we are told.

Therefore, I have to be unconvinced about her owner's statement that she is fed a modest diet. I don't want to throw around accusations but people do tend to mislead themselves as to diet. Certainly, this applies to humans feeding themselves and I will therefore presume that it also applies to people feeding their cats. It is very easy to fool yourself as to the amount of food you are giving your cat.

There can only be two possibilities as to why Swayze is overweight and they are that she is not exercising enough and that she is eating too much. It's a simple formula of too many calories going in and not enough calories being burnt. Therefore, her owner is fooling himself or herself. And this ridiculous celebration of obesity must stop, please.

How do I drive a mother cat and her kittens away?

This is a question on the website and I think it was set by a computer (an algorithm) and not by a person because it doesn't make sense. It's too heartless for somebody to ask such a question and if somebody did then the people who moderate the website missed it. So, the question should not be asked in the first place but as it has, I will answer it.

Mother cat and kittens
Mother cat and kittens. The photo is for illustrative purposes only. Photo: Pixabay.

You don't drive a mother cat and her kittens away. You take them in and you help them to survive until they can be rehomed or you might even home one or two of them yourself depending upon your circumstances. You would take them to a veterinarian to be checked out. You would make sure that the mother had been spayed and vaccinated. You would check for a microchip.

You would check the kittens' health and depending upon their age you would have them vaccinated and spayed and neutered as well. Yes, it would be an expense in time and money but you have no option. You would do some research about how to raise kittens because it is quite complicated. It is quite a demanding job and you might ask your veterinarian while they are doing the above for some tips. And you might seek help such as from Cats Protection in the UK or an American equivalent.

You might try and rehome them yourself once the kittens were at an age where they could be rehomed. You might take them to a cat rescue centre for them to do it for you as mentioned. There are numerous options but everything you do is designed to ensure that they survive and live as good a life as possible. Nothing you will do will drive them away as asked in the question. Unless of course you are heartless and have psychopathic tendencies.

One minor point comes to mind; there was a story not long ago of a person who mistook the kittens of a bobcat for those of a feral or domestic cat. She took the kittens in and in doing so she probably, inadvertently, took the mother's cubs from her because she might have been out looking for food when the person in question stumbled upon the kittens. Domestic kittens look quite different to bobcat cubs.

The reason why there was a mother cat and kittens in and around your home is because somebody failed to discharge their responsibilities as a cat owner. All stray cats and feral cats are the result of a failure in the human-to-cat relationship. This is another reason why you should not drive away a mother cat and her kittens. It is not their fault that they are there around or on your property. It is the fault of a person, probably a neighbour. So don't blame the cat and drive them away.

You might in fact ask around because you might be able to find the person responsible. We don't know if the cat is a feral or a domestic cat. There will be a big difference in how they are dealt with. Feral cats will be difficult to manage for obvious reasons. You will soon find out.

On an associated topic, if your neighbour's cat is coming onto your property and you don't like it which might be understandable then I would recommend a couple of methods to keep them away which I have written about on a page which you can read by clicking this link.

A lot of people don't like cats on their property. You just have to be sensitive and decent when you deal with them. There should be no poisoning, nothing inhumane should be done to get rid of them. There are numerous reasons for this one of which is that it is illegal to harm a cat even if they are "trespassing" (cats can't trespass legally).

Are cats sentient beings?

For me, cats are sentient beings and I think it's obvious that they are but I cannot say the same for everybody else. Some people think that the definition of sentience is rather vague and therefore we don't know whether cats are sentient beings. However, the definition of "sentience" is not vague because it means an animal that has feelings and by now all of us should realise that cats can have feelings. We know that cats have emotions. What we are not sure about is whether they can experience the higher emotions such as grief and shame etc..

Sentience is about having feelings
Are cats sentient beings? Yes, of course.

I don't think cats can feel the higher emotions because in order to feel higher emotions an animal has to be self-aware and I don't believe that, at this juncture, we can say with conviction that cats are self-aware or self-conscious. It is work in progress and I think the outcome will be, no. But it doesn't stop cats having feelings. It does not take an awful lot of personal research either on the Internet or in direct contact with your cat to figure out that they have feelings.

Perhaps there was a time, about 50 years ago or more when a lot of people were unsure if animals, in general, even felt pain. This seems remarkable now. There has been an awakening both about animal welfare and the sentience of animals. In fact, the latter precedes the former because as soon as you comprehend that animals are sentient beings you automatically are taken down the route of improved animal welfare.

The question in the title is the kind of question that you might have asked about 40 years ago. But today, in 2021, it is a given, by which I mean it is an accepted premise in any discussion about animals and, in this instance cats, that they are sentient beings.

We can see them being happy and content and expressing it through purring. We can see them being stressed and anxious when going to the veterinarian, for example. In fact, there are many and various situations under which they can feel anxious. It is apparent by their demeanour and body language. We can see them displaying affection towards us and towards other animals. There are a countless number of videos on YouTube of cats and dogs showing affection for each other. And the same goes for the cat-to-cat friendships.

The classic feline head-butt is an expression of affection and when you come home your cat rubs against your legs in an act of scent exchange. This is an act of friendship. When two cats meet each other in friendship they have their tails up in a vertical position and they touch noses. This is a friendly feline greeting. It is body language which tells us that cats have emotions. You can't experience the feeling of friendship without having the capacity to have an emotion.

Aggression is based on the emotion of anger. Often domestic gas display defensive aggression even with their owner. For instance, they display it when defending their territory which we call a 'home range'.

Some people would even say, contrary to what I have said, that cats can sometimes feel the higher emotions such as grief. There are videos on the Internet of cats staying at the burial site of their previous owner and staying there for a very long time, by which I mean days. Some people have taken that to mean these cats are experiencing grief.

In the UK, the British government, right now, is rolling out some new animal welfare laws all of which are based upon the fact that animals are sentient beings. They are rolling out an Action Plan \For Animal Welfare. The government is able to do this because they are now free of European Union regulations and diktats. This allows Britain to go down a path of improving animal rights and welfare beyond that which is protected by law in the European Union. And Defra has produced an excellent little video (see below), which they have tweeted on animals having feelings and animal sentience. It is central to the improvement of animal welfare to recognise in law that animals have feelings.

So, this cannot just be about domestic and feral cats. It is about all animals including wild animals and livestock. People treat livestock like nuts and bolts but when you see a cow becoming great friends with a cat suddenly the word 'livestock' seems inappropriate. The cow becomes a sentient being, a pleasant and loving domesticated animal. That's how we should relate to them.

I have written an article about animal sentience and animal laws in relation to the objectives of the British government which you can read by clicking on this link. And if you click on this link you can see the Defra tweet.

Monday, May 17, 2021

Cat eats all of mouse efficiently, no mess, leaves behind gallbladder

My cat is an incredibly efficient catcher, killer and consumer of mice. He eats the entirety of the mouse in about 60 seconds. There is almost no blood, and sometimes absolutely no blood, left on the floor and he always, or nearly always, leaves behind what I believe to be the gallbladder. That is what the photograph shows on this page. It is quite a big organ and I have always believed that domestic cats leave behind the gallbladder because the bile inside the organ is too bitter for their taste. Everything else is consumed with great cleanliness! Does your cat do the same thing?

Gallbladder left behind after my cat consumed his mouse
Gallbladder left behind after my cat consumed his mouse. He eats very efficiently and cleanly. No mess. No blood and no fuss. All in 60 seconds. All you hear is the crunching of bone. Photo: MikeB.

The remarkable aspect of my cat's behaviour is the efficiency in which he eats mice. I guess it is a testament to the eons of evolution that has resulted in this pinnacle of predation and consuming. I guess that it is to be expected that he would be this efficient. Mice are top of the menu for the domestic cat. Everything that they do is geared around hunting, killing and eating mice. It is their raison d'ĂȘtre for living. They are, as is commonly stated, killing machines at the top of the food chain. No animal is better at killing. 

All you hear when my cat eats a mouse is the sound of the bones crunching. He starts at the head. It is remarkable that he is able to dissect out of the body everything so cleanly and leave this scrubbed gallbladder on the carpet. It is nice that I don't have to clean up after him except pick up the gallbladder and put it into a waste bin.

Of course, I dislike the whole process. I hate it when he brings in mice and eats them in my home. And of course, sometimes they escape and run under an item of furniture so I have to capture the mouse and release it. Perhaps there is no point in releasing an injured mouse because they will die anyway but I am compelled to do it. My cat is aware that I might intervene so sometimes he growls at me to tell me to go away. It is his prey animal and his alone to eat.

The worst moment is the scream a mouse emits when the killing bite is inflicted upon him. It is audible to me because the mouse is screaming at the top of his lungs. It is tragic and I hate it.

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Domestic cat's small size compared to humans' is a factor in our relationship

A study about aggressiveness in domestic dogs confirms what I have believed for a long time, namely that the relatively small size of the domestic cat in relation to the size of humans is an underlying factor which influences our relationship. What I say is that the domestic cat lives with the human-animal which towers over him or her and this can make them feel vulnerable sometimes, which in turn can lead to an underlying level of anxiety which may manifest itself in terms of defensive aggression.

Domestic cats often have to look up at their human towering over them
Domestic cats often have to look up at their human towering over them. Photo: Pixabay.

I think it is a plausible suggestion because if we imagine ourselves living with creatures 10 to 20 times bigger than ourselves it would certainly have an impact upon our sense of security, well-being and emotional state. It would have an impact upon the relationship in general.

It is up to human caretakers to ensure that they overcome this imbalance in size through a particularly gentle approach to interactions with the domestic cat companion. Also, it pays sometimes to get down to the same level as the domestic cat or to allow the cat to come up to the level of their human companion. The latter can be achieved if cat owners allow their cat to sleep on their bed with them. The human bed is a natural level up but it is sad to report that a lot of cat owners, even concerned cat owners, don't allow this.

The human bed is a natural place for a domestic cat to be. They can immerse themselves in the scent of their human and exchange this scent by depositing their scent onto the bed and receiving body odours of their human companions onto their fur. This is a delight for a domestic cat and it is reassuring.

So back to the dogs which I mentioned at the beginning of this article. A study that was conducted at the University of Helsinki found that in general the more aggressive dogs were the smaller ones while, conversely, the least aggressive were the larger dogs.

This, I would argue, fits in with the human analogy namely that men who are challenged vertically, to use politically correct language to be more aggressive than those who are tall or of normal height. The size and height of male humans is quite an important factor in their lives. The small individual needs to prove their worth and they can become more competitive, sometimes overly competitive and this can manifest itself in aggression. I think that is a fair analogy.

And another reason why domestic cat might become anxious because of vulnerability is because they depend entirely on their human caretaker. They put all their eggs into one basket. So they depend upon a giant to feed them, to keep them warm, to allow them to feel secure and provide emotional comfort. It's a slightly dodgy situation for a top predator to live with.

The most aggressive dogs are for example the miniature poodle, the miniature schnauzer, German shepherd, Spanish water dog, Chinese crested dog, for example while the least aggressive are dogs such as the Labrador retriever, golden retriever, Shetland sheepdog, Staffordshire bull terrier, Jack Russell terrier and the smooth collie.

So what can people do about this? At least be aware of it and modify behaviour when and where necessary to try and overcome this inherent physical barrier to the relationship. It certainly pays to get down to the level of your cat, sometimes. I know that in my personal experience my cat thoroughly enjoys it when I do this. 

His behaviour changes and it is noticeable. And when he is on my bed with me, either with me in bed or on top of the duvet cover, it is noticeable that he likes it. The message is clear because he trills and purrs and demonstrates excitement. I think it is because I am at his level, at his height and no longer dominating him through my physical presence.

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