In the perpetual debate over which makes a better pet — dog or cat — cats have been taking a drubbing lately.
It’s a silly argument to begin with: Why must we deem one species superior? What possible good does that serve? And it’s mostly a waste of time. Converting a dyed-in-the-wool dog lover to a staunch cat lover is about as likely as getting someone to switch from Donald to Hillary.
Yet, conflict seems to be something we humans require, or at least enjoy. And the endless argument does provide fodder for bloggers. And, every now and then, something interesting comes up.
In the past year, scientific and semi-scientific studies comparing dogs and cats have come down more squarely on the side of dogs — enough so that you’ve got to wonder if some cat-hater is behind it all.
One such study was conducted as part of a new BBC2 documentary called “Cats v. Dogs: Which is Better” — a silly concept for a TV show, though we admit some of what they bring to light is thought provoking.
Dr. Paul Zak, a California neuroscientist, compared how much oxytocin dogs produce compared to cats, and he concluded that dogs love humans more than cats do. Five times as much to be exact.
It has been well documented that bonding, petting and having eye contact with your dog produces increased levels of the oxytocin, also known as the love hormone, in both dog and human.
“It’s one of the chemical measures of love in mammals,” Zak said. “Humans produce the hormone in our brains when we care about someone. For example, when we see our spouse or child the levels in our bloodstream typically rise by 40-60 percent.”
The neuroscientist checked the oxytocin levels in both cats and dogs, taking saliva samples from 10 cats and 10 dogs on two occasions – 10 minutes before a playtime session with their owners and immediately after.
“I was really surprised to discover that dogs produced such high levels of oxytocin .. The dog level of 57.2 percent is a very powerful response. It shows these dogs really care about their owners,” he said.
Zak, also known as “Dr.Love,” believes upping our oxytocin (and hugging more) could change the world. He once took blood from an entire wedding party and a sampling of guests, to see how their oxytocin levels went up during the ceremony.
He also spent two years trying to get the Food and Drug Administration to approve his use of oxytocin inhalers on experimental subjects. (In the meantime, as reported in The Guardian, he used one on himself.)
Zak’s determination that canines love us more than felines do was just the latest bit of bad press for cats.
Another recent study, at Manhattanville College in New York, found canines provide humans with more benefits than cats.
The research suggested dog owners are more conscientious, less neurotic and more agreeable than cat owners. Dog owners scored higher in well-being than cat owners on all measures.
Last year, a study at the University of California, Berkeley, found, through web-based surveying, that cat owners were more anxious than cat owners.
If you still don’t believe cats have been getting some bad press, check out this headline on a story about a study of cats last year: “Study: Your cat might be trying to kill you.”
The story dealt with a study by researchers from the University of Edinburgh and the Bronx Zoo that compared the personality of the domestic cat with bigger, wilder members of the cat species.
The headline … well, it’s what happens when you try to condense a 40-page study into eight catchy words.
So if you find yourself reading/listening to/watching the latest account of which is better, cats or dogs — whether it’s labeled science or not — be at least a little wary.
And if it stresses you out, go pet your dog. Or cat.
Posted by John Woestendiek February 2nd, 2016 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, argument, bbc 2, cat or dog, cat people, cats, debate, documentary, dog people, dogs, levels, oxytocin, paul zak, pets, science, studies, study, which is better
University Park, Illinois, resident, Charles Clements, 69, a former Marine, is being held on a $3 million bond in connection with the fatal shooting last Sunday of 23-year-old Joshua Funches, ABC News reported.
Patricia Funches, the victim’s mother, said Clements followed her son home, pulled out his gun, and shot him.
Police say Joshua Funches’ fox terrier urinated on Clements’ lawn, leading to an exchange of words between the two men. When police arrived at the scene, they found Funches bleeding on the ground in front of a vacant house.
Funches, a father of two, suffered a single gunshot wound in the abdomen, and his death was ruled a homicide.
Clements was famous for the upkeep on his well-manicured lawn, winning several local beautification awards. He kept a sign posted on his mailbox urging letter carriers not to walk on his grass.
Posted by John Woestendiek May 14th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, argument, charles clements, chicago, dispute, dog, dogs, fox terrier, grass, joshua funches, killed, killing, lawn, news, ohmidog!, pee, pees, pets, shooting, shot, university park, urinate, urinated, urinates
The trial of Abby Toll, the former University of Colorado student accused of taping a dog to a refrigerator during a dispute with her boyfriend, came to a dramatic end last week, with a guilty verdict and protests from Toll that she didn’t act alone.
Minutes after a jury convicted her on a felony charge of animal cruelty for sticking her boyfriend’s shiba inu upside-down on the side of a refrigerator, Toll insisted she was not solely responsible for the abuse.
“Bryan Beck knows what he did to that dog,” the Boulder Daily Camera quoted Toll as saying, referring to her ex-boyfriend. When asked by a reporter if Beck taped the dog to the refrigerator, she answered, “Yes he did.”
Neither Beck nor Toll testified in the case.
The shiba inu — then named Rex — had his legs, snout and tail bound with hair ties and packing tape before being taped upside down to a refrigerator in a Boulder apartment last April.
The guilty verdict came after two hours of deliberation. Toll, who now lives in Chicago, faces up to 18 months in prison. She is scheduled to be sentenced May 28.
Her attorney, George Kokus, said Colorado’s felony animal cruelty statute was misapplied in the case. Before the law was put on the books in 2002, animal cruelty violations were treated as misdemeanors in Colorado.
“The legislature’s intent was that this law should be used on serial animal abusers,” Kokus said. “The serial murderers of cats and dogs, that has a systematic torture plan to it.” Kokus, in the interview in the video above, also seems to imply that Beck played a role in the taping.
During the trial, animal-rights advocates stood outside the Boulder County Justice Center with signs protesting animal abuse.
The dog has since been adopted and is living in a new home, under a new name.
Posted by John Woestendiek April 19th, 2010 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: abby toll, abuse, animal cruelty, argument, boulder, boyfriend, court, dispute, felony, packing tape, prosecutors, reaction, refrigerator, rex, shiba inu, taped, taping, torture, university of colorado, video
A Wisconsin man has received a stern lecture and a sentence of six years in prison for cooking his ex-girlfriend’s dog.
A jury found Terry Kleiman of Green Bay guilty of burglary and mistreatment of animals after he broke into his former girlfriend’s apartment and put her 5-month-old Pekingese-poodle mix into an oven set at 350 degrees to get back at her following their break-up.
When the girlfriend, Alex Rouse, arrived home from the Oval Office Gentleman’s Club, where both she and Kleiman worked, she found the dog dead inside the oven, according to the Associated Press.
Kleiman was also ordered to pay Rouse $1,500 in restitution.
“I was almost nauseous when I thought about what you did,” the judge said in pronouncing the sentence. “I can’t imagine what that dog went through.”
Posted by John Woestendiek March 29th, 2010 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animal cruelty, animals, argument, boyfriend, break up, cooked, girlfriend, green bay, mix, news, ohmidog!, oven, pekingese, pets, poodle, prison, restitution, sentence, six years, terry kleiman, wisconsin
Abby Toll, the former University of Colorado student accused of taping her boyfriend’s dog to a refrigerator, did not have an “impaired mental condition” at the time that would excuse her behavior, a state mental health doctor says.
Toll, 20, has entered a not guilty plea, claiming she suffered from an impaired mental condition as a result of being an “ongoing victim of domestic violence.”
Her case goes to trial April 12, according to the Boulder Daily Camera. The doctor’s conclusion came in a pre-trial report.
Toll, who now lives in Chicago and is no longer enrolled at the university, is accused of binding her boyfriend’s 2-year-old shiba inu, Rex, in hair bands and packing tape and sticking him upside-down to a refrigerator during a fight.
Her boyfriend, Bryan Beck, also was charged with misdemeanor animal cruelty. In exchange for a guilty plea, he was given a one-year deferred sentence and 50 hours of community service.
The dog has since been adopted by another family.
Posted by John Woestendiek March 4th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abby toll, argument, boulder, boyfriend, bryan beck, colorado, court, defense, domestic violence, duct tape, impairment, mental condition, packing tape, plea, refrigerator, rex, shiba inu, stuck, taped, trial, university of colorado
A Pennsylvania woman was charged with animal cruelty and a weapons offense after she slit a dog’s throat Sunday night during an argument with her fiancé at his family’s home in Union Beach, N.J., authorities said.
Michele Milford, 35, of Scranton, was being held in the Monmouth County jail in Freehold in lieu of $10,000 bail, according to the Newark Star-Ledger.
Victor “Buddy’’ Amato, chief animal cruelty officer for the Monmouth County SPCA, said Milford and her fiancé argued during a party. During the dispute, she went into a laundry room and slit the throat of the family’s dog — twice.
While waiting for authorities, partygoers tried to slow the bleeding by pressing T-shirts and other items of clothing to the neck of the dog, a two-year-old Jack Russell terrier named Penelope.
The dog was rushed to the Red Bank Animal Hospital where she was scheduled to undergo surgery today.
Amato said Milford used a push knife, a two-inch blade with a T-handle designed to be grasped in a fist so the arrow-like blade protrudes from between the knuckles.
Amato said he did not know the reason for the argument, but it apparently had nothing to do with the dog.
The charges against Milford are fourth-degree offenses. The animal cruelty charge would be upgraded to a third-degree offense, punishable by a possible jail sentence, if the dog dies from her injuries, Amato said.
Posted by John Woestendiek January 26th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal cruelty, argument, cut, dog, fiance, jack russell terrier, knife, michele milford, monmouth county, monmouth county spca, new jersey, penelope, push knife, red bank animal hospital, scranton, slit, spca, surgery, throat, union beach, victor "buddy" amato
A Florida man who was angry with his mother tried to drown her two dogs in a nearby lake in Pompano Beach, tossing both of them into the water while they were enclosed in their crates, police said.
An animal control officer saved one of the dogs, a terrier mix. A second dog, a pregnant miniature pinscher, drowned, the Orlando Sentinel reported.
“This was just a despicable act,” city spokeswoman Sandra King said. King said a witness called authorities after seeing a man take the crates to the lake and toss them in. She said an animal control officer, who is also a diver, pulled the dogs from about 15 feet of water.
Deputies arrested Deangelo Veus, 29, who was jailed on two counts of animal cruelty. According to the Florida Department of Corrections, Veus spent about 19 months in prison for robbery, carrying a concealed firearm and felony driving with a suspended license.
Posted by John Woestendiek December 7th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, angry, animal control, animal cruelty, argument, attempt, broward county, crates, deangelo veus, diver, dogs, drown, drowning, florida, lake, man, miniature pinscher, mother, officer, pets, Pompano Beach, rescued, saved, son, terrier mix