Check out the weirdest cat and dog behavior explained! If you’re a cat owner or a dog person, this top 10 list of pet facts you didn’t know will explain you their language!
9. Dogs walk in circles before lying down
When your dog is about to go to sleep you may have noticed them walking round in circles before finally settling. This can seem particularly weird, especially as they don’t actually appear to be doing anything, but it turns out there’s historical reasons why this happens.
Before being domesticated, dogs lived in the wild and had to be aware of any dangers before they went to sleep. The process of walking around in circles has a number of benefits. First it would create a makeshift nest by flattening the grass for them to comfortably sleep on. It would also disturb any snakes or insects in the area that could have interrupted the dog while it was asleep. It would also be another way to define the dog’s territory by leaving its scent around where it sleeps so other animals would know to stay away.
Even though they don’t have any of these things to worry about when sleeping in your home, the action was hardwired into them when it was necessary, so it remains an instinctual behavior.
8. Cats burying poop
While cats are generally much cleaner than dogs, there’s still one bathroom behavior that baffles owners- why do they insist on burying their poop? Cats do their business cleanly in the litter tray, and then start churning the litter around to cover it up, and spill it all over the kitchen floor in the process.
Research into the practice has turned up some interesting conclusions. It’s thought that the reason for them doing this is linked with submission and as a precaution. In the wild, most animals have an acute sense of smell and can easily identify the odors of urine and feces. This is a particular problem if a predator picks up on it because it can lead directly to the cat and their litter of kittens. To avoid this, smaller and more submissive cats will bury their poop. Larger cats such as lions and jaguars don’t exhibit any of this behaviour at all. Instead they use their urine and feces to mark their territory and let everything else know that they should stay away.
In your home, a domestic cat will see itself as a subordinate to the human owner, so they will continue with this burying behavior. It’s also reinforced because they will likely have seen their mother do the same thing when they were young and don’t know any different. Cat owners are still debating whether the cat thinks it is subordinate…
7. Dogs sniffing each others’ butts
One dog behaviour that always grosses people out and can make for awkward conversation when walking in the park, is their love of sniffing each others’ butts. But what could they possibly get from this? The answer is surprisingly complex.
It all relates to how sensitive their sense of smell is. It is, in fact, between 10 thousand and 100 thousand times better than that of humans, and this allows them to pick up on far more than we ever could. They also have a special part to their nose called Jacobson’s organ that actually lets them ignore the smell of poop and focus on more interesting things.
The main reason why they sniff each other is to find out more about them. The glands in a dog’s anus release chemicals that can be used to determine all sorts of things about them such as their age, gender, and even their mood. It’s basically the dog version of checking out a facebook profile. They can also find out when a female is about to go into heat, and for most dogs it’s a completely acceptable means of saying hello and getting to know each other.
6. Cats bring home dead animals
Most cat owners who allow their pet the free roam of the outdoors have experienced this at some point. You come home to find a small present that has been left for you in the form of a dead bird or other small animal. I’ve gotten everything from a live mole to a praying mantis! But why do they do this when they’ve got plenty of food provided to them?
This is another behavior that has its roots from before cats were domesticated about 10,000 years ago. They would typically have many small meals a day, so would need to catch it in advance for when they needed it. This instinct remains, so whenever they have an opportunity they will take it.
Another reason is the maternal instincts of the cat who is responsible for teaching her young how to eat, hunt and to fend for themselves. Even though most female cats are spayed, so won’t have kittens of their own, it’s quite possible that they see you as part of their family. In order to look after you they treat you in the same way, and bring food home for you to make sure you are well fed.
Origins Explained is the place to be to find all the answers to your questions, from mysterious events and unsolved mysteries to everything there is to know about the world and its amazing animals!