PDA

View Full Version : Interactions with our Pets.


Cainkane1
10th August 2009, 06:37 AM
I just bought a Toy Manchester puppy. I've had him only a few weeks but we've bonded rather well. We roughhouse and I quite frankly love him to pieces. I pet him a lot. Last night when he was in my lap I looked into his face. His eyes were closed and to appearances he was in a Heaven like state of mind.

I got to thinking. How did dogs and cats get like this? Dogs and cats can't hug and pet each other on the head. I've seen dogs enjoy each others company but no dog has ever held another dog in its lap and have it go to sleep. Is this learned behaviour? Did they learn this in their interactions with humans during our hunter gatherer periods? Did they evolve this affection to humans as a survival trait?

Bikewer
10th August 2009, 08:05 AM
It wouldn't surprise me... There was a recent study that indicates that a cat's purr may be specifically tailored to human perception...

Dogs are occasionally solicitous of each other; licking lying side-by-side, that sort of thing.

GreNME
10th August 2009, 09:26 AM
I just bought a Toy Manchester puppy. I've had him only a few weeks but we've bonded rather well. We roughhouse and I quite frankly love him to pieces. I pet him a lot. Last night when he was in my lap I looked into his face. His eyes were closed and to appearances he was in a Heaven like state of mind.

I got to thinking. How did dogs and cats get like this? Dogs and cats can't hug and pet each other on the head. I've seen dogs enjoy each others company but no dog has ever held another dog in its lap and have it go to sleep. Is this learned behaviour? Did they learn this in their interactions with humans during our hunter gatherer periods? Did they evolve this affection to humans as a survival trait?

You're on the right track, but with limited data for your hypothesizing.

Dogs evolved along with mankind from at least 15,000 years ago, possibly longer. Their evolution has been almost completely tailored around affinity for and observation of human activity and attention. We don't really have the play-by-play description of everything that happened, but we know that people began keeping wolf pups who displayed behavior that was friendlier to people and less stoic and aggressive than the adult wolves. As a result, the constant breeding for a specific developed juvenile behavior evolved very quickly in dogs. Also bred for was responsiveness to commands, both body language and verbal communication. Over time, dogs continued to develop and differentiate in configurations (usually through selective breeding by people) to get pretty much what we have today. A typical dog today exhibits a lot of behavioral characteristics (when not having to do with dog-human interaction) that resemble juvenile wolf behavior-- scratching behind the ears at arbitrary times is an example-- while at the same time having a very heightened and accurate set of instinctive reactions to human facial expressions, tone of voice, and body language. That 'juvenile wolf' behavior is behind the tendency for some dogs to like cuddling or laying in your lap, as it's reminiscent to their whelping time with their mother.

Cats have similar circumstances in their domestication, but not quite the same. Also, when it comes to petting an animal, many species of animal actually enjoy having the coat or neck stroked, particularly in species that have mothers that care for their young instead of letting them mostly fend for themselves. It's sort of a soothing thing when the animal is comfortable with whomever (or whatever) is doing it.

Alareth
10th August 2009, 09:47 AM
He's just lulling you into a false sense of security before turning into Cujo.

Cainkane1
10th August 2009, 10:50 AM
Cujo had rabies. Butch has all of his shots.

HansMustermann
10th August 2009, 11:29 AM
Well, I don't know about dogs, but cats not only lick themselves clean a lot, but lick the heck out of their kittens. Apparently even digestion in kittens doesn't quite work as well without the massage of being licked on the belly by their mother... or some gentle stroking if you must raise a kitten without a mother.

As with most such behaviours, it makes sense for the animal to also be wired to like it. It's the easiest way for evolution to supply that behaviour.

Sleeping on a lap, well, at least cats seem to be wired to seek a _safe_ place to sleep, and generally they prefer it off the ground. Incidentally rubbing against something wih the head and shoulder is actually marking the safest territory, for cats. The inner sanctum, so to speak. The holiest of holies. The place where it's safe to be asleep and unconscious.

So pretty much invariably cat owners get judged and marked as "the safest place to sleep on." Presumably because you double as a big strong alpha who can protect that sleeping cat.

The purr... well, it's not entirely human selected. All "small" cats (i.e., up to cheetah and puma) can and do purr naturally. Humans didn't produce that, we just sorta found it cute.

To make it clear, nobody knows for sure what it does, and all sorts of hypotheses have been put forward, ranging all the way to complete woo.

My favourie is based on the following observation: cats don't only purr on your lap, they also purr for their kittens, but they also purr when ill or badly injured, or... and here's the important part... when they lose a fight and want to stop the aggression. Sort of an "ok, I give up" signal. The only thing that really makes sense for all those situations is IMHO: it's an "I'm not a threat, don't fight me" signal. Or sort of, "I come in peace."

That domestic cats purr even in their sleep near humans... well, I guess it could be selected by humans too, but in view of that hypothesis it can also mean that the cat is very aware of the difference in size and strength. You know, making sure you know it's not an enemy, just in case ;)

Oh, and short bursts of purring are also used as a makeshift R in several cat "words". For example in "mrrk" or "mrrh" (there actually seems to be a difference in accent across the globe), which, as far as anyone can tell, means "food." It's what they "say" when they brought you a freshly killed mouse or bird and, basically, want to call you to dinner. Or when they call their weaned kittens to such a dinner.

slingblade
10th August 2009, 11:34 AM
My cats are bathing each other at the moment. Both are purring. In a few moments, they will jump up and run around the apartment in a game of chase. Then, they will lie down next to each other, probably touching, and take a nap.

My cats are very solicitous of each other. They get affection from me and my husband, but they also get it from each other.

GreNME
10th August 2009, 11:52 AM
The purr... well, it's not entirely human selected. All "small" cats (i.e., up to cheetah and puma) can and do purr naturally. Humans didn't produce that, we just sorta found it cute.

Larger cats can purr, or at least the lion can. I don't know about tigers or panthers and such.

DC
10th August 2009, 11:56 AM
Larger cats can purr, or at least the lion can. I don't know about tigers or panthers and such.

i bet its not realy that relaxing to hear like from a cat :D

HansMustermann
10th August 2009, 12:41 PM
Larger cats can purr, or at least the lion can. I don't know about tigers or panthers and such.

Actually, technically they can growl.

The technical difference is that the large ones can only do it on the exhale, the smaller ones do it both on the inhale and exhale so it can be a continuous purr.

Aepervius
10th August 2009, 12:58 PM
It is probably worthless without evidence but I read somewhere that actually the purr is on a frequency which help mend bones and also grow them. So it might actually have an utility for kitten or wounded cat.

Cainkane1
10th August 2009, 01:13 PM
Larger cats can purr, or at least the lion can. I don't know about tigers or panthers and such.
I always though that the larger felines lacked the ability to purr. I once held a lion cub in my arms while at a zoo and even though the cub seemed to enjoy my cuddling I heard no purr. Just a loving fixed stare right at my eyes.

HansMustermann
10th August 2009, 01:50 PM
It is probably worthless without evidence but I read somewhere that actually the purr is on a frequency which help mend bones and also grow them. So it might actually have an utility for kitten or wounded cat.

Let's just say that if anyone knew such a frequency which can actually regrow bones -- as opposed to it just being a form of the New Age vibrations and frequencies woowoo -- it would be used for fractures, don't you think?

GreNME
10th August 2009, 02:14 PM
Actually, technically they can growl.

The technical difference is that the large ones can only do it on the exhale, the smaller ones do it both on the inhale and exhale so it can be a continuous purr.

Yeah, I think I heard that they only do the sound on an exhale, but they do have that coo-ing sound that is pretty much a purr that they do when being affectionate. The hardware is just a bit different.

GreNME
10th August 2009, 02:15 PM
Let's just say that if anyone knew such a frequency which can actually regrow bones -- as opposed to it just being a form of the New Age vibrations and frequencies woowoo -- it would be used for fractures, don't you think?

I'd be willing to accept grant money to perform research on the subject. ;)

kerikiwi
10th August 2009, 02:53 PM
Just a loving fixed stare right at my eyes.

That was no loving stare...

HansMustermann
10th August 2009, 03:43 PM
Yeah, I think I heard that they only do the sound on an exhale, but they do have that coo-ing sound that is pretty much a purr that they do when being affectionate. The hardware is just a bit different.

They have their own signs and sounds of affection, that much is clear. Just not technically the purr, is all I'm saying. The semantics of the growl (that purr-on-the-exhale equivalent) in big cats are AFAIK very different.

Steelmage
10th August 2009, 04:05 PM
I looked up if big cats can purr, this is what I have found (with links included):



http://www.veterinarypartner.com/Content.plx?P=A&A=1495&S=2


Our cats have one thing to lord over the "King of Beasts" and other more formidable felines. A cat can purr, but the lion can't, nor can any of the other big felines. The tiger can rumble a friendly greeting but only on the exhale. No big cat can get his motor running the way our household kitties can, purring constantly as effortlessly as breathing, both in and out. To even things out, however, big cats possess the ability to roar. On the whole, the little cat got the better part of that deal, at least where humans are concerned.




http://en.allexperts.com/q/Wild-Animals-705/Big-Cats-2.htm


http://www.5tigers.org/Kids/basics/AskAnnie/Q8.htm states that scientists are undecided whether big cats can purr.

http://www.lairweb.org.nz/tiger/big.html states that ‘big cats' differ from ‘small cats' because pf the hyoid bone, which connects the tongue to the roof of the mouth. The hyoid bone has an elastic segment in big cats, but is hard all over in small cats. The elastic segment allows big cats to roar, but prevents them from purring in the same manner small cats can. Small cats can purr when they inhale and exhale, but big cats can only produce a 'purring' type of noise, when they exhale. To confuse the matter, http://www.azdrybones.com/felids.htm implies that big cats can purr both while inhaling and exhaling; the other cats purr on exhaling only. I think that the site got its facts the wrong way round!

The answer to your question depends on whether you consider this noise to be a true purr or not. If you do, the largest purring cat is a big cat (see below). If like
http://www.tigerfdn.com/Tigerworld/trivia2.htm, http://science.howstuffworks.com/question394.htm and
http://madsci.wustl.edu/posts/archives/may96/828639116.Zo.r.html, you think roaring cats cannot purr and that a true purr can only be produced when the cat inhales as well as when it exhales, the largest purring cat probably is a mountain lion.

http://www.wildcatconservation.org/faq.shtml states that all cats are able to purr.

http://www.newton.dep.anl.gov/askasci/zoo00/zoo00113.htm and http://www.fortworthzoo.org/conserve/survival.html states that big cats can purr loudly, when exhaling.
http://madsci.wustl.edu/posts/archives/may96/828639116.Zo.r.html states that leopards make deep, purring sounds.
http://www.msah.com/bulletin70/ states that lions and cheetahs purr. http://www.lionresearch.org/FAQ/FAQS.html states that lions purr occasionally as they exhale.

http://ladywildlife.com/animal/bengaltiger.html, http://www.fortworthzoo.org/conserve/survival.html and http://pudang.tripod.com/physio.html state that tigers purr only when breathing out, due to their larger nasal morphology. http://frank.mtsu.edu/~jpurcell/Walker/Wildlife/tigers.html states that tigers purr when they feel good, or sometimes when they are in pain. http://www.lairweb.org.nz/tiger/communication.htmlstates that some people claim to have heard a tiger purr, while others are certain that tigers cannot purr.

As there is so much disagreement whether or not big cats purr, it is difficult to give a definitive answer to your question. Looking at the evidence, it seems that tigers can produce a purring sound and, if this is defined as a purr, the tiger is the largest purring cat. If the tiger cannot produce a purring sound, the largest purring cat is the lion. If a purr is defined as a sound, which can be produced by inhaling as well as exhaling, the largest purring cat is a mountain lion.

Personally, I think that the bulk of the evidence indicates that the tiger can purr and is therefore the largest purring cat.



http://www.sniksnak.com/cathealth/whydo.html


Big African cats only purr in short bursts, but the house cat can purr for hours. Curiously, scientists tell us that a cat never purrs when alone.



http://www.loc.gov/rr/scitech/mysteries/catspurr.html


As the kitten grows into adulthood, purring continues. Many suggest a cat purrs from contentment and pleasure. But a cat also purrs when it is injured and in pain. Dr. Elizabeth Von Muggenthaler has suggested that the purr, with its low frequency vibrations, is a “natural healing mechanism.” Purring may be linked to the strengthening and repairing of bones, relief of pain, and wound healing (See Web link to Felid purr: a healing mechanism).

Purring is a unique vocal feature in the domestic cat. However, other species in the Felidae family also purr: Bobcat, Cheetah, Eurasian Lynx, Puma, and Wild Cat (Complete list in Peters, 2002). Although some big cats like lions exhibit a purr-like sound, studies show that the Patherinae subfamily: Lion, Leopard, Jaguar, Tiger, Snow Leopard, and Clouded Leopard do not exhibit true purring (Peters, 2002).”

HansMustermann
10th August 2009, 04:13 PM
Just since one link brought that up, the mountain lion is still technically not a big cat. As in, not a member of Pantherinae. Technically it's more related to your house cat than to a true panther, albeit a very overgrown version of that cat :p In fact, it's on par with the leopard for weight and size.

But still, it's a big small cat. Umm, I guess that's like being a miniature giant hamster ;)

But, anyway, that's why it can purr.

GreNME
10th August 2009, 04:36 PM
Just since one link brought that up, the mountain lion is still technically not a big cat. As in, not a member of Pantherinae. Technically it's more related to your house cat than to a true panther, albeit a very overgrown version of that cat :p In fact, it's on par with the leopard for weight and size.

But still, it's a big small cat. Umm, I guess that's like being a miniature giant hamster ;)

But, anyway, that's why it can purr.

I concur with that. (mostly that a mountain lion classifies as a 'small cat')

I do find it interesting that one of the quotes in the previous post state that it was the tiger, not the lion, who sometimes makes purring-like sounds. Maybe I had my memory backward. I wasn't aware that there is a deal of uncertainty, though. Thanks for the info. I tend to not be too much on the up-n-up on the various cat species when it comes to very specific stuff like that (though I do know enough about their behavior to fear them far more than I would a typical grizzly or polar bear, as they can be way more unpredictable).

Lucian
10th August 2009, 05:12 PM
They have their own signs and sounds of affection, that much is clear. Just not technically the purr, is all I'm saying. The semantics of the growl (that purr-on-the-exhale equivalent) in big cats are AFAIK very different.

I think the happy/friendly big cat sound is sometimes called "chuffing:"

In close quarters, tigers will express greetings and friendly intentions using what is called prusten or “chuffing”. This is a series of puffs of air through the nose which produces a fluttering sound. It is a happy sound that reinforces camaraderie.
http://hewhowalkswithtigers.deviantart.com/art/Chuff-Love-94367693

Sir Robin Goodfellow
10th August 2009, 06:13 PM
Birds also display affectionate behaviour. My little popinjays will groom my hair and beard stubble, and some birds will allow humans to groom their feathers. When they are bonding with each other, they take turns rubbing the feathers on each others' necks.

And sadly, it appears that they also do something akin to grieving when they lose a long-time mate. When Molly the parakeet died in May, Desmond, her "husband", sang a sad, haunting tune for most of the rest of his life. It was a song I never heard before her death. When I would approach his cage, he would perk up, looking to see if I was bringing his "wife" back. They were together for over twenty years. I don't think he ever got over her death. He died yesterday, and I buried him beside Molly. I'm not very sentimental, but it seemed fitting for them .

We sure do get attached to our animal friends.

Ysidro
10th August 2009, 07:44 PM
How the hell did the cat people take over this thread? Damn filthy cat people!

Dogs rule, cats drool! No wait, dogs drool. DAMN!

slingblade
10th August 2009, 08:20 PM
How the hell did the cat people take over this thread? Damn filthy cat people!

Dogs rule, cats drool! No wait, dogs drool. DAMN!

Y'know, some of us like cats and dogs.

We're bipetual. :cool:

Xulld
11th August 2009, 04:28 PM
Did they learn this in their interactions with humans during our hunter gatherer periods? Did they evolve this affection to humans as a survival trait?

Um your dog experienced something nice and responded as if it was nice, not really a hard behavior to learn.