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Fiona's Favourite Pet Facts

Published: 
Author: 
Bianca Amponsah
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We all love discovering new things about our four-legged family members. Am I right? And after 23 years on the frontline as a registered veterinary nurse you best believe, Fiona has some fascinating facts!  
 

You may have heard some of these already, but we reckon others will have you saying "What in the heck!?"  
 

So, cuddle up with your companion and settle in to enjoy these entertaining tidbits about our furbabies. Check out these six fun pet facts you won't believe!  


Popcorn Paws!


1


Dog's feet smell like popcorn. Go on have a sniff, we dare you! As well as popcorn, other pet parents have been known to compare the smell to tortilla chips or Cheetos. And our friends across the pond call them Frito Feet, referring to the popular brand of crisps. How cute! 
 

The smell is completely natural and nothing to worry about. Canine foot odour is actually fairly common and oddly, the aroma is also quite appealing and 'comforting'.  


Even the cleanest, healthiest pooch paws can give off this scent because they have trillions of bacteria and fungi living on their skin.  


And just like us, humans sweat through our feet, dogs sweat through their paws! Canines get particularly clammy when they're nervous.  
 

Ever seen the little sweat paw prints they leave on the rubber tables at the vets? The bacteria in question are called proteus and pseudomonas and it's what gives off this yeasty, slightly sweet smell.   


One person who really enjoys the smell and you will often find sniffing her dog's feet is Fiona herself! But don't we all? No, well, now is as good a day as any to start! Happy sniffing!   



What time do you call this?!


2


Pets can tell the time! Well, not like we do, but they do sense the time. And yes, they are absolutely judging us for it. So, when we tell them "we'll be right back" they might not be buying it as much as we think they are.  
 

Ever find the tribe hovering around at dinner time? If you feed at the same time every day, you'll more than likely find your pets congregating just before that time.   
 

No, they haven't figured out how to read the kitchen clock, they are simply putting two and two together!  


It's not a coincidence when you see them next to their lead or near the door just before walkies either. Or if you're a cat parent, you'll be used to the aggressive meows when you're 60 seconds late to put out their dinner! Translation: how dare you hooman!  
 

Our pets are very clever beings. As much as we know them inside out, they know us and our daily routines. Because of this, like humans do, our pets observe and use internal and external cues to figure out what point they're at in the day. 


Wait a meowment!


3

Cats do not typically meow at each other. Only at humans!  


Whilst our feline friends can and do use vocal cues when communicating with each other, cat language is very different.  


We're sure you've heard the middle of the night catfight between strays involving lots of trills, hisses, yowls, and growls.  


But cats speak mostly through scent, facial expression, complex body language and touch.  


Research suggests the reason cats meow exclusively at humans is because they know that "cat language" doesn't work on us.  


Domestic cats are clever creatures and they've worked out that we don't understand their other cues like scent and body language.  
 

Because of their dependency on us, they've mastered the art of meowing to communicate. Some scientists even believe they've purrfected their meows specifically to manipulate people. Who knew evil geniuses could be so heckin' adorable?  


But meows are not the only way our cats communicate with us. How could we forget the charming chirps and purring sounds that our selectively snuggly companions make when they're happy.   


And the not-so-nice hisses that they use to warn other animals and us humans when it's time to back away. Far, far away.  


Wise Whiskers!


4


Cat whiskers have a purpose. They aren't just for looking cute and tickling you during cuddle time. They contain a sensory organ called a proprioceptor which helps them judge distance and space. Making most cats very elegant with their jumps.   
 

Whiskers are highly sensitive and can sense vibrations and slight changes in the air. This allows them to manoeuvre in the dark, measure distances and hunt prey!  
 

Cats also express their emotions through their whiskers. Usually, when the whiskers are hanging loosely, the cat is relaxed, happy and content.   


When a cat is curious or hunting, the whiskers will typically face forward. 


If a cat's whiskers are rigid and flattened against the face, it may feel threatened and defensive. FYI, it's wise not to pet, pick up or approach a cat when you see the whiskers are pulled around their face!  


If you're a cat parent, you'll also notice the whiskers above their eyes, ears, jaw and forelegs!  


The ones on the forelegs are called carpal whiskers and they are one of the reasons cats are such successful hunters, as they help to determine the movement of prey.  


These whiskers protect your cat's sensitive spots, as they can sense anything from small specks of dust to sharp objects. If cats really do have nine lives, they have their clever face fuzz to thank as it offers purrfect protection from possible danger or injury.  


Did you know that cats can also get whisker fatigue, also known as whisker stress? This happens when there is over-stimulation of the sensory system of the whiskers and it can seriously affect your cat's wellbeing.  


Because whiskers are so sensitive and work like a radar, cats are constantly in tune with the world around them. This can cause somewhat of an information overload, even from simple things like brushing against food and water dishes.  


Whilst many vets think whisker fatigue isn't anything to worry about, cats are very good at hiding stress. If your cat is pacing in front of its bowls, reluctant to eat but seems hungry, is pawing at food and knocking it to the floor before eating or acting aggressive toward other animals around food, it could be a sign.  
 

However, these behaviours could also be caused by underlying health issues such as dental problems, gastrointestinal diseases or behavioural issues. 


If you're concerned about your cat, you can always speak to one of our registered vet nurses here. They can help you get to the bottom of what's causing the behaviour or advise you if they think it's time to see your vet.  
 

Luckily, if it is just whisker stress, it's very easy to solve! Many bowls on the market can prevent fatigue at feeding time. Similarly, you can just provide a flat surface or a wide-enough bowl so that their whiskers don't touch the sides.  
 

Most cats also prefer a large flowing water source for drinking. It might be worth investing in an automatic, fresh water source, like a cat water fountain! Boujee!   


But whatever you do, never EVER trim your cat's whiskers, as this will only make things worse! Trimming isn't a solution to whisker fatigue and it will actually frustrate your feline as it dims their perception and throws them off.  


Nose Way!


5


Dog nose prints are unique to each pup! Just like no two fingerprints are the same, neither are our companion's boop nozzles!   
 

Every dog's nose has its own unique pattern of ridges, dimples and creases.  


Some sources even suggest that canine nose prints are so unique to each dog that they can be used for identification. And after a quick Google search, it seems this has actually been done before.  


From 1938 until April 1992, the Canadian Kennel Club took dog's nose prints as a form of unique identification for registration purposes.  


As technology advanced, this was soon phased out and nose prints were replaced with microchips. You learn something new every day!  




Toebean Trivia!


6


Cats have 5 toes on the front paws but only 4 on the back paw!  


Did you just go to check? Is your mind absolutely blown? That's right, our funny little felines have strange little toe beans.  
 

Most creatures in the animal kingdom have four toes, five toes are mostly seen in humans or primates. So, it is a mystery as to why our cats have this extra digit. Some theories suggest it is to give our furrfriends an advantage when climbing and to improve balance and speed.  


This of course doesn't apply to polydactyl cats which can have six (or more!) on each paw. Even though this is a genetic abnormality, it's also quite common (and dare we say, cute).   
 

Sometimes the paws take on the appearance of little mittens aka mitten paws. It may make nail clipping a bit more of a challenge but overall, polydactyly is harmless to a cat's health and wellness.  
 

It can actually benefit some cats because the wider, larger paws make it easier to balance on surfaces, climb and hunt prey.  


So, there you have it! Our pets are more than just a pretty face, they're actually magical, complex creatures! Who would have thunk it!?  
 

Did you learn something new? Do you have a favourite pet fact that we didn't mention? We would love to hear from you on social media below!
 

If you're an obsessed pet parent who loves being wowed, why not take a look at our other blogs? You'd be barking mad not to! 

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With decades of experience, our veterinary nurses are not just there when disaster strikes, but open to having a chat with any pawrent interested in seeking advice and guidance on their pet.

Fiona Eldridge
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Fiona Eldridge
Hi! I'm Fiona, Buddycare's lead Veterinary Nurse and I'm here to answer all of your pet related questions dog and cat emoji
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