- We can probably safely assume that humans evolved to love helpless, soft, furry creatures (i.e., our infants). This ensured the survival of our species.
- Dogs were domesticated approximately 20 thousand of years before cats were (since we humans were hunters before we became farmers – mice in our grains attracted cats no doubt), and thus have had more time to be bred for companionship and behavioral compatibility with humans.
- There are many documented cases of pets finding their way home when separated from their human companions, even years later. Pets consider us family.
- The presence of a cat or dog’s favorite human being has been shown to decrease the animal’s heart rate, a physiological effect observed when an animal bonds with another.
- Animals pick up on our chemical olfactory cues as well as our body language. It has been said that an animal can smell fear – don’t ever show fear or hesitate when confronting a barking dog. A dominant canine will attack a human if it can. Why else do we keep guard dogs ? But our pets can “read” us too. Our unconscious body movements and the sound of our voices give them cues to follow when interacting with us. Have you ever noticed how your greedy little schnauzer always makes a beeline for your friend Jim’s cheeseburger at a picnic ? And yes, they certainly can manipulate us. Anyone who has rubbed the belly of an adorable puppy can tell you that !
- Cats will not rub against an inferior cat in their society, so if they rub up against you, you rate. Likewise, a cat will not groom a cat it dislikes. If a cat licks you, it likes you !
- Dogs have been shown to produce more oxytocin hormone than cats when interacting with their owners. Production of this hormone in mammals is associated with caring, emotional bonding and nurturing. Oxytocin levels increase by 40-60% in humans as measured in our bloodstream when we interact with a loved one. Dogs’ oxytocin levels have been measured to increase by 57% when interacting with their owners, which would seem to indicate they care about them. Cats’ levels of oxytocin increase by only 12%, however when they interact with their humans. At least cats can love us a little XD
So give your fur babies a little extra love this Valentine’s Day, they deserve it for several thousand years of devotion to the human race, don’t you think ? Just don’t give them any chocolate – it’s poisonous to both dogs and cats !