The Truth About Cats and Dogs… and Horses Too

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By Tricia Roberts

If you’re reading this article, you most likely have a cat or a dog. You probably know a lot about your pet. You know when they’re hungry and what they like to eat. You know their sleep habits and which toy or stuffed animal they love the most. But even with how close you are to your pet and how well you know your furry family member, there are some interesting facts about cats and dogs that might surprise you. And since Wellington is the Winter Equestrian Capital of the World, we’ll cover a few fun horse facts too.

The truth about cats. We already know cats are independent and intelligent. They’re also affectionate and soothing to be around, especially when they sit in our laps and purr gently. Here are some interesting things about your loving fur ball you might not know.

  • Cats are capable of jumping up to 6 times their height and running up to 30 miles per hour over short distances.
  • Cats share over 95% of their genetic makeup with tigers – that’s where they get the prey-stalking and pouncing.
  • Whiskers on cats aren’t just for looks. Their whiskers are embedded deep into their bodies and are connected to their muscular and nervous systems, so whiskers serve an important function in helping them navigate, especially in the dark.
  • Cats have 32 muscles in each of their ears and can rotate their ears 180 degrees.
  • If necessary, cats can drink seawater for survival (something humans can’t do) as their kidneys are able to filter salt out of water.

The truth about dogs. What we know is that dogs are loyal and faithful. Sometimes just looking at a dog can put a smile on your face. Petting a dog can actually lower your blood pressure. Did you know when you pet a dog, you can lower the dog’s blood pressure too? Here’s more about man’s (and woman’s) best friend.

  • Dogs sweat only through their paws. Since this little surface area isn’t enough to cool them down, they ventilate and exchange heat through panting.
  • Dogs aren’t colorblind – they can see blue and yellow.
  • Puppies are born deaf, and hearing is the last of their senses to fully develop. When puppies are about three weeks old, their hearing kicks in. At that point, they can hear about four times better than most people.
  • All dogs dream, but puppies and senior dogs dream more frequently than other adult dogs.
  • Dogs don’t like hugs. They see a limb being thrown over them as a sign of dominance, so a hug can actually make them stressed or unhappy.

Let’s talk about horses. While a horse isn’t technically considered a pet, we can still love them just the same.

  • Horses can sleep both lying down and standing up because of a locking system in their legs. They can only achieve REM sleep when lying down, though.
  • Horses cannot breathe through their mouth, only through their nose.
  • Horses’ teeth take up more space in their head than their brains.
  • A horse’s brain weighs about half the weight of a human brain. Even so, they’re highly intelligent animals.