The ease with which our cats climb the furniture and the way our dogs seem to understand us – these are just the tips of the iceberg when it comes to our pets’ amazing abilities. How much do you know about your mysterious cat, or intuitive dog?
In the team
Even the finest human athletes could learn a thing or two from our feline friends. While Olympians train for years to be fast, agile and springy, the humble house cat is six times faster than sprinter Usain Bolt, can jump up to six times its length and of course always land on its feet!
Listening to your secrets
Hearing is a cat’s strongest sense, so while we can only hear sounds as high as 20kHz, cats can hear sounds all the way up to 64 kHz. If you watch your cat closely, you’ll also see that they can move their ears separately and as far round as 180 degrees - not a bad party trick.
Think you’re in charge of your cat? Cats can change their meow to manipulate you – they can even imitate a human baby when they want food! Overall, cats can make more than 100 different sounds, so there really is a meow for every occasion. Cats also have a good long-term memory (actually longer than dogs), so once they know how to ‘play’ you, they’ll do it again!
Plenty of space
For anyone who suffers with poor spacial awareness, our cats have an enviable ability to know exactly whether they can fit through a gap - using their whiskers. They also have what are known as ‘free-floating’ clavicle bones, allowing them to squeeze through very small spaces.
The smell of safety
Dogs can be trained to perform a number of important roles in our society to keep us safe. Most commonly, they are recruited by the police and border forces to sniff out drugs, explosives and other dangerous substances. On average, a dog’s smell is 10,000 to 100,000 times more acute than ours, perhaps up to 10 million times better, depending on the breed. (And that’s how they can a smell a spoonful of sugar dissolved in a body of water equivalent to two Olympic-size swimming pools!)
Run like the wind
The Greyhound (and the less known Belgian Malinois) are regarded as the fastest dogs, reaching speeds of 45 miles per hour, while Siberian Huskies take home the medals for endurance events.
Here to help
Dogs also help us in a number of other ways as assistance, companion, service or therapy dogs. Specially-trained dogs can help to reduce anxiety in Alzheimer sufferers, guide those who are blind or deaf, alert people with epilepsy of an imminent seizure and warn diabetes patients of low blood sugar.
A deep understanding
Sometimes, our dogs seem to understand us better than any human can. Leading scientists have concluded that dogs can empathise with us after they were shown to catch yawns from us, just like other humans do. Another study revealed that dogs can tell when someone is being rude to their owner and will act negatively towards them!