By Laura Moss, Mother Nature Network
People aren't the only ones who get the blues - cats can suffer from depression too.
Behaviorists first recognized depression in cats in the 1990s, and felines can become depressed for several reasons.
A major disruption such as moving, adding or losing a family member or a change in schedule can trigger it. If a cat's owner is going through a stressful time, the animal could also mimic that unhappy behavior.
Also read: 11 ways to beat depression naturally
A depressed kitty can exhibit a variety of symptoms, but one of the main indicators of depression or other illness is loss of appetite. If your feline leaves food untouched - especially for more than a day - you should consult your veterinarian.
Additional signs of feline depression include the following:
• Loss of interest in playtime
• Lack of grooming
• Signs of lethargy or changes in personality
• Aggression •
Blog Posts by Mother Nature Network (mnn.com)
By Laura Moss, Mother Nature NetworkRead More »from Is My Cat Depressed?
By Laura Moss, Mother Nature Network
Terfel and Pwditat.
When 8-year-old Labrador mix Terfel started losing his eyesight, he was diagnosed with cataracts and began confining himself to his bed to avoid bumping into things.Read More »from Blind Dog Gets Seeing-Eye Cat
But then his owner, Judy Godfrey-Brown, let a stray cat into their North Wales home and something amazing happened.
The cat, named Pwditat, approached Terfel and seemed to sense that he couldn't see. Using her paws, she coaxed him out of his basket and led him out into the garden.
Also read: Recovery of cat named 'Pretzel' inspires Facebook fans
"Pwditat immediately seemed to know that Terfel is blind through some sort of sixth sense that animals have," said Anne Cragg, a friend who looked after the animals when Godfrey-Brown was in the hospital.
"They're fantastic friends. They really love each other. They are glued to each other and even sleep together now," she said.
Today, the unlikely pair is virtually inseparable and Pwditat serves as Terfel's
By John Platt, Mother Nature NetworkRead More »from Man Survived Being Swallowed by a Hippo
Hippos may look cute, but they are actually quite dangerous. Thousands of people are killed or injured by hippos in Africa every year. The 8,000-pound beasts have a mouth full of powerful tusks and sharp teeth and are both territorial and almost abnormally aggressive. One man who is lucky to have survived a hippo attack 17 years ago recounted his tale last week for The Guardian.
"I was engulfed in darkness," wrote Paul Templer of the attack on Zambezi River in Zimbabwe. "There was no transition at all, no sense of approaching danger. It was as if I had suddenly gone blind and deaf."
Although it took him a few moments to realize it, the upper half of Templer's body was firmly inside a bull hippo's mouth. "I seemed to be trapped in something slimy," he wrote. "There was a terrible, sulphurous smell, like rotten eggs, and a tremendous pressure against my chest."
Also see: 11 animals more likely to kill you than sharks
Determine the ancestry of your catIs your cat really a purebred Persian? Or is he more of a Maine Coon mix? Thanks to the University of California's cat ancestry test, you can now find out.Read More »from Genome Test Reveals Your Cat's Ancestry
The Feline Genetics Laboratory's Cat Ancestry test uses a DNA sample from your cat to determine if your pet's parents or grandparents belong to one of 29 "major fancy cat breeds."
Once DNA is isolated from the cotton swab, the lab tests for specific nucleotide polymorphisms and generates a profile. This profile is compared to a database of global cat profiles to see which geographical origin of cat it shares the most variants with.
Also read: Pet breed tests: Do they really work?
There are eight racial populations of origin, but most cat breeds can be traced back to Western Europe, South Asia, Egypt or the Eastern Mediterranean.
Dr. Leslie Lyons created the database by collecting DNA samples from cats worldwide at shows held by the Cat Fanciers' Association and the International Cat Association.
Next, the lab compares the DNA
by Laura Moss, Mother Nature NetworkRead More »from More U.S. Hospitals Give Pets Visiting Hours
Some hospitals now allow visits from your dogA growing number of hospitals are adopting personal pet policies, and Rush University Medical Center recently became the first Chicago-area hospital to allow pets in patients' rooms.
After three years of study, Rush decided that the emotional benefits to patients outweighed the risks, and the policy was approved in December.
While many hospitals allow visits from therapy animals, until recently health care professionals had to deny requests to bring family pets into patient rooms. But hospital policies have begun to change.
Also read: 10 ways owning a pet benefits your health
Today, in addition to Rush, the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore lets family pets visit their owners, as does the University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics in Iowa City; Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center in Richmond; and more than a dozen others.
North Shore University Hospital in Long Island even allows pets to stay overnight with patients in
- Mother Nature Network (mnn.com) | Author Blog Posts – Fri, May 10, 2013 10:25 AM EDT
by Melissa Breyer, Mother Nature NetworkRead More »from House Cats Bred with Wild Animals Sell for $35,000
The ancient Egyptians domesticated cats some 4,000 years ago, but a modern taste for all things exotic is working to undo that with the introduction of half-wild cats. Breeders bored with mixing plain old domestic mousers for new designer blends (hello, poodle cats) have taken to mating house cats with medium-size wild cats to create new animals that will prowl your shag carpet as if it were the grasslands of Africa.
According to The International Cat Association (TICA), the first effort to breed a wild cat with a domestic feline was in 1963 when Jean S. Mill "invented" the Bengal by crossing a house cat with the Asian leopard cat to create an animal with, "the loving nature of a favored fireside tabby and the striking look associated with leopards, ocelots and jaguars."
Also see: Photos of 11 amazing hybrid animals
A 4-month-old F1 Savannah catSince then, a whole menagerie of "living room leopards" has been spawned, including the Bristol (domestic
by Laura Moss, Mother Nature NetworkRead More »from Custom Leggings Help Disabled Cat Walk
Willow the catWillow was the kitten no one wanted. Born in November 2010 with backwards hind legs, she was the only kitten in her litter that couldn't find a home.
But when Wendy Matthews came across a Craigslist ad for the kitten in February 2011, she changed the tiny cat's life. "My heart was gripped," she told Catster. "I called the people and immediately drove 40 miles one way in a snowstorm to pick her up. She was definitely wanted!" Matthews named the kitten Willow and took her home.
Also read: Gallery of 7 inspiring disabled pets
Because of her deformity, walking was difficult and painful for Willow, but her biggest health challenge was the painful sores and wounds that developed from dragging her back legs behind her. Unlike human skin, a cat's skin doesn't develop callouses.
So Matthews crocheted Willow a pair of leggings to protect the feline's legs, and the kitty clothing changed Willow's life. Although walking was still a challenge, her mobility
Mother Nature NetworkBy Laura Moss, Read More »from 'Bionic Dog' Walks on 4 Prosthetic Paws
A mixed-breed dog named Nakio is making headlines for becoming the first canine to receive four artificial limbs.
Nicknamed the "bionic dog," Nakio gets around well on his prosthetic paws, and he's come a long way since his rescue.
When he was a puppy, Nakio was abandoned in a Nebraska house during the winter, and he was found frozen in a puddle in the home's basement. He was suffering from severe malnourishment, mange and frostbite. His mom was already dead.
Related: Gallery of 7 inspiring dogs with disabilities
Veterinarians nursed the weeks-old puppy back to health, but he lost all four paws, the tip of his tail and part of his nose to frostbite. Veterinary assistant Christie Pace of Colorado Springs, Colo., adopted the pup when he was 8 weeks old and brought him home.
"I have a soft spot for rescue animals in general," she told ABC News. "I was looking for something different, unique. I wanted to make more of a difference than with a
- Mother Nature Network (mnn.com) | Healthy Living – Tue, Mar 19, 2013 6:28 PM EDT
By Michael d'Estries, Mother Nature NetworkRead More »from New Species of Parasitic Wasp Named for 'Kill Bill' Character
Beatrix Kiddo, the heroine played by actress Uma Thurman in the Quentin Tarantino film series "Kill Bill," is the inspiration behind the name of a new species of parasitic wasp. Recently discovered in Thailand, Cystomastacoides kiddo is a member of the family Braconidae, infamous for their deadly reproductive habits.
Related: Bazinga bee named after 'Big Bang Theory' catchphrase
Female wasps find a suitable host (generally caterpillars) and deposit eggs inside; secreting hormones to protect the brood from the host's immune system. The eggs then hatch into larvae, which slowly feed on the host until they're large enough to eat their way out and kill it. If you're thinking of that stomach-popping scene from "Aliens," you've got the right idea. Still wondering why Uma Thurman's character (better known by her codename "Black Mamba") was chosen for the honor? A press release goes into a bit more detail, saying:
"The deadly biology of the wasp
By Melissa Breyer, Mother Nature Network
In 1970, Pillsbury filed for a trademark for a "non-frozen balance energy snack in rod form containing nutritionally balanced amounts of carbohydrate, fat and protein." Dubbed Space Food Sticks, the glorified Tootsie Rolls were a boon to parents looking for a healthy-sounding snack for their kids, and kids got to feel like astronauts. Space Food Sticks were considered the first mass-marketed energy-nutrition bars - also known as the first step toward reducing real food to the easy-peasy convenience of a candy bar. (If you've been to Kennedy Space Center or the Smithsonian Air & Space Center since 2006, you may have come across a reformulated Space Food Stick - but it's not the same snack as the '70s sensation.)
The idea isn't so awful: Condense protein, vitamins and carbohydrates into a compact package to stand in for a missed meal, to refuel during or after exercise, or as a healthy between-meal snack. But all the good is dependent onRead More »from 7 Nutrition Bars that Are Worse Than Candy