PET CORNER: Fun trivia about cats and dogs

By DEB GREEN
Guest Columnist

It is summertime in Manistee County. While that means there are a lot of great summer activities to participate in, it also means no trivia night at area restaurants again until fall. I must admit I am a trivia enthusiast.

So what does that have to do with Pet Corner? I am about to enlighten you with some dog and cat facts that you may not know or be aware of. To me it combines two of my greatest interests, animals and trivia, into one.

First a list of some interesting facts about cats. When I discovered this list, even I was surprised by several of them.

• Cats are North America’s most popular pets: There are 73 million cats compared to 63 million dogs. Over 30 percent of households in North America own a cat.

• A cat can jump up to five times its own height in a single bound.

• On average, cats spend two-thirds of every day sleeping. That means a 9-year-old cat has been awake for only three years of its life.

• A cat’s jaw can’t move sideways, so a cat can’t chew large chunks of food.

• Cats make about 100 different sounds. Dogs make only about 10.

• Cats don’t actually meow at each other, just at humans. Cats typically will spit, purr and hiss at other cat.

• A cat’s back is extremely flexible because it has up to 53 loosely fitting vertebrae. Humans only have 34.

• In the 1750s, Europeans introduced cats into the Americas to control pests.

• A cat has 230 bones in its body. A human has 206. A cat has no collarbone, so it can fit through any opening the size of its head,

• Cats have 32 muscles that control the outer ear (humans have only sic). A cat can independently rotate its ears 180 degrees.

• A cat’s nose pad is ridged with a unique pattern, just like the fingerprint of a human.

• Cats don’t have sweat glands over their bodies like humans do. Instead, they sweat only through their paws.

• In contrast to dogs, cats have not undergone major changes during their domestication process.

• The claws on the cat’s back paws aren’t as sharp as the claws on the front paws because the claws in the back don’t retract and, consequently, become worn.

• A cat can’t climb head first down a tree because every claw on a cat’s paw points the same way. To get down from a tree, a cat must back down.

• Researchers are unsure exactly how a cat purrs. Most veterinarians believe that a cat purrs by vibrating vocal folds deep in the throat. To do this, a muscle in the larynx opens and closes the air passage about 25 times per second.

Now for some fun dog facts.

• Dogs have three eyelids. The third lid, called a nictitating membrane or “haw,” keeps the eye lubricated and protected.

• A dog’s shoulder blades are unattached to the rest of the skeleton to allow greater flexibility for running.

• The most dogs ever owned by one person were 5,000 Mastiffs owned by Kublai Khan.

• Some dogs can smell dead bodies under water, where termites are hiding and natural gas buried under 40 feet of dirt. They can even detect cancer that is too small to be detected by a doctor and can find lung cancer by sniffing a person’s breath.

• A puppy is born blind, deaf and toothless.

• The origin of amputating a dog’s tail may go back to the Roman writer Lucius Columella’s (A.D. 4-70) assertion that tail docking prevented rabies.

• Dog nose prints are as unique as human finger prints and can be used to identify them.

• Dogs have a wet nose to collect more of the tiny droplets of smelling chemicals in the air.

• Different smells in the a dog’s urine can tell other dogs whether the dog leaving the message is female or male, old or young, sick or healthy, happy or angry.

• A dog can locate the source of a sound in 1/600 of a second and can hear sounds four times farther away than a human can.

• There are an estimated 400 million dogs in the world.

These facts came from “100 Interesting Facts about Cats and 100 Fun Facts about Dogs” by Karin Lehnardt at factretriever.com.

June is membership month, and Manistee County Humane Society is having a membership drive the whole month. Become a member and support Homeward Bound Animal Shelter. As a member you will receive updates during the year on shelter activities, adoptions and upcoming events.

Your membership is very important and vital to Homeward Bound’s success. You can find a membership form on our website, www.homewardboundmanistee.org, or at the shelter. We hope you will join us in our goal to make Manistee County a better place for pets in need.

Deb Green is a member of the Manistee County Humane Society Board of Directors. She can be reached at dgreen1004@gmail.com.

MORE INFORMATION

Homeward Bound Animal Shelter is located off M-55 at 736 Paws Trail in Manistee. Hours are noon to 6 p.m. on Wednesdays and noon to 4 p.m. Thursday through Saturday.

For more information, contact Homeward Bound at (231) 723-7387 or visit www.homewardboundmanistee.org or Facebook. Manistee County Humane Society/Homeward Bound is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.

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