the truth about cats and dogs

I’ve written two pieces about household pets in the last week – one about how personality and longevity relate in dogs, and the other about how your pets are trying to kill you.

IMG_5017Yes, your pets are trying to kill you. Ok, not kill you, and they mostly don’t do it on purpose, but they really are dangerous. Researchers at the CDC analyzed emergency room data and came up with estimates for how many injuries caused by falls are related to pets. A lot, it turns out. This weekend I met someone who’d gotten pretty banged up by falling over cats on the stairs. Yikes. Here’s the story.

The other story is about dogs, but it’s also about a theory in evolutionary biology. The question is how personalities evolved – all kinds of animals have them, and some biologists think they may have come about along with a few different life plans. One is sort of the “live fast, die young” plan, where you live like a pop star, reproduce early, take risks, and die young. This is thought to be associated with bolder personalities. The other is a more cautious, longer life. The guy in my story thought he’d look at dogs to see if these relationships are true across breeds with different personalities.

photo: by me

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