Welcome to today’s installment of Mr. Pet Answer Man, where I answer your questions about pet behavior and pet psychology:
Question: My cat loves to knead me with its paws when I sit down to read a book. Why do cats do this? Signed, Eric.
Answer: Your cat believes that he is stimulating your milk production. It is nothing to be alarmed about, Eric, unless your cat really is stimulating your milk production.
Q. When I give my dog a hambone, he always digs a hole and buries it. Why do dogs bury bones?
A. This is vestigial behavior from wolf-pack days, when canines would bury hunks of caribou for later consumption. Many dogs continue this practice today for the obvious reason that hambone improves dramatically in flavor when covered with dirt and maggots for 90 days.
Q. Birds and fish are not the primary natural foods of cats. Why, then, does cat food come in chicken and tuna flavors?
A. Because Friskies scientists have yet to come up with a “gourmet rat-head” flavor.
Q. My cat, Hillary, makes odd chattering sounds with her teeth when she sees a bird through the window. What causes this?
A. She is involuntarily performing her distinctive “killing bite” as if she had actually caught the bird. This is a natural, instinctive reaction, and nothing to be alarmed about unless she also pretends to pluck feathers, chew, burp and otherwise descend deeper into her little fantasy world.
Q. My dog is scared to death of the small electric fan in our bedroom. He won’t even enter the room when it’s on. Why is this?
A. Dogs are wary of things that hum. Also, many dogs don’t like air blown in their faces at all. Try this experiment: Sit down close to your dog and blow directly at its muzzle.
Do you still have a face? Like I said, dogs really hate having air blown on them.
Q. My dog, Tipper, is so lazy he won’t budge from his nap spot on the lawn when I approach with my roaring, rattling Toro SuperPro Recycler lawn mower. How can I get him to move?
A. Mount a small fan on it.
Q. Can cats predict natural disasters? I’ve heard that cats behave in a bizarre manner before a big earthquake.
A. That’s true, but because cats behave in a bizarre manner all of the time, this is of no practical help.
Q. When someone is very upset or hysterical about something, why do we refer to them as “having kittens”?
A. I have no idea. The correct English usage should be “having itty-bitty kitty fitties.”
Q. Why do cats scream when mating?
A. What? Like you don’t?
Q. Why do cats have whiskers?
A. The generally accepted answer is that whiskers warn a cat if it is trying to squeeze through a too-small space. The real answer, of course, is simply fashion.
Q. Why do cats’ eyes shine when my headlights catch them in the dark?
A. It’s a safety feature, evolved through millions of years of encounters with Chevys.
Q. Why does my dog’s leg jerk back and forth uncontrollably when I scratch him at a certain spot in his belly?
A. What? Like yours doesn’t?
Q. Why does my dog get so excited a minute or two before my husband comes in the door?
A. Dogs, with their keen sense of hearing, can recognize their master’s footsteps or car-engine sounds from a block or more away.
Q. Yes, but then the dog barks at him like he’s a stranger.
A. Some dogs are keener than others.
Q. Why do dogs sometimes drag their rumps along the ground?
A. The same reason anybody would.
Q. My dog howls in the most bone-chilling manner every time he hears a siren. Why does he do this?
A. When your dog hears a siren, he believes that he is hearing his longlost wolf-pack communicating with him across the Arctic tundra. Naturally, your dog wants to join in on this chorus. The reason it is so deathly chilling to human ears is that it often sounds exactly like a “Sweet Adeline” barbershop chorus.