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News and Information about Dogs, Cats, and Pet Products

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Awhile back, I asked my niece – who owns a calico kitten named Hazel – what she likes best about cats. She said, very matter-of-factly, “I like cats because they’re so cute. But I like dogs too, because they’re smart.”

I thought that was a pretty fair statement, even for a 5-year-old.  After all, dogs perform an awful lot of important roles in our society. I mean when was the last time you ever heard of a drug detector cat, a police cat, a seeing-eye cat, or a military bomb-sniffing cat ? But then again, is that because dogs are actually smarter, or um,  just a little bit more … cooperative?

I started checking around with pet behaviorists, and even an animal psychologist. Here are a couple of interesting facts I learned, which are all confirmed by Psychology Today:

  • Unlike the brains of dogs, the brains of cats have a surface area and structure that is about 90 percent similar to humans.
  • In an average cat, the cerebral cortex – i.e., the part of the brain responsible for cognitive information processing, decision-making, language interpretation, sensory input, and problem-solving — is larger and more complex than that of the average dog. In fact, a cat’s cerebral cortex contains about twice as many neurons as that of a dog.
  • Cats have more nerve cells in the visual areas of their cerebral cortex than humans and most other mammals.
  • Cats have longer-lasting memories than dogs, especially when they learn by doing rather than just seeing.

So long story short, cats are a great deal more intelligent than many people might suspect. Their independent streak can work against them, though, because many pet parents might presume their cats just want to be left alone. In truth, a cat can benefit tremendously from regular mental stimulation — especially when all the windows are  covered with frost, or that cat’s humans are away at work eight hours a day.

InteractiveCatToys

Most pet parents realize that their cats are MUCH smarter than many people might suspect. Stimulate this proven natural intelligence with fun, activity-based toys from Bergan, SmartCat, and Nina Ottosson.

 

So maybe one of your resolutions in 2014 involves some beneficial “brain training” for your best feline friend. What are some of your best options? When it comes to independent or group kitty play, consider activity-based toys that involve sensory stimulation and invite your pet’s direct engagement.

 

Cat Texts

Cats are extremely smart and curious, so they can get into mischief when left to their own devices. We realize they can’t actually send texts like Mittens here. Well all right, we wouldn’t put it past them.

 

At Two Bostons, there are a couple of options we especially like. SmartCat makes several sensory-stimulating products that leverage your cat’s natural sense of curiosity.  Bootsie’s Bunk Bed & Playroom, for example, is an ideal choice for multiple cats. It’s a sturdy wooden block that features numerous round openings for paws and toys to poke out.  It also has two bouncy spring-action toys on the outside, plus a comfy quilted pad up-top for rest breaks or gazing outside at those pesky sparrows. A great companion piece is the Peek-and-Play Pet Toy Box, which has a durable wood construction with a “Swiss cheese” design that provokes your cat’s natural predatory behavior and works with a variety of toys – Yeowww! Brand Catnip Toys are one great option.

For many cats (including my own), another all-time favorite is the Turbo Track made by Bergan. This is actually five toys in one, because you can snap the modular pieces together to create a range of different track designs. You can even add accessory pieces to increase complexity and elongate the track even further. I think of this piece as a sort of “Hotwheels/Habitrail” system for cats. They just love to paw and pounce at a round object as it scoots around the track, which can keep them actively occupied for hours … which, in turn, can mean they’re much less likely to claw at your drapes or become frantically entangled in Grandma Polly’s hand-crocheted afghan.

If you have a super-smart feline friend, give that natural intelligence a workout with any of our great activity-based cat toys by SmartCat, Bergan, Nina Ottosson and others. Any Two Bostons team member can provide suggestions that are custom-tailored to your kitty’s tastes. Don’t forget that we carry an extensive selection of interactive puzzle toys for your smart pooch, too!