Anthro-zoologist John Bradshaw is the author of the books Cat Sense and Dog Sense and is an expert in animal behavior. Fresh Air spoke to him for both books and today we’re playing bits of each interview back-to-back. Whether you’re a cat person or a dog person, Bradshaw’s got you covered.
From the Cat Sense interview:
"I think cats are much less demonstrative animals than dogs are. It’s kind of not their fault; they evolved from a solitary animal that has never had the need for a sophisticated social repertoire in the way that the dog — having evolved from the wolf — had that ready-made. So their faces are just not terribly expressive, and some people read into that, that they’re kind of cynical and aloof and those sorts of things. But I don’t believe that for a moment. I think cats show, by their behavior, even if it’s a bit more subtle than a dog’s, that they really are fond of their owners."
From the Dog Sense interview:
"I think dogs have a right to sniff things whenever it doesn’t cause a problem to us. When I meet a dog, I hold my hand out. I don’t stick my fingers right out, just in case, but I just make a loose fist and put my hand out to the dog. If it’s a small dog, I’ll squat down. And that dog will want to come and sniff my hand and lick it if necessary. That’s a greeting, and I think if we don’t do that, I think it’s as upsetting to the dog as if we were talking to somebody that we never met before and covered our faces at that point in time, as if we were trying to disguise who we were."
Photo: Andrew Tallon via Flickr