🤔 What in the world are cats thinking?

Plus: Veterinary Connections

Hello again 👋 Welcome back to another edition of Weekend Rounds!

We’re here to make sure you start your week on the right foot. Like the newsletter equivalent of the sugar at the bottom of your cereal bowl.

Here’s what’s in the bowl this week:

🤔 What are cats thinking?
🩺 Odds and ends from around the profession
🟪 Veterinary Connections

What are those pesky cats up to?

Why does it seem like our cats always knocking things over, hiding, or brooding in the corner plotting their quest for world domination?

An article this week in the Washington Post this week tried to answer the question and came up with the conclusion: Cats aren’t jerks. They’re just misunderstood.

We’re still a bit skeptical that cats aren’t, in fact, just jerks. But the article was much more than a fluff piece to generate clicks from cat lovers. The article makes a compelling case that cats are social animals who are constantly communicating with their human counterparts in their own cat-like ways. A 2019 study published in Scientific Reports found that domesticated cats know their name, and a similar study in Current Biology found that they can form meaningful attachments with humans.

According to James Serpell, a professor emeritus of animal welfare at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, the reputation of cats may be due to their history of domestication: “The cat suffers a bit from its legacy of just being something that lives around people’s houses and farms, and keeps the mouse population down. There’s this legacy of being not exactly a wild animal, but an animal that lives on the margins, so to speak, of society.”

And although cats may have descended from solitary creatures, current research shows that they’re actually quite social. In wild or feral colonies, cats develop dynamic relationships with their peers, including matriarchal bonds where females adhere more closely to one another. Males, once they’re about one year old, are more likely to move about nomadically.

Even though existing research focuses primarily on feral cats, any person who has lived with more than one feline can attest that the domesticated ones form bonds with each other as well, if they choose. In multi-cat households, cats may choose to form a strong bond or not at all depending on their personality - just like us humans who choose our friends.

Plus, a study published in Scientific Reports at the end of 2023 also found that cats can learn new tricks like fetching.

Maybe cats are more social animals than we’ve given them credit for in the past. And maybe, just maybe, they’re not plotting to take over the world… yet.

Odds and ends from around the profession

Here are a few other links that caught our eye this week and you may enjoy:

Veterinary Connections

Like millions of people around the world, we’re obsessed with the NYT Games app. If you’re anything like us, you actively look forward to Wordle, Connections, and trying to do the mini crossword as quick as possible.

So we went ahead and made a Connections board specifically for vets:

Let us know if you liked it by replying to this email and we’ll keep them coming!

For those unfamiliar, Connections is a game popularized by the New York Times. The goal is to find groups of four items that share something in common. Select four items and tap 'Submit' to check if your guess is correct.

How did we do today?

Tell us what you thought of this edition of Weekend Rounds so we can keep improving!

Login or Subscribe to participate in polls.