What IS it about cats and toilet rolls?

11 11 2019

Actually it’s very clearly redirected prey-plucking. I wonder if non bird eaters (lions?) don’t do this? More research is needed…

Good radio show on consciousness

4 11 2019


Nice coverage of its possible functions. And if we knew those, we might have a way to investigate animal sentience...

Screenshot 2019-11-04 08.50.49


Our cat faces paper is out today!

30 10 2019

Out cat facial expressions study is out at last (and faced with videos of Sylvie playing, and Luke having his rump scratched, 87% of 3,200 participants identified positive affect!).

Click here for the paper, and here to find out more and test your own cat-reading abilities.

Below, Mouse, most readable of cats in our first pilot:

Mouse's faces for Twitter


A sable called Mabel

26 10 2019

OK I made up the name. But just how beautiful is this animal?

World’s loudest bird

22 10 2019

There’s nice coverage in New Scientist here, and the original paper can be found here. Apparently females risk deafness approaching one of these close up! – so how does the male protect his own hearing I wonder?

UK: the Season Finale

29 09 2019

Animal behaviour in the news

29 09 2019

Three imaginative animal papers made the news in the last couple of weeks.

Screenshot 2019-09-29 18.42.27First, grey squirrels were found to have a clever “it’s quiet… too quiet” vigilance response to the sudden cessation of bird chatter around them (original paper here, and nice write up by the Smithsonian here).

Next, rats were found to be great at playing hide-and-seek with humans, and to Screenshot 2019-09-29 18.49.06have (if I understand it aright) patterns of PFC firing that matched the behavioural inhibition you need to play this game well (original paper here, and cute write up by The Atlantic here). I really hope the researchers adopted them afterwards; after all, can you really kill a research animal you’ve played a role play game with?

092019_SB_cat-attachment_feat-1028x579Last but not least, cats can show attachment-like bonds with owners, it seems! (Interesting write up with a critical Danny Mills here, with the original paper here). Past work has been less kind to cats, but in my very biased experience Sylvie is less scared at the vets (where yesterday she was diagnosed as having the teeth of a homeless meth addict), when she can rub her cheek on my hand. Let the controversies rage!