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WeirdnessWhat's the science behind the weird behaviors of cats and dogs? Live Science looked into several mysteries, including why dogs eat poop and why cats stretch so much, to explain the possible evolutionary and biological reasons for each.
Let's take a leap into the wild brains of your adorable, and often baffling, four-legged housemates.
Why do cats hate baths?Slide 2 of 41
Why do cats hate baths?
It's no mystery that most domestic cats dislike being in water, whether for a bath or a dip in a pool or lake. Most dogs, on the other hand, can't get enough of it. But why is this?
Perhaps it's because a cat's fur takes longer to dry than a dog's does, and cats don't like being sopping wet while they wait to dry off, Kelley Bollen, director of behavior programs for the College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell University, told Live Science in 2010.
Or maybe cats prefer to have all four feet on a solid surface and "do not appreciate the sensation of floating in the water," she said.
Moreover, some dog breeds, including the Portuguese water dog and the Irish water spaniel, are bred to "work" in the water and have body types equipped for swimming.
In addition, most dogs are pleasantly introduced to water when they're young, while cats are not, Suzanne Hetts, a wildlife biologist with Animal Behavior Associates in Colorado, told Live Science.Slide 3 of 41
Why do cats stretch so much?Slide 4 of 41
Why do cats stretch so much?
Cats like to stretch largely for the same reasons people do: It feels good, and it increases blood flow to the muscles, Andrew Cuff, a postdoctoral researcher of anatomy at the Royal Veterinary College in London, told Live Science in April 2016.
Cats sleep between 12 and 16 hours a day, meaning they're not moving for long amounts of time. When cats are sitting still or sleeping, their blood pressure drops, Cuff said. Stretching can reverse that, he added.
"As you stretch, it activates all of your muscles and increases your blood pressure, which increases the amount of blood flowing to the muscles and also to the brain," Cuff said. "This helps wake you up and make you more alert."
Stretching can also flush out toxins and waste byproducts that build up in the body during periods of inactivity, Cuff said. Moreover, when a cat stretches, it readies its muscles for activity, such as running after a mouse … or a treat.Slide 5 of 41
Why do dogs walk in circles before lying down?Slide 6 of 41
Why do dogs walk in circles before lying down?
Dogs often walk in circles before settling down for a snooze. This curious behavior is actually hardwired in them from prehistoric times, Leslie Irvine, author of "If You Tame Me: Understanding Our Connection With Animals" (Temple University Press, 2004), told Live Science in 2011.
Fido's wild dog ancestors would walk in circles to make a nest — an area with stomped-down grass or underbrush where they could sleep. This behavior may have also driven out snakes or large insects that otherwise might have bothered them, Irvine said.
Moreover, a nest would mark the dog's territory, telling other dogs to stay away, she said.Slide 7 of 41
Why do dogs poop along a north-south axis?Slide 8 of 41