Scientists have known that children who grow up around cats, dogs, and other animals tend to have stronger immune systems than children who have little exposure to pets and farm animals. But a recent Danish study of 400 toddlers has found that early childhood exposure to cats can greatly reduce a child’s risk of developing asthma. The research was summarized by The Telegraph newspaper.
Researchers studied a group of young children from birth to 5 years. A third of the children had a genetic variation that predisposes them to developing asthma in childhood. One in three people in the general population have this genetic variation. The researchers found that exposure to cats at a young age significantly reduced the likelihood that these high-risk kids would develop asthma.
Why? The researchers believe that the presence of a cat somehow prevents this particular gene from switching on and triggering asthma. They suspect it might not be the cat itself, but possibly bacteria or other microorganisms the cat brings into the home.
This asthma gene is also thought to be associated with bronchitis and pneumonia. Toddlers exposed to cats also showed a decreased risk for developing these two diseases, in addition to asthma.
While exposure to dogs in early life also can reduce the risk of asthma in children, exposure to cats had the most significant impact on children with the genetic variation that is the strongest risk factor for the development of childhood asthma.
Does your dog get excited when the UPS truck comes around? Chances are your neighborhood UPS driver is just as happy to greet your dog too!
The adorable Facebook page UPS Dogs is full of great pictures of the dogs UPS drivers meet along their routes. Turns out, the open doors on those iconic brown trucks are perfect for a little canine meet and greet session.
A recent article on the website Bored Panda introduced us to Sean McCarren, a UPS driver who started the UPS Dogs page. Drivers have been posting adorable pictures of their four-legged welcoming committees ever since.
While the majority of pets on the site are dogs, other animals like cats, goats, and even deer get their chance to shine, too.
Be sure to check out the page for more sweet pictures of good pups like these!
November is Adopt a Senior Pet Month, a great time for animal welfare organizations to raise awareness about adopting homeless dogs and cats that are 7 years of age and older.
As part of this awareness campaign, Animal Planet has created a series of heartwarming videos about special pet adoption stories called “Mission Adoptable.” Be sure to check out their website for all the adorable videos. Here are just a couple of our favorites!
Jacinda Ardern was sworn in as New Zealand’s new Prime Minister this week, making history as the world’s youngest female leader (she’s 37). She’s also New Zealand’s youngest Prime Minister in 150 years and the third woman to lead the country.
Ardern’s adorable polydactyl cat Paddles is now causing a stir on social media. She made her Twitter debut just a few days ago and already has thousands of followers.
For more on Paddles and other current first pets around the world, check out this BBC News article. You can follow Paddles at @FirstCatofNZ. As she says, “Have thumbs, will tweet!”