“Cute Aggression” — Why We Want to Squeeze Adorable Baby Animals

Have you ever felt so overwhelmed by a cute baby animal that you wanted to squeeze it or take a pretend bite out of it?  Don’t worry you’re not weird…turns out there’s a scientific explanation for this feeling.  It’s called cute aggression!

A study published in the journal Frontiers of Behavioral Neuroscience sheds some new light on how our brains are triggered by the sight of cute animals.

A group of people were shown images of animals, ranging from adults to babies, and the researchers measured their brain activity and verbal responses.

The results?  No surprise…the cuter the animal (big eyes, round face, etc.) the stronger the cute aggression response!  Subjects showed more brain activity and expressed a desire to squish or eat the baby animal in the picture.

According to an article on the study written for the website Gizmodo, not everyone has the cute aggression response when they see baby animals.  The lead researcher estimates that between 25 to 30% of people don’t have it, but most of us do.

Why do so many people experience cute aggression?  Scientists theorize that it’s our way of processing overwhelming positive emotions.  The sight of a baby animal triggers our caregiving response.  Cuter or more infantile looking animals evoke stronger caretaking feelings than older looking animals.

 

Advertisements

How to Encourage Good Scratching Habits in Cats

As more and more cat owners are realizing the risks and hazards of declawing and letting their cats roam outdoors, they are faced with the issue of unwanted cat scratching behavior in the house.

Why do cats scratch and how can you encourage appropriate scratching?  Here’s some great information from the American Association of Feline Practitioners!

Why do cats scratch?

Cats have claws to help them hunt, defend themselves, and mark their territory.  Scratching is a natural feline behavior that serves a variety of purposes:  keeping their nails healthy, marking objects in their territory, and good old-fashioned stretching!

Some cats may also scratch when they are anxious and stressed.

How to help your cat with scratching issues

The AAFP advises cat owners to trim their cats’ claws regularly.  You can also provide multiple appropriate scratching surfaces and interactive play toys for each cat in the home.

Cats that exhibit stress related scratching (often in multi-cat households) can especially benefit from their own space and scratching materials.

What’s the best scratching product?

Most cats like to stretch upwards and scratch on a vertical surface.  Make sure you get a post that is tall enough for your cat to stretch on.  Horizontal scratchers are also available if your cat uses the carpet.

Cats prefer rough surfaces to scratch on, like tree bark in the wild.  This is why your cat may be drawn to textured furniture upholstery and carpet.

Choose a scratching post made of a rough material like sisal, corrugated cardboard, or wood.

How to encourage your cat to scratch appropriately

Place scratching posts near your cat’s favorite sleeping areas, and also near furniture that your cat likes to scratch.

Encourage your cat to use scratching posts by gently placing her near the post when she scratches furniture or carpet.  Reward good scratching behavior with your cat’s favorite things (treats, play, brushing, etc.)

 

Happy World Kindness Day!

Happy #WorldKindnessDay from success story “Komet” and all of us here at the FACE Foundation!

Thank you to our wonderful veterinary partners, friends, and supporters for all you do to help us save the lives of beloved family pets in need of urgent veterinary care!

 

US Law Enforcement Works to End Animal Abuse

Did you know that the National Sheriffs’ Association has a division called the National Law Enforcement Center on Animal Abuse?

The NLECAA website has lots of great information for animal lovers around the US who are interested in finding out how law enforcement responds to animal maltreatment.

They recently released a report on the connection between animal cruelty and violence against humans.  The report notes that before 2016, animal abuse was put into an “all other offense” category in a national crime statistics database.

Since 2016, law enforcement now collects data from all over the country on animal cruelty, including gross neglect, torture, organized abuse, and sexual abuse of animals.

The report provides guidance for first responders on the scene at animal abuse investigations, including how to link animal abuse to other forms of possible violent criminal activity.

You can download the full report HERE.  The National Law Enforcement Center on Animal Abuse also has a guide on how to report suspected animal abuse in your state.

You can follow the work the NLECAA is doing to protect animals on Twitter!

Images:  NLECCA