Weird and Wonderful Pets


This article is written by Pet Circle veterinarian, Dr Belinda Stancombe

Pets are utterly unpredictable, gloriously goofy and non-stop fun...that's why we love them!! We all have pets that do unusual things, but have you ever stopped to wonder if there is something behind their weird behaviour?

We put the call out to our customers for their most bizarre pet video's. Our vets have picked five of the quirkiest videos, along with some other unusual pet behaviours, and explained why our pets do these weird and wonderful things.

Kitty Bath Time

Contrary to popular belief, some cats love the water, like Rosie the cat! Certain breeds such as the Maine Coon and Norwegian Forest Cat are well known for their love of water and even have water-proof coats! Other breeds known for their love of water include the Bengal, Abysinnian, Manx and Japanese Bobtail.

Some cats prefer to drink fresh running water. Indoor cats will seek out water sources such as the shower or sink for fresh water. It is not uncommon to find these cats licking the shower tiles after you have finish your daily bath or shower.

For cats that prefer fresh running water, a water fountain can be a fantastic addition as they provide your cat with a continuous source of purified running water. Encouraging your cat to drink more and increasing their hydration can aid in the prevention of urinary issues and help support their kidneys.

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Army Crawling

There are many reasons that dogs may army crawl like Hazel the Dachshund!

All puppies start their life off by crawling. In some pets this behaviour may be continued as a trick if they have gained attention from doing it in the past. I mean who can resist a cute dog crawling towards them with big puppy eyes!

Another reason that dogs may crawl along different surfaces is to scratch an itch. This may be an area that they simply can not reach or it may be that their belly itself is itchy. If this behaviour is repeated, or you notice that your pet has a rash or irritation on their belly, they may be suffering from an allergy or skin irritation.

Common causes of skin irritations including fleas, insect bites, dry skin or allergies. If you are concerned that your pet is suffering from itchy skin then a consult with your veterinarian is recommended to find the cause of the itchiness. To strengthen your pet's skin layer, they may benefit from a skin support diet or Omega 3 supplement.

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The Zoomies

The Zoomies is a term used to describe a period of hyperactivity where your dog or cat, tears around the house or yard at a million miles an hour. As observers, these episodes can be hilarious to watch and at times can seem to come out of nowhere, preluded by a familiar and wide-eyed look on your pets face, almost like they have seen a ghost! Regardless of how strange this behaviour may be, dog and cat zoomies are natural, common and completely normal!

So what are zoomies and why do our pets do them? The Zoomies or Frenetic Random Activity Periods (FRAP), are a way for dogs and cats to burn excess built-up energy. Although FRAPs occur in pets of all ages, they are more common in young animals as they have lots of energy!

The most common time for dog Zoomies to occur is first thing in the morning or late in the afternoon, after a bath or following a stressful event like a trip to the vet. Because cats are more active at night, many cat Zoomies occur in the evening and unfortunately may result in your cat attacking your toes or landing on your head in the middle of the night when you are sleeping!

If your pet has excessive periods of hyperactivity, then they may need to burn more energy though exercise or playtime. Taking dogs for walks is a great way to burn excessive energy and help tire them out. Providing your cat or dog with interactive toys, is a great way to keep their body and mind active at home and help cure boredom.

Pets may also show hyperactive behaviour if they are suffering from pain, stress or anxiety. If you are concerned about your pets activity levels changing or any unusual behaviour, a check by your veterinarian is recommended to help identify the cause.

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Digging in Water

This German Shepherd is certainly having a lot of fun!!! There are many reasons that dogs may dig in water.

Puppies are notorious for getting into everything, and water is no different. Many puppies will dig in their water bowls and get into all sorts of mischief. Fortunately, this is something that most puppies grow out of. If your dog tips out their water bowl, an anti-spill water bowl is recommended to ensure that when you are not home, they always have fresh drinking water available.

Dogs are naturally curious and if they spot something in the water, they may dig to try to reach it. This is common with stainless steel bowls as they can reflect the light or show your dog's reflection, which may catch their attention. During the hot summer months or after play, some dogs may seek water in an attempt to cool down, choosing to lie in water, splash themselves or dig in their water bowl to cool themselves.

For some dogs, especially water loving breeds, playing in the water is just a lot of fun!! They naturally enjoy the water and love playing in it and generally love dog friendly pools or water toys. For some dogs, especially working breeds, water play can become an obsession, so it may be best to restrict water play.

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Box Cats

If you are a cat lover, you will know that cats loooove boxes! At Pet Circle, we receive hundreds of photos and videos each year of pets enjoying their pet circle orders, but especially of cat's enjoying the box that they came in, no matter how big or small...just like Leezie the Siamese cat in this video!

So why do cats love boxes so much? Boxes provide cats with a confined space that feels comfortable and safe. A recent study on a group of shelter cats found that those cats provided with boxes had lower stress levels than those without.

Boxes are well insulated making a warm place to nap, and have the perfect texture for biting and scratching. Naturally curious animals, cats love to inspect any new box that appears in the house, making a great toy for the days after any new delivery.

Another theory, is that due to cats strong prey instincts, boxes provide them with the perfect hidey hole to pounce unexpectedly on their prey (after an obligatory bum wiggle!)...whether this be a toy, person or another pet!

The cats love of boxes also extends to any 2-dimensional shape, with many cats known to actively sit on books, keyboards, pieces of paper or even a taped square on the ground. A 2021 behaviour study found that cats will even seek out and sit in a Kanizsa square, a 2-D illusion of a shape. This sums up the motto of most cats which is If I Fit, I Sit!.

The Curious Cat Box is perfect for any box cat, and with a different theme every 6 weeks, your cat will not just love the fun toys and treats inside but will no doubt enjoy squeezing into the box!

After Bath Rubbing and Rolling

Why do dog's insist on rolling in the grass or rubbing all over everything after they have a bath?

Dogs have an incredible sense of smell and in fact it is one of their superpowers. The average dog possesses over 300 million olfactory or smell receptors, making their sense of smell 40 times more sensitive than ours.

We like our pets to smell nice, so pamper and bathe them in nice smelling shampoos and conditioners. What we consider nice smelling though is very different to our pets. Dogs have a particular scent and after being washed it is not uncommon for them to rub themselves on the grass, furniture or carpet in an attempt to 'rub off' the smell of the grooming products, and return to their original scent.

Instinctually, dogs may want to hide their scent. Blending in with the smells of the environment enable prey animals to hide their scent and sneak up on their prey. This is difficult to do if you smell like bubble gum scented shampoo!!

If you have a dog that loves to roll or rub off their freshly washed scent after bath time, then providing them with a towel or gown can help to give them a clean area to carry out this instinct, while keeping them clean. Ensure that you use shampoo and conditioners which have a milder scent and are less 'offensive' to your dogs sensitive sense of smell.

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Booty Scooting

Does your dog scoot on the grass, carpet or even at the dog park!! Do they lick their bottom constantly much to your dismay! Do you wonder if this is normal or not?

Most dogs that scoot have an issue with their anal glands and it can be very common. Dogs have two glands located just inside their bottom, which spreads their unique scent and are naturally expressed during pooping. If they become blocked or 'impacted', then this will become uncomfortable and a dog may rub or lick their bottom to alleviate the discomfort. If the blockage persists, then some animals may develop an anal gland infection and may require medication or even surgery.

If your dog has a scooty patootie, then it is best to have them checked by your veterinarian. Your veterinarian may recommend regular expressing of the glands to manage the irritation. Feeding your pet a diet high in fibre may also help to manage the condition. Some other less common reasons for scooting can include allergies or intestinal worms.

Belly Up!

There is no doubt that pets love to nap and especially cats, who can sleep for up to 12-18 hours per day! While it is common to see our pets napping, it is less common to see them lying or sleeping on their backs with their tummies in the air, like this cat.

Animals in the wild do not sleep on their backs, as this puts them in an exposed position, with their soft belly exposed and feet in the air they are vulnerable to attack. Dogs or cats that choose to sleep on their backs feel very safe and comfortable with their surroundings. Exposing their belly to you, shows that they trust you completely and feel safe and secure in your presence.

The position of lying on their back, gives pets an opportunity to stretch out, take the weight off their legs and completely relax their muscles. This is why pregnant or overweight animals will tend to favour sleeping on their backs. It is often very comfortable for larger animals as it enables complete relaxation of the joints.

Pets that enjoy sunbathing, will often be found lying on their backs, soaking it all in. While a little sunbathing is a great way to absorb some vitamin D, sunbathing puts your pet at risk of developing skin cancers especially in white coat breeds. If your pet loves to sunbathe, then sun protection is recommended.

As pets age, sore joints often mean that pets are less likely to want to sleep on their backs, and may opt for a position that takes pressure off sore joints or enables them to get up easily. If your pet is getting older and you have noticed that their sleeping position has changed, then starting them on a joint care supplement or having a check with your vet for any signs of arthritis will ensure your pet will continue to sleep easy.

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Further Reading

Pet First Aid Tips

Real Cost of Supermarket Food

Rotational Diets For Dogs

Homemade Winter Recipes

Dental Care for Cats

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