TIME

Ruh-Roh! More People Share Cat Photos Than Dog Photos

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Feline photos are shared twice as often as canine candids

Photos of cats get more than double the shares compared to photos of dogs, according to data released today by Klooff, a photo-sharing app for pet owners.

Now while some Internet experts argue that cats have a “ruthlessly effective” — dare we say purrwerful — “propaganda machine” others point to Google trends data, which seems to show that people conduct more searches about dogs than cats.

That said, this Klooff infographic has something for every dog owner, too, prominently most popular breeds in 22 different countries.

Klooff

INFOGRAPHIC: And Now, a Guide to the World According to Cats

INFOGRAPHIC: Here Are The Best Tippers in the United States

PHOTOS: Grumpy Cat Is Not Impressed by TIME’s Photo Shoot

TIME animals

This Cat Loves His Owner More Than You Probably Love Your Own Family

He's so affectionate!

Franzie (pronounced like Fonzie) the cat just wants to be loved, and he makes sure to demand affection from his owners by reaching out for a big hug.

To be fair, though, he could just be looking for some belly rub action rather than a hug, like that one slow loris. Because sometimes he stretches out and then seems kind of disappointed when his human doesn’t proceed with the belly rubs:

 

TIME Food & Drink

This Iowa Distillery Is Raising Whiskey-Flavored Pigs

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Iowa's Templeton Rye Distillery has ramped things upin the bourbon-flavored bacon arena by trying to raise pigs that actually taste like whiskey already, feeding a porcine fleet with a special diet of distillery grains

The only thing that makes the distinct flavors of whiskey and pork better is combining them. That’s why we have bacon-infused bourbon, Jack Daniel’s-glazed pork chops, and so on.

But the good people at Iowa’s Templeton Rye Distillery decided to take this very, very literally by attempting to breed pigs that already taste like whiskey. Yes. Really. Whiskey-flavored pigs.

They bought 25 purebred Duroc pigs, known for their high-quality meat, with the sole intention of giving them Templeton’s signature flavor. No, this does not mean they’ve been feeding the pigs whiskey. Instead, the pigs on are on a special diet that incorporates the dry distillery grain from the whiskey-making process into the feed, Iowa’s WQAD reports. (The distillery has a detailed breakdown of the pigs’ diet and feeding schedule here.)

The whiskey-pigs will be ready for slaughter in June, available to restaurants or to boozy-bacon loving individuals. We can only assume Ron Swanson is somehow involved in all this.

TIME animals

California Officers Rescue Chihuahua Stranded on a Highway Median

She's now safe and sound -- and looking for a new home

A tiny little pup who was plucked from a busy California freeway last week is now resting up and recovering from the traumatic ordeal.

California Highway Patrol officers were alerted on Friday about a chihuahua who was stranded on a median on Interstate Highway 680, NBC Bay Area reports. The Contra Costa CHP tweeted a picture of an officer helping out the poor pooch:

“We attempted to coax it, we could tell it was very frightened, it was shaking. We were able to pet it a little bit, but other than that we could tell it was not happy,” CHP officer Alex Edmon told NBC. Eventually, officers had to call animal control since they’d arrived on motorcycles and had no way to safely transport the dog, who’s estimated to be around two years old. She had no tags or identification when they found her.

The dog didn’t appear to have any injuries, and there were no witnesses who saw how she ended up stranded on the median. Contra Costa Animal Services, who is now caring for her, said on its Facebook page that she’s recovering and “may already have a home if her owner doesn’t come for her.”

On Sunday, the group posted some new pictures of her. She’s doing just fine, and she’s also really cute:

 

TIME

Celebrate Mother’s Day With These Photos of Adorable Baby Animals and Their Moms

Happy Mother's Day from the animal kingdom

This Sunday is Mother’s Day, so hope you didn’t forget to get your mom a present. If you did (or even if you didn’t), redeem yourself by clicking through this gallery, which shows some of the cutest baby animals out there doing some mother-baby bonding.

TIME

Can Puppies Help Fight Cancer? This New Study Aims to Find Out

Dog wearing nerd glasses
Tudor Costache / Getty Images

Puppy love

Puppies can kill you with cuteness, but they may also be able to help cure you. At least that’s what a new study hopes to prove.

“Obviously, we know that the children like to see the dogs,” said Amy McCullough, American Humane Association’s national director of humane research and therapy, speaking to NBC. “But the folks in risk management want some clinical data.”

Finding that hard scientific proof is the goal of a new study by the American Humane Association (AHA) that aims to provide empirically-proven facts of what many anecdotally know to be true — puppy love can make you feel better.

The study, which advocates say may be the first official clinical trial on the effects of animal-assisted therapy on young cancer patients and their families, has backing from both Zoetis, a veterinary health firm, and the Pfizer Foundation.

For the study, researchers have designed a randomized, controlled trial in five children’s hospitals where they will follow 100 children (grab a tissue) between the ages of 3 and 12 years old, who are newly diagnosed with cancer. 50 of the kids will receive visits from trained therapy dogs, and 50 will receive standard treatment without puppy love to ease the blow.

The study will track blood pressure, heart rate and psychological responses in the kids, their families and the caregivers lucky enough to get to work with the therapy dogs. The study isn’t all about the kids, though. Researchers will also look at the effect on the dogs, measuring the level of the stress hormone cortisol in the animals’ saliva before and after visits spent cuddling children, which will probably show that when it comes to kids and dogs, the love goes both ways.

[Via NBC]

MORE: If You Have a Heart, This Puppy Ad Will Completely Melt It

MORE: Dog In Pink Wheelchair Has More Swag Than All Of Us

TIME animals

Birds Are Getting Lost Because of Our Gadgets, Claims Study

A Robin stands in the snow in Bramall Park in Manchester
Phil Noble—Reuters

A new study shows that man-made radiation stemming from electronic devices disrupts migratory birds' internal compasses

European migratory birds are having trouble finding their way around because of man-made magnetic radiation, a new report shows.

Researchers believe electromagnetic waves from major cities, stemming from electronic devices, disrupt the internal compasses of the birds, hampering their natural orientation skills.

Henrik Mouritsen, co-author of the report published in the science journal Nature, says robins were better able to navigate when their huts were covered with aluminum plating to obscure the magnetic interference.

Otherwise, the electromagnetic waves disrupted the birds’ internal magnetic compasses, he says.

The study was completed through seven years of double-blind experiments.

TIME animals

Watch a Tiny Hamster Eat a Tiny Slice of Pizza

Om nom nom nom

Just a week after a video of tiny hamsters eating tiny burritos went viral and racked up more than 6 million views to date, a tiny gray hamster nibbling at a tiny slice of pizza is climbing to Internet fame. In a clip uploaded by the YouTube channel AprilsAnimals, the tiny fur ball sits on a tiny, green picnic blanket and eats off of a tiny plate. People who eat their slices of pizza with their hands will be happy to see that the hamster picks up its slice as well and does not use the tiny fork on its right.

And in case you haven’t seen it yet, here is the video of hamsters eating tiny burritos, produced by the comedian Hello Denizen:

WATCH: Tiny Hamsters Eating Tiny Burritos

MORE: France Is Spending 3 Million Euros to Save These Hamsters

TIME animals

It’s a Bird! It’s a Plane! It’s a… Tiger?

A new $2.3 million open-air walkway gives felines more room to roam

It gets boring hanging out in the same place all day long. In an effort to increase big cats’ well-being while in captivity, on Wednesday the Philadelphia Zoo unveiled a 330-ft. long passageway designed specifically for its magnificent felines.

Amur lions were the first to strut across the Big Cat Crossing, which arches over the zoo’s main promenade and ends near a lake. But they won’t be the only cats allowed on the mesh-covered trail: lions, pumas, jaguars and leopards will all take turns strutting their stuff directly above visitors’ heads.

Giving zoo animals more room to roam is “enriching to their environment and their mental capacity,” Ed Hansen, CEO of the American Association of Zoo Keepers told the Associated Press. It’s also part of a growing trend called animal rotation, in which animals are allowed to inhabit different areas on zoo grounds in order to give them more stimulation. The Denver Zoo and the National Zoo in Washington have similar programs in place for hyenas, wild dogs and orangutans.

The Philly zoo already has separate trail systems for monkeys, lemurs and orangutans. Next it plans to let giraffes and rhinos sashay along the open air trails as well.

TIME animals

France Is Spending 3 Million Euros to Save These Hamsters

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Getty Images

These guys are adorable AND symbolic

The French pride themselves on their superior cultural life, the je ne sais quoi that’s kept them synonymous with glamour, effortlessness and savoir-faire. That ineffable French-ness extends to all citizens, including, of course, Europe’s last wild hamster—alternately known as the European hamster or the Great Hamster of Alsace.

Alsace’s regional authorities have launched a program to save the little rodents from extinction, pledging 3 million euros to encourage farmers to grow alfalfa (which the hamsters apparently have a very strong preference for), and thereby encourage reproduction.

This isn’t the first time the government’s had to step in to save the species: In 2011, the European Court of Justice ruled that France hadn’t done enough to protect the Great Hamster, threatening to impose fines of up to $24.6 million if France didn’t adjust its agriculture and urbanization policies.

Naturally, the hamster’s cause is symbolic of a larger struggle. As The Guardian wrote in 2011, “the humble hamster has come to symbolise the battle against urban sprawl and monocropped maize, which now occupies more than 80% of the Alsace plain.” All this for a 10-inch ball of fur that hibernates 6 months out of the year and spends the majority of its life alone. But they’re so cute!

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