Dogs do – but do cats care?

Combing through the paper for good news stories, it was a relief to find reference to research which confirms that dogs are sensitive to the moods and difficulties of their human companions: Ruff day? Dogs can detect if people are stressed, research finds | Science | The Guardian


Most dog owners will not be surprised at this finding, perhaps surprised that anyone has felt the need for sponsored research to tell us what generations have known. I have wondered whether it is a dog or a horse which claims the title of ‘man’s best friend’. More of us have lived our lives with dogs.


There are suggestions that dogs can sniff out dementia from an early stage, via substances in human urine – I am not sure that that has been pursued further: Sniffing Out Alzheimer’s: Olfaction as a Diagnostic and Research Tool – Yale Scientific Magazine


But for sure we meet many people who continue to continue to benefit from their relationship with a dog. It is often surprising to find that even when dementia is quite advanced, the call of the familiar canine and the routines which bind dog and human partner, allow competence in coping and contentment with each day.


Tony Husband’s dad lived alone, with his dog for many years, supported by visits by the family, social services and neighbours: Take Care, Son - Google Books


Theirs is not a unique story – but powerfully and helpfully told.


There are limits to what can be safe, for human and canine Caring for a dog | Alzheimer's Society (alzheimers.org.uk)


Death of a dog is as traumatic for many of us, and for other dogs in the household, as the loss of a relative.


But what about cats? My prejudice is that cats are independent creatures, glad to take advantage of care and support, especially food, but might not have close or lasting affection or sensitivity for their human.


It seems I am wrong in this, for cats do take note of the moods and wellbeing of their humans: Can Cats Sense Sadness, Depression and Anxiety in People? (petcube.com)

Cats are also used as therapists: Therapy Cat Visits Alzheimer's Patients | Best Friends Animal Society


Even a budgerigar or a gold fish will add life to life for any of us, include those with dementia: How Does Pet Therapy Benefit People With Dementia? (verywellhealth.com)



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