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By Yahaira Cespedes
Sharing a home with pets is rewarding, fun and entertaining. One of the more amusing aspects of interacting with pets is observing their ability to truly amaze us with their seemingly supernatural abilities. From being able to survive death-defying stunts to detecting life-threatening situations in people that rivals modern medicine, here are ten amazingly acrobatic, extrasensory and agile feats your pets do that you may not know about.
A dog’s bite applies an average of 320 pounds of pressure per square inch. Contrary to myth, American Pit Bull Terriers (APBT) don’t bite harder than other dogs, or even the hardest. According to bite pressure tests conducted by Dr. Brady Barr for National Geographic in 2005, the APBT actually "had the least amount of pressure" (at just 127 pounds psi!) when measured against a German Shepherd and a Rottweiler. A human’s average bite pressure is 120 pounds.The dog with the highest bite force? The Mastiff, which clocks in at 552 pounds psi.
The world’s fastest domesticated dogs are Greyhounds. Their top running speeds average 40 miles per hour (mph), and they have been known to reach speeds of up to 45 mph. The title for second fastest domestic canine belongs to another sighthound: the Whippet. Their top running speeds average 35 to 40 mph. Currently the world’s fastest human being is Usain Bolt, who broke speed records when he achieved a top running speed of nearly 28 mph and has an average speed of 23 mph.
We mostly rely on sight to make sense or our surroundings. Dogs do that too, only with their incredible sense of smell. A dog’s sense of smell can be up to 10,000 times stronger than a human’s. Not only is a canine’s sense of smell by far their most acute sense, almost half their brain is wired to process the signal of scent.
Dogs can hear much, much better than us. On average, a dog can hear ten times better than a human, and four times farther. Humans can detect sounds at 20,000 cyles per second, while dogs can sense frequencies of 40-60,000 cycles per second. This is why dogs can hear pitches outside of the human range of hearing. Like humans, some breeds lose that acuity as they grow older.
Canines aren’t just caring animals, they have also been known to save lives by perceiving undetectable, and possibly life-threatening human health afflictions. Dogs can do amazing things like sniff out cancer, predict when their human companions are about to have a seizure, and even detect when a diabetic’s blood sugar is dangerously low.
The physiology of a domestic cat is pretty impressive, and it's all designed to maximize their top-notch hunting abilities. Their musculoskeletal makeup consists of more than 225 bones and 500 muscles (with 32 muscles just in the ear!). A cat’s clavicle (collar bone) is free-floating, enabling it to squeeze into super-tight spots. Whiskers are important, since they use their whiskers to measure whether their head will fit through a space. Because of their ultra flexible clavicle, if the head fits, the body will fit.
By attempting to discover how a cat purrs, scientists have discovered very interesting reasons that could explain why. Besides purring when happy, cats also purr when they are in pain or distress. According to the Scientific American, researchers have found that when cats breath in and out, they produce "a consistent pattern and frequency between 25 and 150 Hertz. Various investigators have shown that sound frequencies in this range can improve bone density and promote healing" of bones and muscle.
Born with an innate ability to twist around mid-fall, cats are able to "right" their bodies and land on their feet — an awe-inspiring feline superpower. Catscans.com explains how cats do it: First, they rotate their head. Then, the spine turns, followed by the rear legs. Finally, the feline’s back will arch to lessen the impact. The greater the height of the fall (usually more than seven stories), the more likely the cat will walk away uninjured.
Like other animals, cats have a reflective layer behind their retinas that greatly improves their night vision. In fact, felines can see six times better in darkness than humans can. Their extraordinary sense of sight doesn’t stop there, though. Cats can also see over 100 feet away, with a 200-degree peripheral field of vision. Finally, even though they have displayed red-green color blindness, cats do, in fact, see in color.
Being nocturnal predators, you’ll most likely see a cat sleeping during the day. But cats really do love to sleep, day or night. In fact, cats spend up to 16 hours a day sleeping. According to Catscans.com, this can mean that "a seven year-old cat has only been awake for two years of its life!" It’s also worth mentioning that a good part of their waking hours (around 30-40 percent) is spent grooming.