Q: My female cat has a habit I would like to better understand. We have a big basket of assorted stuffed animals. Every time she is left home alone, she takes one or both of the toy guinea pigs from the basket and leaves them near our front door. There are dogs, cats and other animals in the
basket, but she only selects the guinea pigs. Why?
A: Many cats will kill rodents and leave them for their human companions to find. Since the shape of a rodent is instinctive knowledge for a cat, perhaps the cat is picking out only the guinea pigs to leave as gifts for you. This answer suggests the cat is cognitively thinking about the situation. Some scientists would take issue with that and say the cat picked up the guinea pigs randomly and dropped them by the door randomly as it was wandering about in the house.
Because the humans made such a fuss, the cat learned to do this behavior in exchange for the drama and positive reinforcement.
I think the answer falls somewhere in the middle. I agree that pets act out a lot more instinctively than we would like to believe, but I also am sure that their life of leisure allows them the time and inclination to learn to act a lot more cognitively than mere instinct would allow.
Q: I would like to know the correct way to feed my pit bulls. Is once-a-day feeding OK or is it better to feed them twice a day?
A: Growing up, I was always told by other dog keepers that an adult dog should be fed only once a day, in the evening. That caused both me and my dogs a lot of stress -- me because I love to feed animals and my dogs because they liked to eat.
However, I soon started to feed them twice a day, and they did just fine. They never got too heavy from this routine, and were not scrounging around for food all day.
Some pet keepers I know just leave a dish of dry dog food out for the dogs all day, and their dogs eat a bit here and there to keep them satisfied during their waking hours. However, there are dogs that would eat as much food as is offered.
If the feeding schedule you have chosen suits you and your dog and if your vet says your dog is the perfect weight for its build, then that is the routine you should continue to use.