Four Legs Good

Four Legs Good is a place to talk about pets, and the joys and frustrations of owning them. Netguide Award-winning blogger Nick Barnett writes about the animals in his life and pet issues of all kinds. And though 'Four Legs Good' is true, he’s just as fond of animals with two legs, many legs – or none.

Furry Friday: Cats in black and white

05:00am 27 Nov 2015


Sylvester is one. Postman Pat has one. TS Eliot gathered some together and called them the Jellicles. They're said to be among the feistiest and least placid cats that you can meet.

We're talking about black and white cats - those bicolour beauties who range from nearly black, with just the tiniest snowy throat locket, through to ink-spotted almost-white. Ranged between them are all kinds of mitted, tuxedoed, mask-and-mantled, cap-and-saddled felines. (Your handy guide is here.)  

Here's a lineup of black-and-whites of all kinds in all their piebald pulchritude. So if you're at all bicolour-curious, scroll on.

His name is Tuxedo and he embodies the description to an elegant tee.


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A fluffy tale of rabbits

05:00am 26 Nov 2015


A Four Legs Good reader, Carly, challenged me in an email the other day. Why all the focus on cats and dogs, she asked; why not more about other species?

"Some of us do love non-feline and non-canine furballs," Carly said. She sent me a photo of her rabbits to help make her point.

Dusk and nuggetAnd it's a fair point, though I do have an answer. I have blogged about other species, but not for a while, as I haven't had any other species around for some time. And when it comes to collections of reader photos, few other species get a look in, because 99 per cent of the photos that people send me are of cats or dogs.

Yet this is indeed a pets blog, not purely a cats-and-dogs blog. Lots of pets of other species are treasured as much as the more numerous cats and dogs.

So in a small attempt to balance this cat-dog dominance, I'm following Carly's lead. I'm going to talk a little about the rabbits I've known. Please feel free to leave a comment and add your experiences with pet rabbits.

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Furry Friday: Dogs on a car ride

08:00am 20 Nov 2015


Is there a better road-trip companion than a dog? A dog won't keep you waiting. A dog won't humph at your choice of CD. A dog won't criticise your driving or argue about which route to take. All a dog wants to do is go, go, go.

Today's collection is of dogs just before, during or just after a road trip. You won't see more expectant, blissful faces this week. Public service advisory: please keep your dogs safe in the car. Think about how your dog travels - here are some useful suggestions

Separate paragraph for this: the sun is getting fierce. A hot car is no place for a dog.

On with the pictures. Our cover-dog this week is Maximus, emperor of the back seat.


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Your cat's hiding place

05:00am 18 Nov 2015


Have you ever encountered a cat that's never met you before, and watched as it widened its eyes then turned to flee in a skinny blur? I have, and it always seems an out-of-proportion reaction, given I only wanted to pat it.

But that's only my human viewpoint. According to my viewpoint, the cat ran away and hid, needlessly. The cat, which can't read my mind, had its own take on the situation.

  Classic hideaway: Katie's corner.
It's easy to see where the term "scaredy-cat" came from, meaning coward. It's a judgment based on looking at cats' behaviour from a human point of view.

But cats don't possess that specifically human thing called cowardice.

No, cats run and hide because they're both predators and prey - large enough to be seen and eluded by their prey, small enough to fall victim to a bigger animal looking for a meal. Hence they hide. They hide in order to survive, and the impulse to hide is bolted into their genes.

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Furry Friday: Pairs and partners

07:00am 13 Nov 2015


The only thing nicer to see than a well-loved pet is another well-loved pet next to it.

For years I was a one-pet guy. One cat ruled me for most of the '90s. Later, when I had one dog, I couldn't imagine loving a second dog as much. But then we got a second, and I discovered that, yes, my heart could expand enough. I became a believer in the multi-pet lifestyle.

Not just for me, but for them too. They get a lot from each other. Pets together form alliances, packs, gangs and teams. They cuddle, then they spar, then they take "me" time, then they cuddle again. So please enjoy this lineup of pet pairings and partnerships.

Sibby and Salty are a like-minded pair. And like-furred and like-faced.


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