Four Legs Good

Voted Best Blog in the 2012 NetGuide awards, Four Legs Good is a place to talk about pets, and the frustrations and fun of owning them. Blogger Nick Barnett is joined by pet experts and pet lovers who write about the animals in their lives and pet issues of all kinds. And though 'Four Legs Good' is true, we’re just as fond of animals with two legs, many legs – or none.

10 secret shames of the pet owner

01:46pm 03 Dec 2014

NICK BARNETT

No pet owner is perfect. I'll bet even Victoria Stilwell and Jackson Galaxy cut a corner once in a while, or get something wrong. I like to think that even they, the models of responsible and informed pet ownership, have secret shames.

Cat eyes
  I'm shocked. Shocked.
So what are the secret shames of the average pet owner? Inspired by this clip, I thought I'd put up a blog post and ask. Let me know. I won't judge you.

I'll get the ball rolling. Below are my 10 candidates for an ultimate list of Shames of the Pet Owner. (You may think that, by listing them, I'm admitting to having done them. To quote a fictional political leader, you may very well think that, but I couldn't possibly comment. Or to quote a real-life political figure, I have no proactive relationship with, and no recollection of, these shames, and in any case I'm relaxed about them.)

Here they are:

1. You run out of pet food, so you feed your pet something super-expensive from the deli that you'd been looking forward to eating and/or intended for your significant other.

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28 cats hanging out in the bathroom

07:49am 28 Nov 2014

NICK BARNETT

It's a place so clean. So full of intriguing mechanisms. So replete with places to rest and drink, and from which to observe.

This place is a bathroom, from the biased point of view of a cat. No wonder it's one of a cat's favourite indoor places.

The bathroom is also cool on a hot day. Here our cover-cat, Leo, finds a place to take refuge from the heat.

Leo

A couple of classic cat expressions from Albie and Rascal.

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Why pets drink the way they do

12:33pm 26 Nov 2014

NICK BARNETT

Dogs are messy, cats are tidy. That's the stereotype, and we can all think of ways to prove it. One of those ways has got to be the way they drink: dogs are loud and sloppy, cats are quiet and neat.

Well, researchers have found out why.

Cat drinkFluid dynamics scientists meeting in San Francisco this week explain that though both a cat and a dog can lap at the same bowl of water and feel equally refreshed afterwards, the way they pull the water into their mouths is quite distinct.

A cat touches the surface of the water with the flattened end of its tongue, then pulls a column of water into its mouth and closes its mouth to swallow. The water is not moved much.

A dog, on the other hand, dips its tongue into the water then creates a backward-facing ladle with its tongue and brings a ladleful of water into its mouth to swallow. The water in the bowl is disturbed quite a lot, and given that a dog's tongue can be pretty big, it's no wonder that some water spills.

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Furry Friday: Impossible cuteness levels

08:11am 21 Nov 2014

NICK BARNETT

These Friday blog posts usually follow a theme. Elderly pets, or dogs at the beach, or cats in the bathroom, that kind of thing. 

But sometimes I throw away the theme book and just choose some photos that made me think "that's extremely cute". It's a personal reaction. Sometimes the cuteness is in the look on a pet's face, or in the way it's stretching or sleeping. Other times it's a moment of triumph for the pet, or a moment of worthy failure, or a moment of straight-out silliness.

Anyway, enjoy the photos. See if your own personal cuteness meter has similar settings to mine.

Let's get the cuteness levels up straight away. Here's Gusto, playing with a toy shark.

gusto

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The dog who became a space hero

01:35pm 18 Nov 2014

NICK BARNETT

The other day I met a dog with the name of a hero.

This dog I met was a little Schnauzer, a wiggly girl just five months old who darted around our dogs as we walked them in a park. I asked the dog's owner what the pup's name was, and he said "Laika".

Laika classic"Ah," I said, "the space dog!"

The man seemed impressed. "I'm always suprised at how many people don't know the story of Laika," he said.

The story of Laika is one of a street dog who became a worldwide celebrity, with her photo in newspapers and with stamps and statues made in her honour. It is a story about science, politics and our shifting ideas about what rights an animal has.

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