We've rounded up a handful of the weirdest questions about cats, dogs, and pets in general on Quora and, instead of just hoping for a real answer from an anonymous rando on the internet, we've dug deep for the real answers. Let's dig in.
1. Do dogs know people aren't dogs?
"A friend of mine proposed an interesting idea about whether or not dogs know they are, at the very least, DIFFERENT to their human pack members. She said that if you have one dog, they are probably more likely to see themselves as just part of the human pack (and may well demand to be treated as equal to the humans of the pack - as they have no frame-of-reference to show them they are NOT in fact human).
However, if you have more than one dog, it is highly likely that they are able to discern that there is a difference between them and their pack leaders. They have their own language and instinctual ways of understanding body language and eye-contact (or lack thereof), but humans are NOT sensitive to THEIR language, therefore they MUST be able to discern that they are different to their human pack leaders.
The greatest thing about it though? Is that dogs don't care if you're different, as long as the pack sticks together and defends… and loves and nurtures. Dogs don't give a fat rat's what species you are. A pack is a pack, and the pack always comes first.
It's just another example of how much more noble and pure they are as compared to humans." - Leisha Young, Courier - self employed at Sundigo - Casual Courier for Macedon, Victoria Australia
The real answer: While dogs are incredibly intuitive and loving creatures who can definitely think of us as their "parents"—that is, their protectors and providers—and develop as strong an emotional bond with us as if we were blood related, they don't necessarily believe we're just giant hairless dogs.
The reason? Because dogs have incredible noses and we humans just don't smell like dogs. To put things into perspective, humans have about 5 million smell receptors. Dogs, on the other hand, have about 220 million. As such, a dog's sense of smell is 10,000 to 100,000 times more sensitive than human senses, according to James Walker, former director of the Sensory Research Institute at Florida State University.
Thanks to their superhuman (by human standards, anyway) sense of smell, dogs are able to decipher one individual's odor-causing secretions from another's. What's more, dogs possess a pheromone at the base of the nasal passage that provides species and sex information—meaning they definitely know the difference between their human family members and other dogs, on a basic species level.
2. Is it possible to manufacture mouse-flavored cat food?
"I've read the other answers and I believe most of their objections can be overcome except for one. First, let's dispense with a few of these objections.
To solve the issue that humans buy the cat food, we could overcome any distaste on their part by labeling the flavor Crème de Souris,* thereby not only making it sound good, but making it look upscale for marketing purposes—100% organic meat, grain free!
As far as production goes, you could just throw all the mouse bodies in a giant food processor. They're completely edible, even the parts that cats leave on your doorstep to find in the morning before you've had your coffee.
However, the real problem is mouse farming. The average house mouse weighs .68 oz., that means 4.41 mice for every 3 oz. can of cat food, or 106 mice per the average 24 can case of 3 oz. cans. At the mid-sized pet food store I worked at, we sold about 100 cases a year of each flavor of 3 oz. cat food—so that's 10,600 mice per year for just one store.
Consequently, not only would you need millions and millions of mice, but they're not the kind of animal you can leave out in a field or in the ocean to fatten up. They'd have to be raised indoors! Even if you have a multi-level barn of some kind, the costs of feeding them and removing all their poop would be astronomical.
So, I think it's possible to manufacture mouse-flavored cat food, it doesn't make much sense." -Nancy Jacobsen, Owns over 400 Cookie Cutters
The real answer: Mental Floss covered this question in its September 2014 issue and spoke to Shaun Belongie, the national brand manager for cat food company Friskies to get to the bottom of the issue. The short answer is that, while it would be possible to create mouse-flavored cat food, it's not legal to do so in the United States.
The reason, it turns out, comes down to regulation and bureaucracy. According to Belongie, the FDA prohibits mouse-flavored cat food. Turns out, the FDA (the U.S. Food and Drug Administration) holds pet food to the same sanitation and safety standards as human food, which is good news, really, considering how much we all love our little furbabies.
Under FDA standards, only ingredients that are deemed "appropriate and necessary" to an animal's diet are approved and rodents just don't make the cut. They, understandably (and thankfully) aren't sanctioned as a food source in the U.S. and, therefore, the Department of Agriculture doesn't have an official inspection procedure for mice. And that is why you can't have mice-flavored cat food, even if cats love mice IRL.