When animals dream

I’m sitting here in my living room, along with three cats who are snoozing in front of the fireplace. Two are just snoozing, but one is dreaming. Her whiskers, ears and nose are twitching. Every once in a while her paws and tail will flick. I can see her eyes moving behind her lids.

I can’t help wondering what animals dream about. Is she just reliving her most recent game of chase-the-toy, or remembering the juicy squirrels she saw at the bird feeder this morning? Or does she have dreams like ours? Maybe she’s flying, or ruling the world with an iron paw, or facing off with a bear that’s coming to invade her home.

For just one day I’d like to get inside her head and see life from her perspective. I think it’d be quite an experience.

She’s probably dreaming about Lacy Chaubert and Jennifer Love Hewitt in school girl uniforms… no, wait. That’s me. :slight_smile:

I think she’s dreaming about battling Jehovah’s Witnesses with Toledo steel.

Cats, as I recall, dream about stalking and pouncing, so she’s probably dreaming about the squirrel or toy. There’s a procedure where scientists destroy the area of the brain that suppresses movement while they sleep ( something that age or injury or disease can cause in humans as well ), which causes them to act out their dreams. Unlike humans, animals seem to have single subject dreams; cats all dream about stalking and pouncing; rats dream about exploring, and so on.

Our dog, Sienna, has the paw twitching, and the REM, but also whines, growls, poofs, urfs, howls and barks in her sleep. All of the vocalizations are muffled though since her mouth is closed.

My black lab Dickens, 10 years gone now, loved to swim in the pool whenever possible. Well dontcha know when he was sleeping I’d sometimes see his paws move slowly and rhythmically back and forth, in a dogpaddle swimming motion…

I hope you didn’t swim with/after him. A pool-cleaner friend of mine says that just about the nastiest, dirtiest thing someone can do to a pool is put a dog in it, what with all the colonies of bacteria that live on their fur.

Never swam in a pool with a dog, but used to swim with our dog at the lake. He’d “rescue” you. Swim out to you and circle until you grabbed onto his fur, then he’d tow you back to the dock. It was awesome. Don’t know that I’d want a dog in my pool, though (if I had a dog and a pool).

Try swabbing your own skin and plating the results. You’ll get some highly interesting “nasty” bacterial colonies.

I doubt anyone could possibly know this for certain.

One thing I find odd is that I have on occasion gently awakened our dogs when they seemed to be having upsetting dreams (accompanied by trembling, subdued yipping etc.). I’d expect them to have momentary difficulty transitioning to reality like humans who wake from disturbing dreams - but they always seemed aware of the real world almost immediately (I’d hate to have been mistaken for a 12-foot armadillo with glowing eyes by a disoriented dog). :slight_smile:

Pics! Kitty thread = pics!!!

Our older cat doesn’t seem to dream visibly much, but man does she ever snore! We’ll just be sitting there, minding our own business, and suddenly snore! It’s pretty funny, since it’s kind of loud especially considering it’s coming from a cat!

The younger kitten doesn’t snore, but we will see her paws twitch fairly often. She also, frequently, wake up in a startled way, and start meowing plaintively and come running onto our laps for some attention. We wonder if she has nightmares? She’s a very small cat (she’s 6 months old now, and still tiny!), so maybe the toys she’s hunting turn on her?

That’s certainly true, but the stuff growing in dog fur is apparently far worse. I’m going off of what I’ve been told by my pool cleaner friend, who then proceeded to explain the various forms of objective measurement that he used to arrive at that conclusion.

I wonder what the straight dope is on this. I’m not sure I’d trust a pool cleaner for advice on microbiology but, OTOH, I could imagine something hellish growing on dogs. I also wonder whether something growing on a dog could infect a human. Obviously, some things do, rabies being one. I’ve never seen any objective evidence one way or another on this.



No, the guy is no expert on microbiology (not a real sharp knife in general, actually), but they have specific tools that they use to test pool water, and he demonstrated the methodology convincingly. (This was in a presentation in public speaking class.) And FTR, according to him, the bigger “threat” is not infection and disease from dog fur (because we would get plenty of that just by putting our hands on the dogs if it were that bad–not that sitting in cold dog fur tea helps), but that it contributes to a “life environment” in the pool that can lead to unsightly plants growing inside it, and that tiny amounts of fecal matter end up in the pool. Now that I think about it, of course, my earlier post sounded like “you’re going to get a disease from whatever’s in your dog’s fur if you get into the pool after your dog”, when what I really meant was more like, “your pool is going to be a lot nastier in general after your dog gets in it, and it’s a good idea to clean it a little more carefully in that case”.


Can’t argue with that. I like dogs a lot but, after all, they are dogs, and tend to eat or roll in some things I wouldn’t particularly care to be drinking. :stuck_out_tongue:



As I said, when they are brain damaged so they act out their dreams, that’s how they act. Humans with the same condition don’t act like that. That may not be absolutely certain, but it’s certainly good enough evidence until if and when something comes along to contradict it.

I thought the chlorine was there precisely to kill any and all nasty bacterial invaders. In any event I never got any weird infections from the swims, nor did any “weird plants” grow in the pool, unless I forgot the regularly add the chlorine and keep the pH at the right level and vacuum, etc.

Yesterday, our pug was asleep, as usual, on the back of our loveseat. The funny part is, her tail was wagging. Now, obviously, there was no reason for her tail to be wagging, so clearly she was dreaming about something. But the really humorous thing about it was the wagging itself. I mean, if you know pugs, you know that their tails are normally tightly-wound little spirals. They don’t “wag” so much as “wobble slightly”. And, our pug’s tail only uncurls when she’s really relaxed, like when she’s asleep. So, the fact that her tail was actually uncurled and wagging for real was damn funny, since it’s something we don’t normally see.

Poor booger dreams, but they seem more like nightmares - he whines, twitches, and when I wake him up, he sometimes wants to snuggle. I can only speculate what bad things happened to him when he was younger (he’s never had a real home before us). :frowning:

Omigod, them’s almost toxic levels of cuteness. Squee! (and this from the proud mama of two kittens who aren’t without their own serious levels of cuteness. That’s Zebulon on the left and his sister Jezebel on the right, BTW.)

My Luna had a nightmare once, shortly after we got her. She was twitching, and her tail got all puffed up. I petted her, and she calmed down. I know she probably spent a fair amount of time in the Tulare County, CA, animal shelter before we got her, because the no-kill shelter where we adopted her rescues animals on their last day at a kill shelter. I wonder if she was dreaming that she was back at the shelter… I haven’t noticed her doing anything like that again since, at least.