Cats gotta groom, dogs gotta roll — they can’t help it

The Arizona Republic - - News - Have a ques­tion for Clay? Reach him at 602-444-8612 or clay.thomp­son@ari zonare­pub­ Val­ley 101 Clay Thomp­son Ari­zona Repub­lic USA TO­DAY NET­WORK

To­day’s ques­tion:

Why do cats groom them­selves so much and dogs like to roll in the dirt?

Well, gee, be­cause they’re cats and dogs and that’s what cats and dogs do. Fish swim, birds fly, cats groom, dogs roll around in the dirt.

Cats groom them­selves for any num­ber of rea­sons. They are tidy crea­tures. They groom to clean away any food par­ti­cles or other odor-caus­ing par­ti­cles that might give away their lo­ca­tions to preda­tors or prey. They groom to help cool them­selves off. They groom to spread their nat­u­ral oils evenly across the fur and they groom to re­lax. Groom­ing even helps keep their nails trimmed. It’s what cats do.

Dogs like to smell like they think a dog should smell. If you give your dog a bath with a nice sham­poo chances are the first thing it will do af­ter you dry it off is to roll around in the grass to mask the smell of the sham­poo.

And dogs roll around in dirt so any prey they might chase won’t smell them com­ing.

It’s what dogs do. Ev­ery­one knows things are made of atoms. What’s in­side atoms?

Skipped a few sci­ence classes in school, did we?

Atoms are made up mostly of empty space, but they also have pro­tons, elec­trons and neu­trons.

Pro­tons carry a pos­i­tive elec­tri­cal charge, elec­trons carry a neg­a­tive elec­tri­cal charge and neu­trons carry no elec­tri­cal charge at all.

The pro­tons and neu­trons clus­ter to­gether in the cen­tral part of the atom, called the nu­cleus, and the elec­trons spin around the nu­cleus.

And pro­tons and neu­trons are com­posed of other par­ti­cles called quarks and glu­ons. Glu­ons bind quarks to each other.

Things can get kind of weird when we get down to the level of quarks and glu­ons, weirder than I care to get into in this lim­ited space.

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