Pet Scoop: House Cat Genome Closely Tied to Wildcats, Delta Searches for Missing Dog

Nov. 11, 2014: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.

man and gray cat

Study: Cats Are Semidomesticated

A team of researchers has studied the genome of the domestic cat and found that despite 9,000 years living alongside humans, they’ve retained many of the hunting, sensory and digestive traits of their wild cousins. Dogs, on the other hand, split off from their wolf ancestors some 30,000 years ago. The researchers suggest the felines first started associating with humans when farmers rewarded them for hunting mice in their crops. They found human influence on cats’ fur color and pattern, and genes thought to be associated with tameness — and that was a surprise to the team. "Cats, unlike dogs, are really only semidomesticated," said senior author Wes Warren of The Genome Institute at Washington University in Missouri. "They only recently split off from wildcats, and some even still breed with their wild relatives. So we were surprised to find DNA evidence of their domestication." The study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. — Read it at the Los Angeles Times

31 Species Get U.N. Protection

After nearly a week of "intense negotiations," U.N. Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals said on Sunday that it had granted protection status to 31 new species, including polar bears, whales, gazelles and 21 species of shark, ray and sawfish. "From plastic pollution in our oceans, to the effects of climate change, to poaching and overexploitation, the threats migratory animals face will eventually affect us all,” said CMS executive secretary Bradnee Chambers. The African lion was the only proposed species that didn’t make the list, because there wasn’t enough information from the countries where it lives. — Read it at Discovery News

Endangered California Condors Sent to Mexican Zoo

Two female California condors have a new home at the Chapultepec Zoo thanks to the U.S. government. The endangered birds were donated to the zoo for a breeding program and were transferred in a ceremony Monday. The U.S. Embassy says the zoo will start raising the birds for eventual release into the wild. The raptors became extinct in the 1980s but once had a range from Canada to Mexico. There are about 400 California condors alive today because of an aggressive breeding program. About 230 of them live in the wild. — Read it from AP via ABC News

Delta Airlines says it's still searching for Frank Romano's dog, Ty, who went missing while boarding a flight in Los Angeles.
Delta Airlines says it's still searching for Frank Romano's dog, Ty, who went missing while boarding a flight in Los Angeles.

Delta Searches for Missing Dog

Frank Romano says Delta Airlines lost his dog while the pooch was being boarded onto a flight from Los Angeles to Tampa, Florida. The search for Ty, a 6-year-old Pit Bull, is now in its second week. Romano adopted the dog last year while he was battling homelessness and moving from motel to motel. He and his family are moving to Tampa in the hopes of finding more work. He says that while they were seated on board the Delta flight on Oct. 31, a flight attendant told them that the dog had been missing for an hour. They got off the plane and helped officials search the airport but couldn’t find Ty. The next day, they reluctantly got on another flight to Tampa, leaving the search in the airline’s hands. "Delta continues to investigate what happened but early indications show procedures were followed and the dog may have compromised the kennel on its own," the airline said in a statement to the New York Daily News. "It's been very depressing, very upsetting. I've been crying. I've been angry," Romano told CBS Los Angeles. "I just want my dog back. He's my best friend, that dog." — Read it at the New York Daily News

Teen Helps Free Deer From Pumpkin Bucket

A young buck has had neighbors in Mentor, Ohio, worried for nearly a week. The deer had a plastic pumpkin bucket from Halloween stuck on his head, presumably keeping him from eating of drinking. Officials from the state’s Department of Natural Resources tried unsuccessfully to help the deer Monday, but it was a local teenager, Cameron Merritt, who saved the animal by tackling it. "When I grabbed it we went to the ground and this thing snapped off. It had to be done today. There was stress on that deer because it couldn't eat," said Merritt, who helps his mom run a local bird sanctuary. Luckily, the deer was OK, and ran off right away. — Read it at Ohio’s WKYC


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