Pet Scoop: Stowaway Cat Survives 3,400-Mile Journey, Why Small Dogs Live Longer

March 7, 2012: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.

Bisou stowed away in her owner's suitcase on a trip from Cairo to London.
Bisou stowed away in her owner's suitcase on a trip from Cairo to London.
Persian Hides in Owner’s Suitcase

For a cat who never leaves the house, Bisou had the adventure of a lifetime. The 7-year-old Persian apparently thought her owner’s open suitcase looked like a cozy place for a nap. When Mervat Ciuti rushed to catch a cab to the airport in Cairo, she quickly zipped her bag, without realizing Bisou was inside. The bag was thrown into the cargo hold of Ciuti’s plane for a 6-hour, 3,400-mile trip from Egypt to London’s Heathrow Airport on Dec. 28. It wasn’t until Ciuti was in a taxi on the way to her sister’s home in Nottingham that a frantic relative called her about the missing cat — and Ciuti realized what must have happened. Ciuti was panicked that Bisou hadn’t survived, but the cat was alive and well curled up in Ciuti's clothes. After spending a few weeks in England, Ciuti had to leave Bisou behind in quarantine until she can be shipped back to Egypt this summer. "She's a healthy, happy, laid-back Persian who likes sitting outside in the sunshine," said Mike Binks, who owns Calagran Kennels, where Bisou is staying. — Read it at the U.K.’s Daily Mail

Big Dogs Age More Quickly, Study Finds

A new study that looked at why small dogs outlive their bigger counterparts finds that larger dogs age quickly. The findings could help scientists determine the biological links between growth and mortality, researchers said. By analyzing data from more than 56,000 dogs across 74 breeds, they found that large breeds aged at faster rates. "Their lives seem to unwind in fast motion," said researcher Cornelia Kraus, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Göttingen in Germany.— Read it at Live Science

Half of Africa’s Lions Face Extinction

Lion populations that are fenced into conservation areas in Africa have rebounded in recent years, but those who reside in open preserves have dropping numbers because of prey loss and predation by their human neighbors. A new study finds that this could lead to a loss of nearly half of the lion populations in Africa in the next 40 years, unless conservation measures are changed. "Whether it's a fence or some other form of barrier, it's really clear that lions need physical separation from people if we're going to save them," said Luke Hunter, a conservation biologist with Panthera, which aims to protect endangered big cats. The study was published in the journal Ecology Letters. — Read it at Discovery News

Dominic the pig helps train firefighters.
Dominic the pig helps train firefighters.

Pig Helps Firefighters Train

A nearly 200-pound pig named Dominic has a new job: to help firefighters in England learn how to handle escaped animals. Nicknamed Fireman Ham, the pig got the job because he kept wandering off from his owners. He was a bit reluctant at first, but now that he knows how to get out of all of the firefighters’ mock situations, he’s got the hang of it. — Watch it at Today

Giant Rabbit Dives Into Hydrotherapy

In another irresistable story out of England, Heidi, a 4-year-old continental giant rabbit, has been getting therapy for her arthritic joints by swimming. The bunny dons a life jacket twice a week, and does her laps in a heated pool for seven minutes. Much to her caretakers’ surprise, Heidi doesn’t seem to mind her time in the water. And it seems to be helping. "She is moving around much more freely," said owner Amanda Williams.— See photo at People Pets

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