California Pet Stores Can No Longer Use 'Puppy Mills,' According to a New Law

iStock.com/choja
iStock.com/choja

The landscape of pet ownership is about to experience a radical shift, at least in California. Beginning Tuesday, January 1, 2019, pet stores located in the state will no longer be able to sell certain animals sourced from anywhere other than rescue and shelter organizations.

Pet stores have been perpetually under fire by animal rights activists for making use of “puppy mills,” businesses that supply stores with dogs and other pets reared in questionable and sometimes inhumane environments. According to the Humane Society [PDF], squalid conditions in cramped cages or poor hygienic standards can result in puppies with long-term health conditions or communicable diseases. PAWS, a non-profit animal rights group, estimates that 90 percent of puppies currently sold in stores come from mills.

The new California law, AB 485, aims to reduce the demand for puppies from such places by requiring that commercial pet stores traffic exclusively in dogs, cats, and rabbits that have been sourced from a rescue. Stores will need to keep records of where the animal was obtained, along with required spaying and neutering documentation. The information also needs to be posted near the animal’s cage.

Opponents of the bill have criticized it for making it harder for buyers to select the specific breed they want, and because offering shelter animals could cut significantly into a store’s profits, leading some to close their doors.

Prospective owners will still be able to buy puppies and kittens directly from breeders. If a store is found to be in violation of the law, a $500 penalty can be issued.

[h/t Time]

Why Cats Like to Shove Their Butts in Your Face, According to an Animal Behavior Expert

This cat might be happier showing off its butt.
This cat might be happier showing off its butt.
Okssi68/iStock via Getty Images

Cats are full of eccentric behaviors. They hate getting wet. Their tongues sometimes get stuck midway out of their mouths, known as a “blep.” And they’re really happy hanging out in bodegas.

Some of these traits can be explained while others are more mysterious. Case in point: when they stick their rear end in your face for no apparent reason.

Are cats doing this just to humiliate their hapless caregivers? What would possess a cat to greet a person with its butt? Why subject the person who gives you food and shelter to such degradation?

To find out, Inverse spoke with Mikel Delgado, a postdoctoral fellow at the School of Veterinary Medicine at UC Davis. According to Delgado, cats don’t necessarily perceive their rectal flaunting as anything aggressive or domineering. In fact, it might be a cat’s way of saying hello.

“For cats, it’s normal for them to sniff each other’s butts as a way to say hello or confirm another cat’s identity,” Delgado said. “It’s hard for us to relate to, but for them, smell is much more important to cats and how they recognize each other than vision is. So cats may be ‘inviting’ us to check them out, or just giving us a friendly hello.”

For a cat, presenting or inspecting a butt is a kind of fingerprint scan. It’s a biological measure of security.

Other experts agree with this assessment, explaining that cats use their rear end to express friendliness or affection. Raising their tail so you can take a whiff is a sign of trust. If they keep their tail down, it’s possible they might be feeling a little shy.

If you think this situation is eased by the fact you rarely hear cats fart, we have bad news. They do. Because they don’t often gulp air while eating, they just don’t have enough air in their digestive tract to make an audible noise. Rest assured that, statistically speaking, there will be times a cat giving you a friendly greeting is also stealthily farting in your face.

[h/t Inverse]

New York City Falcon Cam Reveals Nest With Four Eggs

BrianEKushner, iStock via Getty Images
BrianEKushner, iStock via Getty Images

The urban jungle of New York City supports a vibrant wildlife population. One animal that calls the city home is the peregrine falcon, once an endangered species, that has been seen around downtown Manhattan for decades. Recently, a livestream of the falcons of 55 Water Street revealed that one of them is about to be a mom.

The camera on top of the skyscraper at 55 Water Street peers into a falcon nesting site, and a female peregrine falcon there has been displaying incubating behaviors since at least late March, according to the Downtown Alliance's blog. It was assumed she had laid eggs, though this wasn't confirmed until she flew away from her nest on the afternoon of March 31. Her absence left four eggs in clear view of the building's bird camera.

It also created some concern among viewers. When female falcons leave the nest to hunt, the father usually takes over incubating duties—something that didn't happen in this case. Fortunately, the mother wasn't gone long enough to put her eggs in any real danger. She returned later that afternoon, and is currently nesting right where the internet can see her.

Peregrine falcon eggs need to be incubated for about 33 days, so expect to see them hatch sometime within the next month. In the meantime, here are some more animal livestreams to check out.

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