'Pet'tacular Facts

Dogs, cats, birds, hamsters ... whatever your choice pet companion, animals can enhance our lives. Here are some interesting facts about those pets we hold dear.

* Cats can spend up to 18 hours a day sleeping.

* Many domesticated dogs are capable of running at speeds of around 30 miles per hour. Greyhounds, however, may reach 70 mph.

* Cats have up to 26 more vertebrae than the human backbone. This provides them with greater flexibility.

* Some experts surmise that a dog's sense of smell is one million times greater than a human's.

* Cats and dogs are not colorblind as originally thought. They don't see color as vividly as people do, however.

* The oldest dog on record was named Bluey, an Australian cattle-dog. He lived to be age 29 and 5 months.

* The heaviest cat on record weighed 21.3 kg. He was from Queensland, Australia.

* People who have pets generally visit the doctor less frequently and use fewer medications than those who don't.

* The average hamster, if provided a wheel, will run up to eight miles per night!

* The lifespan of the common goldfish is more than 20 years.

* The name ferret comes from the Latin word "furritus," meaning "little thief."

* Despite the common belief, rabbits are not rodents.

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