Stress Pushes Animals to Binge, Too

House pets feel human worries; lab animals turn to high-fat treats
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 17, 2008 6:35 PM CDT
Wild animals in captivity are particularly prone to stress.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Animals get stressed out just like humans, and they even cope anthropomorphically, binging on sweet, fatty foods, LiveScience reports. What’s more, animals can read our misgivings and take on that stress themselves. “The more intelligent an animal is, the more psychological stress it can undergo,” one veterinarian said, though humans still take the prize for the most neurosis.

Cats show stress when they live with unfriendly cats; dogs in shelters are stressed by other dogs' barking, researchers found. Monkey studies found stressed-out subordinate females—like the unpopular girls in junior high school—more likely to eat high-fat treats not part of their normal diet. And cooped-up rats go straight for lard and sugar water after release.