When it comes to household pets, cleanliness is often a topic of debate among pet owners. Cats and dogs, two of the most popular companions, have very different habits that affect their level of cleanliness. This article dives into the nitty-gritty of each species’ grooming behaviors, hygiene practices, and the impact these have on their overall cleanliness. We’ll explore whether the stereotype of the fastidious cat holds up against the more carefree nature of dogs, and which pet might actually be the cleaner roommate.

Key Takeaways

  • Cats are known for their meticulous self-grooming habits, which contribute to their reputation for cleanliness.
  • Dogs often enjoy activities that may seem unclean, such as rolling in mud, but regular human-led grooming can mitigate these effects.
  • Oral hygiene differs significantly between cats and dogs, with misconceptions about dogs’ mouths being cleaner than humans’ debunked.
  • Multiple factors, including diet and litter box maintenance, play a crucial role in maintaining a clean environment for cat owners.
  • Hygiene practices in animals are diverse and often related to survival, health, and social behaviors, influencing perceived cleanliness.

Paws and Reflect: The Great Clean-Off Between Cats and Dogs

Paws and Reflect: The Great Clean-Off Between Cats and Dogs

The Litter-ary Debate: Cats’ Self-Cleaning Marvels

We all know that cats are the epitome of cleanliness in the animal kingdom, but have you ever wondered why cats clean themselves so often? These furry little Zen masters spend a significant part of their day in what can only be described as a meticulous grooming ritual. With their built-in comb—their rough tongues—they remove every speck of dirt and debris, leaving their coats as spotless as a freshly laundered tuxedo.

But it’s not just about looking good for the ‘gram. This constant licking serves a dual purpose: it’s a self-soothing activity that helps reduce stress, and it also distributes natural oils across their fur, maintaining that enviable sheen. Here’s a purr-ticular rundown of why our feline friends are obsessed with cleanliness:

  • Temperature regulation: By licking their fur, cats can cool down on a hot day or add an extra layer of insulation when it’s chilly.
  • Scent masking: In the wild, staying undetected is key, so cats lick away any odors that might give away their location to predators or prey.
  • Fur maintenance: Regular grooming prevents matting and removes loose hair—less fur on your couch, more in their stomachs (hello, hairballs!).

Cats are clean animals that spend a significant part of their day grooming their fur.

Now, let’s not forget about our canine companions. While dogs may not have the same level of self-grooming prowess, they have their own ways of staying clean. However, when it comes to the cleanliness Olympics, it seems cats might just be taking home the gold. For more insights into the fascinating world of feline grooming, check out CatsLuvUs for a deep dive into the purr-fect world of cat care.

Slobber and Fur: The Canine Cleanliness Conundrum

When it comes to the great clean-off, our canine companions might just give us paws for thought. Sure, they’re adorable and loyal, but let’s face it, they’re not exactly the epitome of cleanliness. Dogs have their own unique ways of staying clean, which often includes a good roll in the mud and a slobber-filled shake-off. It’s a ruff life, but someone’s got to do it, right?

Now, let’s dig into the dirt on doggy hygiene. We’ve all seen our furry friends engage in some questionable cleaning tactics. From the classic ‘stop, drop, and roll’ in the nearest puddle to the infamous ‘dead fish wiggle’, dogs seem to have a knack for getting dirty just as much as they do for getting clean. But before we judge, let’s remember that these behaviors are often rooted in instinct and can actually serve a purpose, like masking their scent from predators.

Despite their messy methods, dogs do have some tricks up their furry sleeves when it comes to staying clean. They might not have the same meticulous grooming habits as cats, but they’ve got their own brand of ‘paw-sonal’ hygiene.

For a tail-wagging perspective, here’s a list of some of the ways dogs attempt to keep themselves clean:

  • Licking: Dogs do lick themselves, but it’s not quite the same as a cat’s thorough grooming session.
  • Chewing: They often chew on their paws and fur to remove debris or soothe irritations.
  • Shaking: A good shake can remove a surprising amount of dirt, water, and loose fur.
  • Rolling: While it might seem counterintuitive, rolling can actually help dogs scratch hard-to-reach places and shed excess fur.

And let’s not forget about the human intervention in the form of baths, which can range from a peaceful spa day to a splashy battle of wills. If you’re looking for more insights on keeping your feline friends just as spotless, check out CatsLuvUs for some purr-fectly clean tips.

The Tail of Two Tongues: Comparing Feline and Canine Oral Hygiene

When it comes to the oral hygiene showdown between our feline friends and canine companions, things get a bit… hairy. Let’s face it, neither cats nor dogs are going to win any awards for minty-fresh breath. But, as we’ve dug through the dirt of dental data, we’ve unearthed some fascinating furballs of facts.

Cats’ meticulous grooming rituals are not just about looking good for the ‘gram. They’re a purr-sonal spa session that keeps them in tip-top shape. Licking isn’t just a hobby; it’s a health routine that stimulates natural oils and blood circulation. It’s also a barometer for their mood—whether they’re stressed out or just trying to show some love.

On the other paw, our loyal pooches might not have the same level of self-cleaning prowess. Their slobbery kisses might be heartwarming, but they’re also a free ride for bacteria. With around 600 different types of bacteria lurking in their mouths, dogs’ dental hygiene is a tail-wagging topic of its own. And while we’re on the subject, let’s debunk a myth: dogs’ mouths are not cleaner than humans’. In fact, we share some of the same dental bacteria, like the Porphyromonas family, which can lead to gum disease.

In the great debate of oral hygiene, it’s not just about who has the cleaner mouth, but how each pet maintains their dental health and what it means for us as pet owners.

So, if you’re curious about keeping your kitty’s canines clean or your doggo’s dentals dandy, check out CatsLuvUs for some tips and tricks. Remember, a little toothy attention can go a long way in keeping your pet’s pearly whites just that—pearly white!

Fur-bulous Grooming: Why Cats Might Just Outshine Dogs

Fur-bulous Grooming: Why Cats Might Just Outshine Dogs

The Art of Feline Self-Grooming: More Than Just Licking

When it comes to the meticulous art of self-grooming, our feline friends are the undisputed champions of the animal kingdom. It’s not just about licking their fur into submission; it’s a complex ritual that involves a variety of behaviors, each with its own purr-pose. Cats use their barbed tongues to reach the root of cleanliness, combing through their fur to remove loose hair and dirt. But wait, there’s more! They also employ their paws as washcloths, dampening them with a lick before wiping their face and behind their ears.

Let’s not forget the strategic rolling and stretching that aids in reaching those hard-to-lick spots. It’s like kitty yoga with a twist of hygiene! And for those wondering if this is all just for show, rest assured, it’s not. Grooming helps regulate body temperature, control parasites, and even reduce stress. It’s a spa day, every day, in the life of a cat.

Cats’ grooming habits are not only about cleanliness but also about marking their territory. They’re saying, ‘This is mine,’ with every stroke of their tongue.

For a deeper dive into the feline world of grooming, check out CatsLuvUs for whisker-licking good reads. And remember, while dogs may have their day, cats have the monopoly on meticulous grooming.

Dogs’ Day Out: Do Mud Baths Count as Cleaning?

When it comes to our canine companions, a frolic in the mud might seem like the antithesis of cleanliness. But let’s paws for a moment and consider the possibility that these mud baths could have some hidden hygienic benefits. After all, in the animal kingdom, rolling in the dirt isn’t always a dirty deed. It can be a way to remove parasites or a cooling mechanism, much like pigs wallowing to beat the heat.

However, when it comes to our homes, we might not be as appreciative of these ‘natural’ spa treatments. A thorough rinse off is a great way to quickly remove mud, grime, or stagnant pond water from your dog in between full baths. But let’s not kid ourselves, it’s the full bath that really turns your pooch from filthy to fluffy. And while we’re on the subject of baths, have you ever wondered how often you should bathe your dog? Well, it’s not a one-size-fits-all answer, but here’s a rough guide to keep your dog’s coat in tip-top shape:

  • For short-haired breeds: Once every three months
  • For medium-haired breeds: Once every six weeks
  • For long-haired breeds: Every four weeks

While some may argue that a dog’s love for mud is just their way of expressing their inner Picasso, the reality is that a mud-caked dog is not the epitome of cleanliness.

So, next time your furry friend decides to indulge in a mud bath, remember that a little dirt might not be the end of the world. But for the sake of your carpets and couches, a post-mud bath cleanup is definitely in order. And if you’re looking for more tips on keeping your pet clean and your home spotless, check out CatsLuvUs for all your feline and canine conundrums.

Whisker Clean: The Science Behind Cats’ Grooming Habits

Ever wondered why our feline friends are so obsessed with cleanliness? Well, it turns out that cats are not just neat freaks; they’re actually built for hygiene! Their grooming rituals are more than just a vanity project; they’re a full-blown meditative and rewarding practice. And while we’re on the subject of hairballs, yes, they are a common issue, but they’re also a sign of a cat’s diligent self-care routine.

Cats communicate through subtle behaviors, and grooming is a prime example of this. By understanding their hygiene practices, we’re not just learning about how they stay clean; we’re getting a glimpse into the complex world of cat behavior. It’s like they have their own secret society where the first rule is: ‘If you’re not clean, you’re not coming in!’

Here’s a purr-ticular insight into the grooming habits of cats:

  • Cats use their tongues, which are covered in tiny hook-like structures, to comb through their fur.
  • They have a special gland near their tails that secretes oils, which they spread through their fur to keep it waterproof and shiny.
  • Cats often groom each other in a behavior known as allogrooming, which strengthens social bonds.

In the grand scheme of things, cats are the ultimate self-care gurus. They don’t need spa days or fancy shampoos; their grooming habits are all the pampering they need.

And let’s not forget, a clean cat is a happy cat. So next time you see your kitty mid-lick, just know they’re not only prepping for their next nap but also taking part in an age-old tradition of feline finesse. For more insights into the fascinating world of cats, check out CatsLuvUs!

The Purr-suit of Cleanliness: Do Cats Have a Monopoly on Hygiene?

The Purr-suit of Cleanliness: Do Cats Have a Monopoly on Hygiene?

The Myth of the ‘Clean’ Dog Mouth Debunked

We’ve all heard the tail – err, tale – that a dog’s mouth is cleaner than a human’s, but let’s paws for a moment and dig into the facts. It turns out, this myth is more bark than bite! Dogs’ mouths are not the pristine palaces of cleanliness we once believed. They’re home to over 600 types of bacteria, some of which are unique to our canine companions and can pose a threat to both pets and humans alike.

When it comes to our feline friends, proper hygiene practices for cat colonies are essential to maintain health and prevent disease transmission to humans and animals. Regular grooming, litter management, and health checks are key. Mitigating risks in contaminated environments is crucial for feline and human health. Cleanliness is vital to reduce human transmission of parasites from feral cats.

While we adore our dog’s slobbery kisses, it’s important to understand that their mouths are a microbial mingle, just like ours. So, next time you get a wet one from your pooch, just think of it as a drool-worthy fact of life!

Curious about how to keep your whiskered companions as clean as a purr? Visit CatsLuvUs for more information on keeping your pets in tip-top shape. And remember, whether it’s a cat’s meticulous grooming or a dog’s happy-go-lucky bath time, both require our attention to stay clean.

Cats’ Sandbox Etiquette vs. Dogs’ Outdoor Adventures

When it comes to the great outdoors, our canine companions often take the lead with tails wagging and noses to the ground. But let’s not forget the meticulous litter box etiquette that our feline friends follow. Cats are the epitome of cleanliness, often seen as the neat freaks of the animal kingdom, and their litter box habits are a testament to this.

In the red corner, we have dogs, who seem to have a ‘go anywhere’ policy, turning every outdoor excursion into a potential potty break. In the blue corner, cats, with their private bathroom rituals, ensure that their ‘business’ is always discreetly buried. It’s a clash of the titans, with fur flying and paws prancing, but who will emerge as the hygiene hero?

  • Dogs: Outdoor adventurers, no holds barred
  • Cats: Sandbox sophisticates, privacy please

While dogs may have the freedom of the great outdoors, cats take the crown for their indoor potty prowess. And if you’re looking to give your cat the royal treatment, a visit to CatsLuvUs will provide you with all the purr-fect supplies.

In the quest for cleanliness, our feline overlords have developed a system that not only keeps their living quarters spotless but also maintains their dignity. It’s a delicate balance, one that they navigate with the grace of a ballet dancer on a tightrope.

The Scent of Clean: How Cats Use Grooming to Communicate

When it comes to the art of staying spick-and-span, our feline friends are the purr-fect example of cleanliness. Not only do they spend a significant chunk of their nine lives grooming themselves, but they also use this ritual to send whisker-tingling messages to other cats. Cats’ grooming habits are more than just a vanity project; they’re a sophisticated form of communication.

For instance, when a cat licks its fur, it’s not just about looking good for the next catwalk. They’re actually depositing their scent, which is a feline way of saying, ‘This spot is mine, fur-real!’ It’s like they’re updating their status on ‘Catbook’ without needing a keyboard. And when they’re not busy claiming their territory, they’re giving themselves a tongue bath to stay as fresh as a newly opened can of tuna.

Here’s a little ‘scratch’ on the surface of what those grooming sessions entail:

  • Marking their territory: By rubbing their face against objects (or their favorite humans), cats leave behind pheromones that mark their territory.
  • Social bonding: Mutual grooming, or allogrooming, is a way for cats to build and maintain friendships.
  • Temperature regulation: Licking helps to cool them down as the saliva evaporates from their fur.
  • Parasite control: Grooming helps to remove fleas and other pesky critters.

Cats are the ultimate multitaskers: while they’re licking their fur, they’re also checking their ‘to-do’ list: stay clean, stay cool, socialize, and send messages.

Maintaining a clean environment is crucial for our whiskered companions. A pristine litter box is not just a luxury; it’s a necessity for a content cat. Understanding cat behavior is key to providing a senior-friendly environment and addressing issues like cat marking. If the going gets tough, consider luxury boarding as a last resort. For more insights into the feline world, don’t hesitate to visit CatsLuvUs for a treasure trove of cat-tastic information!

Canine vs. Feline: The Bacterial Battle of the Mouths

Canine vs. Feline: The Bacterial Battle of the Mouths

Drool-Worthy Facts: The Truth About Dog Kisses

Let’s face it, we’ve all pondered whether those slobbery dog kisses are just affectionate gestures or a bacterial bonanza. Well, brace yourselves for a drool revelation. While our canine companions may not be the epitome of oral hygiene, most bacteria in a dog’s mouth aren’t looking to jump species. So, unless Fido’s been feasting on forbidden snacks, those wet willies are usually just a messy mark of love.

But before you let your guard down, remember that dogs’ mouths are not the sterile sanctuaries some tall tales would have us believe. They’re teeming with over 600 types of bacteria, some of which are unique to our four-legged friends. And while we share some microbial mates with our mutts, it’s best to keep the toothbrushes separate. After all, sharing is caring, but not when it comes to germs.

Now, if you’re itching to know more about the bacterial battle between cats, dogs, and humans, you’ll want to pounce over to CatsLuvUs. They’ve got the scoop on all things feline, and who knows, you might just find out that your kitty’s kisses are cleaner than you thought.

Question Dog’s Mouth Human’s Mouth
Cleaner? Not quite Depends
Bacteria Types Over 600 Less
Shared Bacteria? Some Yes

While we’re on the topic of cleanliness, let’s not forget that a pet’s pearly whites need as much attention as their fur. Dental care isn’t just about fresh breath; it’s about overall health. So, book that dental appointment, and let’s keep those tails wagging and purrs coming.

Purr-fect Pearly Whites: Do Cats Have the Dental Edge?

When it comes to the tooth-and-nail battle of oral hygiene, our feline friends might just be grinning with a win. Good dental hygiene is a detrimental part of both cats’ and dogs’ overall well-being, and they both should be addressed. Since cats constantly groom themselves, they’re often perceived as the cleaner pet, but does this extend to their pearly whites as well?

Cats, much like their human companions, are susceptible to a host of dental issues. The Porphyromonas bacterial family, for instance, is a shared troublemaker, known for causing gum disease in both kitties and their two-legged pals. A veritable bacteria bash can build up on the dental surface, leading to halitosis, receding gums, and even bone loss around the tooth roots.

While we’re all about those catnap dreams, don’t snooze on your pet’s dental health. A regular vet check-up can keep those fangs fearsomely fresh!

Here’s a quick rundown of signs that your cat may be facing a dental dilemma:

  • Decreased appetite or abnormal chewing
  • Excessive drooling
  • Difficulty keeping food in the mouth
  • Bad breath

If you spot any of these signs, it’s time to pounce on the problem and contact your vet faster than a cat chasing a laser pointer. They’ll help you set up a dental date for your furball. And remember, prevention is key—regular dental check-ups are a must. For more insights on keeping your cat’s smile sparkling, check out Catster for tips and tricks that’ll have you both feline good!

Microbial Mingle: How Pet Mouths Compare to Humans

When it comes to the great debate on mouth cleanliness, we’ve all heard the tail that a dog’s kiss is less germ-filled than a human handshake. But let’s not jump to collie-sions without the facts. Our furry friends might not have minty-fresh breath, but comparing their oral ecosystems to ours is like comparing a cat’s agility to a turtle’s – they’re just different animals!

The truth is, both dogs and humans host a party of microbes in their mouths, each with their own guest list of bacteria. While we share some common critters, our canine companions have about 600 types of bacteria throwing a paw-ty, whereas we humans have around 615 species – and the numbers keep growing!

In the furry flurry of comparing dental data, it’s important to note that while we may share some bacterial buddies, the diversity and types of these tiny tenants vary greatly between species.

Now, if you’re curious about how your pet’s dental hygiene stacks up against your own, here’s a little table to scratch that itch:

Species Approximate Number of Bacterial Types
Dogs 600
Humans 615

Remember, while our pets may not be using toothpaste and floss, they’ve got their own ways of keeping their chompers in check. And if you’re looking to keep your kitty’s smile shining, check out CatsLuvUs for some purr-fect tips on feline dental care. Just don’t expect them to start brushing twice a day – unless you’ve got some seriously persuasive catnip!

Litter-ally Spotless: The Secrets to a Clean House with Cats

Litter-ally Spotless: The Secrets to a Clean House with Cats

The Clawsome Guide to Litter Box Maintenance

Maintaining a pristine litter box is not just a courtesy to our feline overlords; it’s a necessity for a harmonious home. Scoop waste daily to keep your cat’s throne spotless and odor-free. Cats are fastidious creatures, and a clean area is paramount for their bathroom breaks.

When it comes to the nitty-gritty of litter box upkeep, we’ve got the scoop! Clumping clay litter is the cat’s pajamas because it allows for easy waste removal. Replace the scooped areas with fresh litter to maintain a level of cleanliness that even the most discerning kitty would approve of.

Here’s a purr-ticular tip: clean all litter boxes at least once a week with a mild, pet-friendly detergent and warm water. Make sure to rinse thoroughly and dry completely before refilling with litter. For those with a feline army, remember the golden rule: one litter box per cat, plus one extra.

If you’re curious about more feline wisdom, check out CatsLuvUs for a treasure trove of cat care tips and tricks.

In the quest for the purr-fectly maintained litter box, consistency is key. A regular cleaning schedule will ensure that your cat’s bathroom is always up to snuff, making both you and your whiskered companion happy.

Feline Fine: The Role of Diet in Cat Cleanliness

We all know that a cat’s diet is more than just fuel for their endless napping and bird-watching marathons. It’s also a key player in the purr-sonal hygiene game. Just like us, what goes into our feline friends can affect what comes out, and that includes their overall cleanliness. A diet that’s high in quality and suited to their carnivorous needs can lead to a sleek coat, fewer hairballs, and yes, even tidier litter box visits.

Let’s talk about the nitty-gritty of kibble and nibbles. Cats are obligate carnivores, which means they require a diet rich in animal protein to thrive. But not all cat foods are created equal. Some are the cat’s meow, while others are just a cat-astrophe waiting to happen. Here’s a quick rundown of what to look for in a cat’s diet to keep them clean and serene:

  • High-quality animal protein: The cornerstone of a cat’s diet.
  • Low carbohydrate content: Cats have little need for carbs, and too many can be a furball’s foe.
  • Adequate hydration: Wet food or a water fountain can keep things flowing smoothly.
  • Essential fatty acids: For that glossy coat that doesn’t quit.

Now, let’s not forget that a clean cat is not just about what’s on the inside. The right diet can reduce the amount of waste produced, making litter box maintenance a breeze. And know that wet food requires more diligent cat bowl cleaning, since it can be a harboring ground for bacteria and make your cat sick, adds Dr. Coates.

In the grand scheme of things, a well-balanced diet is the unsung hero of cat cleanliness. It’s the difference between a fur coat that sparkles and one that just… doesn’t.

So, if you’re aiming for a home that’s as spotless as a cat’s conscience, consider taking a peek at your kitty’s menu. And for more tips and tricks on keeping your feline looking fine, check out CatsLuvUs. After all, a clean cat is a happy cat, and a happy cat means a happy you!

Multi-Cat Households: The Ultimate Test of Tidiness

When it comes to maintaining a spotless sanctuary with multiple whiskered residents, the fur can really start to fly! But fear not, fellow feline aficionados, we’ve clawed through the clutter to bring you the ultimate guide to keeping your multi-cat home purring along in pristine condition.

Firstly, let’s talk litter logistics. With more cats, you’ll need a strategic number of litter boxes. The golden rule? One per cat, plus one extra for good measure. This ensures that every kitty has their own throne and reduces the chances of territorial ‘accidents’.

Next, tackle the tufts! Regular grooming sessions are a must to keep those fur balls from turning your home into a hairy nightmare. And don’t forget to scoop the poop daily! A clean litter box is the cornerstone of a fresh-smelling home.

For those pesky pet odors that seem to have nine lives, an enzymatic cleaner is your new best friend. These miracle workers break down odors at the molecular level, leaving your home smelling like roses (or at least not like a litter box).

And remember, if the task seems daunting, professional help is just a paw tap away at Cats Luv Us. So, roll up your sleeves, grab that scoop, and let’s get cleaning!

Maintaining a pristine home with your feline friends is simpler than you think! Discover the ultimate secrets to a spotless living space on our website, where we share expert tips on cat grooming, boarding, and care. Don’t let the litter box blues get you down—visit us now and learn how to keep your house ‘Litter-ally Spotless’ with ease. Plus, for a limited time, new customers can claim their first night free with a 3-night stay at our Cats Luv Us Boarding Hotel. Embrace the joy of a clean home and happy cats—click through to find out more!

The Tail End of the Tale: Cats vs. Dogs Cleanliness Showdown

In the fur-ocious battle of cleanliness, we’ve scratched beneath the surface to reveal that while dogs may have their own unique ‘paw-sonal’ hygiene habits, cats clearly take the ‘purr-ize’ for self-grooming prowess. From their meticulous tongue baths to their fastidious litter box etiquette, cats are the undisputed champions of cleanliness. So, the next time your canine companion tries to give you a slobbery kiss, just remember: it’s not quite the ‘purr-fect’ clean you’d get from a feline’s sandpaper smooch. And for those with a clowder of cats, fear not; with the right tips, your home can be as spotless as your kitty’s coat. Let’s face it, when it comes to being clean, cats are simply ‘litter-genius’!

Frequently Asked Questions

Are cats really cleaner than dogs?

Cats are known for their meticulous grooming habits, often spending a significant portion of their day cleaning themselves. Dogs, on the other hand, may require more assistance from their owners to maintain cleanliness. While both animals have their own hygiene practices, cats generally have a reputation for being cleaner due to their constant self-grooming.

Do cats groom themselves for reasons other than cleanliness?

Yes, cats groom themselves for several reasons beyond cleanliness. Grooming helps them regulate body temperature, stimulate circulation, and even as a way to soothe and comfort themselves. It’s also a means for cats to spread their scent and mark their territory.

Are dogs’ mouths cleaner than humans’?

Contrary to popular belief, dogs’ mouths are not cleaner than humans’. Both contain a significant amount of bacteria, with dogs’ mouths harboring around 600 species of germs, while humans have about 615 different microbes. It’s essential to maintain good hygiene practices for both pet and owner.

How can I maintain a clean house with multiple cats?

To maintain a clean house with multiple cats, you should regularly scoop and clean litter boxes, invest in a good pet vacuum, use HEPA air purifiers, and brush your cats often. Ensuring a sufficient number of litter boxes and using enzymatic cleaners can also help keep your home clean.

Why do some animals rarely clean themselves compared to others?

Animals have evolved different hygiene behaviors based on survival, health, and social habits. While some animals, like cats, groom daily to remove parasites and maintain their fur, others may rarely clean themselves due to different environmental or social factors influencing their behavior.

Does hygiene play a role in animals’ reproductive success?

Yes, for many animals, maintaining good hygiene is crucial for attracting mates. Cleanliness can signal health and vitality, which are desirable traits in a potential partner. Animals may engage in specific grooming behaviors to increase their chances of reproductive success.