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Effect of gentle stroking and vocalization on behaviour, mucosal immunity and upper respiratory disease in anxious shelter cats

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... (Gourkow et al., 2014b) Cat (Felis catus) E ffect of gentling (petting four times daily for 10 min, over a period of 10 days) on cats rated as Anxious Gentled cats had higher fecal SIgA (μg/g) and were less likely to exhibit behaviors associated with anxiety and frustration. (Gourkow et al., 2014a) Experimental versus control Cats that responded positively to gentling had higher fecal SIgA. ...
... In particular, behavior profiles indicate that animals displaying behaviors consistent with good welfare have higher SIgA concentrations than those exhibiting behaviors indicative of poor welfare (i.e., high anxiety) (Gourkow et al., 2014b;Graham et al., 1988). In the studies of shelter cats, cats observed sleeping, eating, walking, grooming, rubbing, and responding in a friendly manner to humans upon arrival (Content cats), had the highest SIgA concentrations among the three categories of cats (Anxious, Frustrated, and Content), and exhibited both lower incidence and later onset of upper respiratory disease (Gourkow et al., 2014a;Gourkow et al., 2014b). Human intervention ("gentling", or petting cats for 10 min, four times a day) with Anxious cats was also shown to improve behavioral outcomes and health-associated parameters. ...
... Human intervention ("gentling", or petting cats for 10 min, four times a day) with Anxious cats was also shown to improve behavioral outcomes and health-associated parameters. Specifically, compared to controls, Anxious cats that experienced the "gentling" treatment showed reductions in behaviors such as hiding, crawling, and retreating from humans, enhanced fecal SIgA concentrations, and reduced likelihood of developing upper respiratory disease (Fig. 2) (Gourkow et al., 2014a;Gourkow and Phillips, 2015). Therefore, first examining SIgA in the context of behavior is likely to allow for more robust interpretations of welfare based on SIgA concentrations. ...
Article
As the animal welfare community strives to empirically assess how care and management practices can help maintain or even enhance welfare, the development of tools for non-invasively measuring physiological biomarkers is essential. Of the suite of physiological biomarkers, Immunoglobulin A (IgA), particularly the secretory form (Secretory IgA or SIgA), is at the forefront because of its crucial role in mucosal immunity and links to physical health, stress, and overall psychological well-being. While interpretation of SIgA values on short time scales is complex, long-term SIgA patterns are consistent: conditions that create chronic stress lead to suppression of SIgA. In contrast, when welfare is enhanced, SIgA concentrations are predicted to stabilize at higher concentrations. In this review, we examine how SIgA concentrations are reflective of both physiological stress and immune function. We then review the literature associating SIgA concentrations with various metrics of animal welfare and provide detailed methodological considerations for SIgA monitoring. Overall, our aim is to provide an in-depth discussion regarding the value of SIgA as physiological biomarker to studies aiming to understand the links between stress and immunity.
... Various studies have been performed to determine if handling of cats in the shelter increases their risk of becoming stressed, with mixed results [18,19]. Some argue even gentle handling can induce aggression [18] either due to genetic predisposition to defensive behaviors towards humans [20,21] or over stimulation of certain epidermal units. ...
... In contrast, other studies have shown that petting can have numerous positive benefits such as reduction of stress associated with chronic pain [23] and lowering of arterial blood pressure [24]. As it pertains to cats housed in an animal shelter, gentle handling of anxious cats has been shown to decrease stress, increase S-IgA production, and reduce the incidence of upper respiratory disease (URD) [19,25]. As mentioned previously, IgA is the most abundant antibody for mucosal immunity and is vital for the prevention of URD pathogens [13,26]. ...
... Stratification of handling may have identified differential effects of different types of handling on the development of URD, but we did not collect these data. While we did not look specifically at just positive human interactions (e.g., gentling), the results from our study are a practical extrapolation from the conclusions of Gourkow et al. 2014 [19]. This study found that positive human interaction, also called gentling, can reduce the incidence of URD in shelter cats. ...
Article
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Reducing stress is important to maintaining the health of shelter cats and decreasing the risk of upper respiratory disease (URD). The aim of this study was to determine if the frequency and/or duration of daily routine handling of shelter cats affects the likelihood of URD development. At a closed admission shelter, each cat free of URD on intake was given a cage card for recording handling data. These data included: date and times when the cat was handled, duration of handling, if and when the cat developed signs of URD, and the handler identity. Cox regression was used to determine the relationship between these factors and URD development. We found cats that did not develop URD were handled significantly more than cats that did (1.1 times per day vs. 0.7 times per day, p < 0.001). Increased frequency of handling had a borderline significant effect on the hazard of developing URD (HR 0.37; CI: 0.13–1.1; p = 0.066). No other parameters were significantly associated with the development of URD; however, small sample size may be responsible for this finding. A larger study is needed to elucidate the relationship between handling and URD development.
... For example, in novel environments or stressful situations, cats tend to seek out physical places of safety and security (18), and even otherwise friendly cats may prioritise these resources over social interactions with humans, particularly during periods of habituation. In a shelter environment, both fearful and frustrated cats may benefit from regular HCI, but only if humans are perceived as a positive (non-threatening) stimulus [e.g., (19,20)]. Otherwise, human proximity and associated HCI may have negative, or at the least less positive, impacts on well-being [e.g., (19,21)], particularly if the cat does not have the option to effectively "opt in" or "opt out" of the HCI [e.g., (19)]. ...
... In a shelter environment, both fearful and frustrated cats may benefit from regular HCI, but only if humans are perceived as a positive (non-threatening) stimulus [e.g., (19,20)]. Otherwise, human proximity and associated HCI may have negative, or at the least less positive, impacts on well-being [e.g., (19,21)], particularly if the cat does not have the option to effectively "opt in" or "opt out" of the HCI [e.g., (19)]. ...
... In a shelter environment, both fearful and frustrated cats may benefit from regular HCI, but only if humans are perceived as a positive (non-threatening) stimulus [e.g., (19,20)]. Otherwise, human proximity and associated HCI may have negative, or at the least less positive, impacts on well-being [e.g., (19,21)], particularly if the cat does not have the option to effectively "opt in" or "opt out" of the HCI [e.g., (19)]. ...
Article
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The importance of animals' experiences and associated comfort during Human-Animal Interactions (HAI), and particularly Animal Assisted Interventions (AAI), are increasingly recognised. However, there remains a paucity of published research, particularly concerning less formal but frequent HAIs to which companion animals are typically exposed, such as stroking or petting. Additionally, few practical evidence-based guides to facilitate humans' optimal animal handling and interaction in these contexts exist. A simple set of Human-Cat Interaction (HCI) guidelines were therefore created, with the aim to enhance domestic cats' comfort during generic HCI contexts. Based around a “CAT” acronym, guidelines focused on providing the cat with choice and control (“C”), paying attention (“A”) to the cats' behaviour and body language and limiting touch (“T”), primarily to their temporal regions. Guidelines were presented to human participants during a brief training intervention, and guideline efficacy was subsequently assessed. Domestic cats available for rehoming at Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, UK ( n = 100) were filmed during interactions with novel members of the public ( n = 120). Cats were exposed to a maximum of six, 5-min interaction sessions, balanced across “control” (interactions with humans pre-training) and “intervention” conditions (interactions with humans post-training). For each observation, cat behaviour and posture were coded and humans' cat-directed behaviour rated on the degree to which it reflected best practise principles. Data were extracted from a total of 535 observations and average human interaction ratings and cat behaviour values compared between control and intervention conditions via paired Wilcoxon tests. Compared to the control, humans' interaction styles were rated as significantly more closely aligned with best-practise principles in the intervention condition. Cats also displayed significantly greater frequencies and/or durations of affiliative and positively-valenced behaviours in the intervention. In contrast, cats in the control displayed significantly greater frequencies of human-directed aggression, in addition to greater frequencies and/or durations of behaviours associated with conflict and negative valence. Results demonstrate the positive impact of practical interaction guidelines on cats' social behaviour and comfort during HCI, with the potential to improve cats' general experiences during interactions, reduce human-directed aggression and ultimately improve cat-human relationships.
... Bradshaw et al., (2012), Turner and Bateson (2000). More recently Gourkow et al (2014aGourkow et al ( , 2014bGourkow et al ( , 2015Gourkow et al ( , 2016 provided objective quantifiable evidence of the behavioural styles of cats that might relate to their emotional predisposition. They identified that cats, following initial introduction to a shelter (Gourkow et al., 2014), tended to show one of three groups of behaviour: either one related to hiding, flat postures, freezing, startling, crawling and retreat from humans; or one related to normal patterns of feeding, grooming, sleeping and locomotion, sitting at the front of the cage while calmly observing activities, sleeping or resting while lying on their side, rubbing on cage items and friendly behaviour towards humans; or one related to persistent meowing, scanning, pacing and pushing, bouts of destructive behaviour, escape attempts and redirected aggression. ...
... As such the emphasis was on detailed description and inductive reasoning from these observations rather than deduction from an experiment designed to test a specific hypothesis. Video recordings taken by Gourkow as part of her previously reported work (Gourkow et al 2014b) were used. These featured 29 (15 female, 14 male) cats resident in a Canadian animal shelter in two conditions, one in which no human interaction occurred, and one with human interaction. ...
... If the cat was aggressive during greeting (growling and/or hissing, with or without paw strike), the interaction was done with the aid of an extendable stick with a round rubber tip (Target stick, The Clicker Company, Canada:www.clickercompany.com). The door remained closed; the tool was slid through the bars along the floor and raised up to the cat"s chin initially, then over the cheeks and between the ears (see Gourkow et al. 2014b for further details). ...
Article
Leyhausen’s (1979) work on cat behaviour and facial expressions associated with offensive and defensive behaviour is widely embraced as the standard for interpretation of agonistic behaviour in this species. However, it is a largely anecdotal description that can be easily misunderstood. Recently a facial action coding system has been developed for cats (CatFACS), similar to that used for objectively coding human facial expressions. This study reports on the use of this system to describe the relationship between behaviour and facial expressions of cats in confinement contexts without and with human interaction, in order to generate hypotheses about the relationship between these expressions and underlying emotional state. Video recordings taken of 29 cats resident in a Canadian animal shelter were analysed using 1-0 sampling of 275 4-second video clips.
... Some cats become aggressive, unsocial, and withdrawn, making them more susceptible to diseases (Turner and Bateson, 2014). Behavior problems, such as intercat aggression, pacing, destructive behavior, persistent vocalization, bar biting, and redirected aggression toward people or other pets, can be evidence of frustration in shelter cats (McCune, 1992;Kessler and Turner, 1997;Gourkow et al., 2014a), which can also affect cats' mental well-being (Gourkow et al., 2014a). ...
... Some cats become aggressive, unsocial, and withdrawn, making them more susceptible to diseases (Turner and Bateson, 2014). Behavior problems, such as intercat aggression, pacing, destructive behavior, persistent vocalization, bar biting, and redirected aggression toward people or other pets, can be evidence of frustration in shelter cats (McCune, 1992;Kessler and Turner, 1997;Gourkow et al., 2014a), which can also affect cats' mental well-being (Gourkow et al., 2014a). ...
... In some circumstances, it can be coupled with vocalization, particularly soft speaking (Gourkow, 2012). Gentling or stroking cats can improve their emotions, behavior, and health, although its effects are yet to be completely explored (Gourkow et al., 2014a). Furthermore, therapeutic massage of cats reduces stress associated with chronic pain (Robertson and Lascelles, 2010), and there are significant behavior (contentment) and health benefits (increased production of S-IgA and reduced incidence of upper respiratory disease) for anxious cats in shelters (Gourkow et al., 2014a). ...
Article
Gentling of cats in a shelter has been shown to increase contented behavior and reduce anxiety, but it is not clear how gentling should be provided. Two experiments were conducted with cats confined to cages, each having a central room with a large shelf at the back of the cage and a small one at the front, and a separate, closed off litter area. In experiment 1, cats were gentled daily for five days, with either one session of 6 minutes per day or three sessions of 2 minutes each per day, both with and without accompanying human vocalizations. One daily gentling period of 6 minutes, without human vocalizations, appeared more beneficial than three daily periods of 2 minutes. Cats gentled for 6 minutes per day increased the time they spent at the front of the cage (p <0.001), suggesting that they were soliciting further gentling. Cats that were gentled without vocalizations spent less time playing with toys in the cage (p < 0.001). If vocalizations were included with a single long period of gentling, the cats spent more time in the litter tray, or lying down, suggesting that they did not solicit gentling (p < 0.001). In experiment 2, to investigate optimum gentling time, cats received four gentling treatments (0, 3, 6 or 9 minutes/day) with a different treatment each day over four days, using a Latin Square design. During gentling, the time that cats spent on the cage floor increased with gentling duration (P = 0.006), and purring (P = 0.001) and eating/drinking (P = 0.02) were both higher in the 6 and 9 minutes treatments compared with 3 minutes. There were no effects of gentling on behavioral responses to a stranger, simulating a visitor to the shelter. We conclude that gentling encourages cats to spend more time on the floor, rather than at the back of the cage on a shelf, a posture which might attract potential adopters, and that gentling is best done over several days for 6-9 minutes/day and without the inclusion of vocalizations.
... Behavioral as well as medical interventions have been investigated. Consistent human interaction tailored to the cat's temperament was significantly associated with increased secretory immunoglobulin A, reduced shedding of URI pathogens and lower risk of clinical URI [3,22,23]. However, the overall incidence of URI in cats in the enrichment study was still 34%, comparable to levels reported in other shelters without an equivalent enrichment program [2,14,21]. ...
... In addition to physical risk factors, the role of handling, stress and behavioral health is increasingly appreciated as a significant factor affecting URI development in shelter cats. No shelter in the study reported a specific positive handling program such as has been described in association with decreased URI risk [3,22,23]. However, one shelter reported that larger, double compartment housing specifically facilitated minimal disruptive handling: following an intake exam and vaccination, cats were placed in the housing unit with food, water and bed in one compartment, a towel draped over the cage door to provide visual protection, and a litter box in the other compartment [35]. ...
Article
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Upper respiratory infection (URI) is not an inevitable consequence of sheltering homeless cats. This study documents variation in risk of URI between nine North American shelters; determines whether this reflects variation in pathogen frequency on intake or differences in transmission and expression of disease; and identifies modifiable environmental and group health factors linked to risk for URI. This study demonstrated that although periodic introduction of pathogens into shelter populations may be inevitable, disease resulting from those pathogens is not. Housing and care of cats, particularly during their first week of stay in an animal shelter environment, significantly affects the rate of upper respiratory infection.
... It is reflected in the animals' approach and avoidance reactions, including the distance kept to humans (Waiblinger et al., 2006). Petting and speaking in a gentle voice to shelter cats can reduce anxiety and fear responses, lead to better mucosal immunity and reduce the incidence of URI (Gourkow et al., 2014). In addition, a relationship was found between improved physical condition of shelter cats and regular petting by caregivers (Arhant et al., 2015). ...
... In future studies caregivers should be also interviewed about the duration of time spent with the cats and about the frequency of positive vocal and tactile interactions so that these factors can be related to the cats' approach and avoidance behavior. Emotional, behavioral, and health benefits of gentle stroking and talking (gentling) have been documented for several species (e.g., dogs: Odendaal and Meintjes, 2003;cats: Arhant et al., 2015, Arhant andTroxler, 2017;Gourkow et al., 2014;horses: McBride et al., 2004;calves: Lürzel et al., 2015). It has been shown in laying hens that regular close contact with humans, including feeding small amounts of grain, talking in a gentle voice, and stroking leads to a decrease in avoidance and an increase in approach reactions toward humans (Graml et al., 2008). ...
Article
The aim of the study was to investigate the habitat, characteristics, and the health status of cat colonies under supervision of a trap-neuter-return program, the distance of the cats maintained with respect to their caregivers as a measure of the animals’ fear of or confidence in humans, and relationships between these factors with regard to animal welfare. Thirteen managed cat colonies in different urban habitats were visited twice (1st and 2nd visit) by a team of two observers. The assessment of health and other welfare parameters was based on direct observation at the feeding sites, caregiver inquiry, and photo analysis. Potential associations between the parameters were analyzed at an individual level (e.g., injuries related to sex and neuter status) or at group level (e.g., percentage of animals with impaired health). Interobserver reliability was high for all indicators. Most cats were in a good state of health, and most were already neutered. The lower the percentage of clean feeding places, the higher was the percentage of thin animals (1st/2nd visit: rs = −0.72/−0.58, P = 0.01/0.04) and the percentage of cats showing apathetic behavior (1st/2nd visit: rs = −0.54/−0.58, P = 0.06/0.04). The larger the group size, the higher was the percentage of cats with hair coat deviations (1st/2nd visit: rs = −0.73/−0.79, P = 0.01/<0.01). There were also some associations between sex/neuter status and health. Intact males were most likely to be injured, whereas no injuries were observed in females. The results suggest that feeding site characteristics, such as group size and cleanliness of feeding places, as well as sex and neuter status can have an impact on the health status and thus welfare of colony cats. If caregivers offered diluted milk or treats, a higher percentage of cats approached to close proximity (1st/2nd visit: diluted milk: P = 0.02/0.01; treats: P = 0.04/0.04). The offering of treats likely strengthened the animal-human relationship. Indicators such as the percentage of very thin animals, cats showing altered, apathetic behavior, cats with hair coat deviations, injuries, as well as the percentage of animals approaching within close proximity to their caregiver seem to be useful indicators for the welfare surveillance of cats in managed colonies in terms of validity, because we found associations with environmental factors, the care provided to the cats, or cat colony characteristics.
... In addition to providing cognitive stimulation, clicker training might also improve cats' adoptability. This is another important factor in their welfare, because an extended shelter stay impacts physical and mental well-being in dogs and cats [28][29][30]. One factor that appears to positively influence likelihood of adoption is perceived friendliness [31], so anything that can increase an animal's friendliness toward humans should be encouraged [32]. ...
... One factor that appears to positively influence likelihood of adoption is perceived friendliness [31], so anything that can increase an animal's friendliness toward humans should be encouraged [32]. Positive human contact has been found to increase approach behavior and decrease fear in dogs [33] and cats [28]. Environmental factors that reduce cats' general stress level also increase their approach behavior toward humans [34]. ...
Article
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Clicker training has the potential to mitigate stress among shelter cats by providing environmental enrichment and human interaction. This study assessed the ability of cats housed in a shelter-like setting to learn new behaviors via clicker training in a limited amount of time. One hundred shelter cats were enrolled in the study. Their baseline ability to perform four specific behaviors touching a target, sitting, spinning, and giving a high-five was assessed, before exposing them to 15, five-min clicker training sessions, followed by a post-training assessment. Significant gains in performance scores were found for all four cued behaviors after training (p = 0.001). A cat's age and sex did not have any effect on successful learning, but increased food motivation was correlated with greater gains in learning for two of the cued behaviors: high-five and targeting. Temperament also correlated with learning, as bolder cats at post assessment demonstrated greater gains in performance scores than shyer ones. Over the course of this study, 79% of cats mastered the ability to touch a target, 27% mastered sitting, 60% mastered spinning, and 31% mastered high-fiving. Aside from the ability to influence the cats' well-being, clicker training also has the potential to make cats more desirable to adopters.
... In animal welfare studies, it has mainly been measured in saliva (e.g., [9]) and feces (e.g., [10]), but also in milk [11]. Salivary sIgA concentrations were shown to react within 10-15 min after eliciting an emotional state in animals [9,12]. ...
... Although there are strong indications for an increase of salivary sIgA in response to positive emotions in humans (e.g., [16,17]), there are few studies in animals. Regarding a potential effect of positive emotions, sIgA concentrations in the feces of sheltered cats that had been stroked or whose behaviors were classified as positive were elevated [10,18]. To be able to interpret results on sIgA correctly, the circadian rhythm should be considered. ...
Article
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The focus of animal welfare science has shifted over the last decades from efforts to avoid negative states to ways of allowing animals the experience of positive emotions. They may influence physiological processes in farmed animals, potentially providing health benefits; in addition, the physiological changes might be used as indicators of emotional states. We investigated calves' salivary secretory immunoglobulin A (sIgA) concentrations with regard to a possible circadian rhythm and two situations that elicit positive emotions. Ten saliva samples of 14 calves were taken on two consecutive days; within the course of a day we observed a significant decline in salivary sIgA concentrations at 14:00 h. Further, we probed the animals before and after milk feeding and, contrarily to our prediction, detected lower sIgA concentrations 5 min after feeding than 15 min before. A probable explanation might be an increase in salivary flow rate caused by milk ingestion. We also took samples before and after we stimulated play behavior in calves. There was no significant difference in sIgA concentrations between samples taken before and after play. Although there was a significant correlation between the change in sIgA concentrations and the amount of play behavior shown, the correlation depended on an unexpected decrease of sIgA in animals that played little, and thus, does not support our hypothesis. In general, the data showed a large variability that might arise from different factors that are difficult to standardize in animals. Thus, the use of salivary sIgA concentrations as a marker of positive emotions in calves is not supported conclusively by the present data.
... In cats between 2 months and 3 years of age, the response to being held by a stranger seemed to be a relatively stable trait (Lowe and Bradshaw, 2002). In the shelter setting, regular petting led to decreased fear of humans in cage-housed cats (Gourkow et al., 2014) and positive vocal and tactile contact with humans reduced behavioural and physiologic aspects of the stress response in cats (Carlstead et al., 1993;Rehnberg et al., 2015). In addition, environmental factors that reduce the general stress level increase cats' approach behaviour towards humans (Stella et al., 2014). ...
... Although attitudes of shelter staff were not related to the results of the approach test, we found some evidence that a higher frequency of care is related to decreased fear of an unfamiliar person. Additional handling was already shown to increase tolerance of handling by an unfamiliar person (Hoskins, 1995) and another study found that petting shelter cats housed in cages for 10 min four times per day reduced fear of humans and overall anxiety (Gourkow et al., 2014). Higher maximum indoor space per cat and more hiding boxes in the outdoor sections of the pens were related to a higher proportion of cats allowing contact. ...
Article
One aspect of welfare that is measured in protocols used for the assessment of farm animal welfare is the human-animal relationship. The aim of the present study was to develop a ‘human approach test’ to measure the human-animal relationship in shelter cats and to investigate aspects of feasibility, reliability and validity of this test in a surveillance setting.
... The quality of care is a critical aspect of cat welfare in many facilities [15]. Various factors of shelter environment can be stressful for cats (different care routine, lack of a familiar/bonded caretaker, veterinary treatments, increased infectious pressure, the presence of other animals, inadequacy in terms of space or poor environment and overall lack of control over the environment) [16][17][18][19][20]. The intensity and number of negative factors may reflect the condition of the shelter; in many countries, the system for dealing with unwanted animals is complex, lacks comprehensiveness and the cooperation between the state (or state facilities) and private facilities is not functional; likewise, the level of supervision in various types of facilities is different, sometimes even completely absent. ...
... Emotional state and health are interconnected; a decrease in immunoglobulin A (S-IgA) secretion was found in stressed shelter cats [222]. It has, however, been proven that 'gentling' (gentle stroking of the head and neck area of the cat together with gentle vocalisation) at regular intervals can help improve the cat's mental health, increase S-IgA immunoglobulin production and thus reduce susceptibility to upper respiratory tract diseases [16]. Immunoglobin S-IgA is essential for protection against pathogens that may be inhaled or ingested [228] and are highly concentrated in shelters [229]. ...
Article
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At any moment, there are millions of cats housed in foster care facilities for abandoned and stray animals for various reasons worldwide. Care, management and regulation among these facilities differ. Moreover, shelters can never substitute the full comfort of a good home for the animal, and the welfare of cats in shelters is a subject of discussion in many respects. Cats are animals sensitive to changes; for most of them, placement in a shelter is a stressful experience because of changes in routine, environment and the presence of other animals. Stress is reflected in changes in behaviour, causes fluctuations in physiological values and disrupts the immune system, which is a predisposition to the development or reactivation of disease. Evaluation of the presence and intensity of negative impacts is possible through the use of evaluation tools based on indicators that help set the environment and management of keeping so as to disrupt the quality of life as little as possible. Although a comprehensive and valid welfare tool that would evaluate animal-based and at the same time resource-based (or management-based) indicators of cats in shelters is not currently available, it is possible to use partial evaluation of individual welfare indicators to assess welfare. This review aims to provide the readers with an insight into current options of assessment of the welfare of cats in shelters with an emphasis on behavioural, physiological and health indicators with an application in both practical and scientific contexts.
... However, in a study of IgA knockout mice (IgA-/-) generated by gene targeting, IgA was not required for prevention of influenza virus infection and disease, indicating that other Ig's may serve to decrease susceptibility to URD (Mbawuike et al., 1999). The small number of cats rated as frustrated upon admission in this study (15 cats out of 250, 6%) may suggest that the problem of frustration is not pervasive in admitted shelter cats, however, cats can become frustrated later during their stay even when rated as Content or Anxious upon admission (Gourkow et al., 2014a,b). Moreover, sparse reports of frustration in shelter cat studies may be due to the nature of this problem. ...
... A disrupted cage can also be an indicator of anxiety, however intentionally moving items around the cage to create a hiding area () mostly occurs at night and mostly in cats which are immobile during the rest of the day (McCune, 1992; Gourkow and Fraser, 2006). Although some frustration behaviors such as pushing the paw through the cage door or meowing persistently to attract attention may have some potential benefits, as it is a common criterion for selection of an individual for adoption (Gourkow and Fraser, 2006), these behaviors are indicators of poor welfare due to their strong correlation to bar biting, pawing, hanging upside down on the cage railing and attempting to open the cage latch (Gourkow et al., 2014a). Bar biting in particular, which has not been described in shelter cats previously, has been cited as indicator of poor welfare in sows (Edwards, 2010) and cattle (Wiepkema, 1984). ...
... Human voice can also be stimulating to animals, but only few studies have investigated its effect as auditory enrichment and its influence on shelter animals. Gentle stroking combined with human vocalisation ("high pitched gentle tone") were shown to reduce stress and promote mucosal immunity [19], to reduce the incidence of upper respiratory tract disease [19], and to decrease fear of humans in cats [5]. However, playbacks of human conversation did not change shelter dogs' behaviour [20]. ...
... Human voice can also be stimulating to animals, but only few studies have investigated its effect as auditory enrichment and its influence on shelter animals. Gentle stroking combined with human vocalisation ("high pitched gentle tone") were shown to reduce stress and promote mucosal immunity [19], to reduce the incidence of upper respiratory tract disease [19], and to decrease fear of humans in cats [5]. However, playbacks of human conversation did not change shelter dogs' behaviour [20]. ...
Article
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Reading books to shelter animals combining auditory enrichment with human presence is increasingly used although its effects on animal welfare have not yet been investigated. This study compared the behaviour of single-housed shelter dogs and cats during a prerecorded reading condition in the absence or presence of an unfamiliar human (without direct physical contact). Fourteen dogs and twenty-one cats were observed in their enclosure in the two conditions in a counterbalanced order. Behaviours such as scratching the door, gaze direction and location in relation to the audio source/human were analysed from video recording for 10 min per condition. Dogs spent more time in their bed (p < 0.047) and looking at the auditory source (p < 0.004) when a human was present. Cats showed door scratching and rubbing when a human was present (p < 0.043), whereas they tended to spend more time in the vertical dimension (p = 0.051), where the hiding boxes were located, during auditory stimulation without a human present. These results show that the presence of a human induces greater interest compared to just audio stimulation in shelter dogs and cats but may induce frustration likely due to not being able to physically interact in some animals.
... Interactions with humans can have a positive effect on socialised cats (e.g. Gourkow et al., 2014b), but not if handling is unpredictable (Carlstead et al., 1993). As presented, the observer had to stand inside the group-rooms to be able to observe the cats due to the layout of the rooms. ...
Article
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Assessing how cats cope with the housing and husbandry at shelters is an important part of maintaining good animal welfare. There are non-invasive methods to assess how cats cope with their environment. The aim of this study was to investigate the reliability of the behaviours used in an extended Stress Assessment protocol for cats to detect stress. Looking at which behaviours are salient and possible to observe accurately, and which correlate with time until adoption. The study was carried out at a non-governmental medium sized cat rescue shelter in Midwestern USA. The shelter had a no-kill policy with screening of cats before intake from county shelters. The observed cats were either group-housed in five rooms (n = 70) or singly housed in double cages (n = 13). Observations were carried out during both morning and afternoon sessions, during which two 1-min observations recorded if cats performed any of 85 behavioural elements (BEs). Time at shelter and if cats were declawed or not were collected from shelter records after the observations. Statistical analysis of the BEs that best predicted the total time at shelter was calculated using the Survival Analysis based on the Cox proportional hazards regression model using a stepwise regression analysis separately for each scoring. The median time at shelter for group-housed cats was 26 days (IQR = 6–54) and for single-housed cats 29 days (IQR = 7–97). In total, 24 % of the BEs (20 of 85) were never recorded, however there were significantly more BEs recorded in group-housed cats (63 BEs) than in single-housed cats (49 BEs, p < 0.05). The survival analysis found 16 unique BEs to predict “Short time at shelter” (14 BEs in group-housed, two in single-housed), 14 were positively correlated meaning that they increased the chance of early adoption and two were negative meaning that they decreased the chance of early adoption. The survival analysis also calculated “Long time at shelter” and found 14 unique BEs where 12 BEs were in group-housed cats and three BEs were in single-housed cats. Seven of these were positively correlated meaning that they decreased the chance of early adoption, whereas seven were negatively correlated meaning that they increased the chance of early adoption. The conclusion is that the extended Stress Assessment could be used to detect BEs indicating stress of cats at shelters, and that there are BEs that can predict shorter time at the shelter. However, further investigations could help reduce the number of BEs needed.
... During these periods, cat temperament can be assessed, and the viability of 'rehabilitation' procedures determined. For example, cats that experience extreme stress upon entering shelters may become less fearful of people with regular positive interactions (e.g., regular bouts of stroking and vocalizing to anxious shelter cats over 10 days increased contentment, mucosal immune defense and reduced the incidence of upper respiratory disease [105]). Consistent handling procedures and enriched housing can also improve likelihood of adoption (e.g., the same staff cleaning cages, etc. [106]). ...
Article
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Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) programs, in which stray cats are captured, neutered and returned to the environment are advocated as a humane, ethical alternative to euthanasia. We review the TNR literature in light of current debate over whether or not there should be further TNR trials in Australia. We revisit the problems arising from stray cats living in association with human habitation and estimate how many stray cats would have to be processed through a scientifically-guided TNR program to avoid high euthanasia rates. We also identify 10 ethical and welfare challenges that have to be addressed: we consider the quality of life for stray cats, where they would live, whether the TNR process itself is stressful, whether TNR cats are vulnerable to injury, parasites and disease, can be medically treated, stray cats’ body condition and diet, and their impacts on people, pet cats, and urban wildlife, especially endemic fauna. We conclude that TNR is unsuitable for Australia in almost all situations because it is unlikely to resolve problems caused by stray cats or meet ethical and welfare challenges. Targeted adoption, early-age desexing, community education initiatives and responsible pet ownership have greater promise to minimize euthanasia, reduce numbers rapidly, and address the identified issues.
... 34 A predictable routine of interaction can help cats to acclimatize to their environment; for example, regular positive daily interaction with humans, tailored to the cat's demeanor (anxious, frustrated or contented) has been shown to increase immunoglobulin A secretion and reduce the risk of developing upper respiratory tract disease in shelter cats. 38,[43][44][45] While not all these interventions are directly housing-related, housing can support stressreducing management practices; for instance, housing cats at human eye level to facilitate gentle positive interaction with staff and visitors. in turn, contented cats with stronger immune systems may withstand more pathogen exposure, permitting use of warmer, less expensive and more flexible housing materials instead of the surfaces required for the strictest disease control. ...
Article
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Practical relevance: Shelters and rehoming centres are a valuable tool in the population management and rehoming of cats. However, housing large numbers of a relatively asocial species in close proximity poses significant challenges. Well-designed accommodation enables improved standards of husbandry, as well as a better working environment for staff. This can have a significant benefit in expediting rehoming, as cats are healthier, and more likely to display natural behaviors and have positive interactions with potential adopters. Global importance: As cat overpopulation is such a widespread issue, cat shelters are common in many countries. This review will be of interest to those involved in the design and construction of cat shelters, and to those caring for the cats within them. The principles discussed also apply to boarding, breeding, research and hospitalization facilities. Challenges: Shelter housing poses substantial challenges in terms of maintaining positive health and wellbeing while sustaining adoption at an optimum rate. Disease control and biosecurity are typically facilitated by having a relatively barren, easily cleanable environment. However, this must be weighed against the provision of opportunities for cats to perform natural behaviors such as hiding, perching and interacting if they wish. A more enriched environment has also been shown to expedite adoption. Aims: This review, the first in a two-part series, discusses practical aspects of housing and shelter design for the health, welfare and adoption of shelter cats. Evidence base: There is a relatively small body of empirical evidence to inform shelter design recommendations. The recommendations in this article are based on a careful review of the available evidence, some of which has come from allied fields such as the care of experimental animals. Where evidence is not yet available, recommendations have been based on field experience and collective expert opinion.
... 5 However, with inhibited cats that won't eat in our presence, we start with classical conditioning using touch-based gentling techniques. 6 When a cat relaxes enough to eat, we begin clicker training to approach people-behavior with adoption appeal. 1,7 Subsequently, if needed, we use systematic desensitization and counter-conditioning (DS/CC) 5 to being lightly restrained and picked up. ...
Article
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Reducing signs of anxiety and fear while increasing species-typical behavior in hoarded cats surrendered to a shelter.
... In diesem Zusammenhang ist keineswegs nur an die (bauliche) Ausstattung der Ordination (wie etwa die räumliche Trennung von Wartezonen für Hunde und Katzen) zu denken, sondern auch an kurzfristig umsetzbare Maßnahmen des Managements (z.B. zur Verkürzung der Wartezeiten), an atmosphärische Details (z.B. den gezielten Einsatz von olfaktorischen Reizen) und an "soft skills" im Umgang mit den Patienten (z.B. tierschutzkonformes Handling) (DAWSON et al., 2016). Da die Minimierung von Disstress die Durchführung diagnostischer und therapeutischer Maßnahmen erleichtert und ein verbessertes Wohlbefinden des Patienten den Genesungsprozess günstig beeinflussen kann (GOURKOW et al., 2014), kommt diesen Maßnahmen auch für die Qualität und den Erfolg der medizinischen Dienstleistung zentrale Bedeutung zu. Schließlich kann eine am Tierwohl orientierte Beratung der Tierhalterinnen / Tierhalter die Lebensqualität der Tiere in ihrem täglichen Umfeld erhöhen und das Risiko der Entstehung haltungsbedingter Erkrankungen verringern. ...
Article
Zusammenfassung Der tierschutzkonforme Umgang mit den Patienten, ein kundenfreundliches Management und ein tierschut-zorientiertes Beratungsangebot für Tierhalterinnen und Tierhalter erhöhen den Standard der medizinischen Dienstleistungen und gewinnen daher in der tierärzt-lichen Kleintierpraxis zunehmend an Bedeutung. Da ein erhöhtes Wohlbefinden der Patienten beim Tierarztbesuch die Bereitschaft der Tierhalterinnen und Tierhalter zu regelmäßigen Konsultationen erhöht und den Genesungsprozess positiv beeinflusst, verbessern die genannten Maßnahmen auch die präventivmedizi-nische Versorgung und tragen zum Behandlungserfolg bei. Die in diesem Beitrag vorgestellten, auf Anregung des Vorstandes der Vereinigung Österreichischer Kleintiermediziner (VÖK) erarbeiteten Empfehlungen sollen praktizierende Tierärztinnen und Tierärzte da-bei unterstützen, den Schutz von Hunden und Katzen im beruflichen Alltag zu optimieren. Die Empfehlungen sollten zum Wohl der Patienten und ihrer Halterinnen und Halter, aber auch im Interesse des in der tierärztli-chen Praxis tätigen Personals in bestmöglicher Weise implementiert werden.
... This paper reports the results of behavioural treatment of the cats rated as Content upon admission (day 0). The effect of gentling on Anxious cats (Gourkow et al., 2014b) and cognitive enrichment on Frustrated cats (Gourkow et al., submitted) are reported separately. The Content cats were alternately allocated to either a Treatment (n = 47) or Control group (n = 49) immediately after the emotional rating (day 0), in order of admission to the study. ...
... The petition for a specialty in Shelter Medicine Practice 5 lists 'optimization of shelter animal behavioral health' as one of the major duties of shelter veterinarians. Previous studies have demonstrated links between physical and behavioral health in dogs and cats (McCobb et al., 2005;Tanaka et al., 2012), and have suggested that an emphasis on behavioral health can help prevent animals from entering shelters (Patronek et al., 1996a(Patronek et al., , 1996b, reduce stress and disease in shelter animals (Gourkow, 2001;Coppola et al., 2006;Gourkow et al., 2014), and facilitate adoptions (Gourkow, 2001). However, in this study, among the 15 tasks listed in the survey, shelter managers perceived the provision of expertise on animal behavior as the least important task for veterinarians. ...
Article
Veterinary services are increasingly used in animal shelters, and shelter medicine is an emerging veterinary specialty. However, little is known about working relationships between animal shelters and veterinarians. The aims of this survey were to characterize working relationships that shelter personnel have and want with veterinarians, identify opinions that shelter managers have regarding the veterinarians they work with, and determine areas for relationship growth between veterinarians and shelter managers. An electronic survey was distributed to 1373 managers of North American animal shelters; 536 (39.0%) responded. Almost all shelters had some veterinary relationship, and most had regular relationships with veterinarians. The proportion of shelters that used local clinics (73.9%) was significantly higher than the proportion that retained on-site paid veterinarians (48.5%). The proportion of respondents who did not have but wanted a paid on-site veterinarian (42%) was significantly higher than the proportion of respondents who did not use local clinics but wanted to (7.9%). These data suggest shelter managers valued veterinary relationships, and wished to expand on-site veterinary services. Almost all shelters in this study provided some veterinary care, and all respondents identified at least one common infectious disease, which, for most, had a substantial negative impact on shelter successes. Respondents indicated that the most important roles and greatest expertise of veterinarians were related to surgery, diagnosis and treatment of individual animals. Education of both veterinarians and shelter managers may help ensure that shelters benefit from the full range of services veterinarians can provide, including expertise in disease prevention and animal behavior.
... El movimiento de la cabeza, intentos de escapar o esconderse, vocalizaciones, posición de las orejas, tamaño de la pupila y el movimiento ocular, en conjunto con parámetros fisiológicos (FC, FR, T, PA, cortisol y glucosa) han sido rasgos adoptados para definir el nivel de distrés en gatos en consulta, encontrando alteraciones en dichos comportamientos y elevaciones en los parámetros mencionados (Cuadro 7). 23 Gourkow, et al. 64 clasificaron a los animales en ansiosos, frustrados o contentos, dependiendo de los comportamientos y posturas corporales observadas en gatos mantenidos en refugios. En los felinos del primer rubro se apreció una postura corporal baja, inmovilidad, y tendencia a esconderse y mantener el cuerpo cerca del suelo; los animales frustrados manifestaron maullidos persistentes y patrones repetitivos con lapsos cortos de agresión. ...
... Feeding enrichment, such as by the provision of puzzle toys filled with food, is furthermore valuable by reducing boredom [40]. Regular positive contact with caregivers, e.g., stroking, walking, presence of a human, are associated with reduced stress levels in kennelled dogs and cats [100][101][102]. ...
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A high proportion of dogs and cats are fearful during veterinary visits, which in some cases may escalate into aggression. Here, we discuss factors that contribute to negative emotions in a veterinary setting and how these can be addressed. The set-up of the waiting area (e.g. spatial dividers; elevated places for cat carriers), tailoring the examination and the treatment to the individual, considerate handling (minimal restraint when possible, avoiding leaning over or cornering animals) and offering high-value food or toys throughout the visit can promote security and, ideally, positive associations. Desensitisation and counterconditioning are highly recommended both to prevent and address existing negative emotions. Some negative experiences such as short-term pain from injections can be minimised by using tactile and cognitive distractions. Preemptive analgesia is recommended for known painful procedures. Recommendations for handling fearful animals to minimise aggressive responses are discussed. However, anxiolytics or sedation should be used whenever there is a risk of traumatising an animal or for safety reasons. Stress-reducing measures can decrease stress and fear in patients and consequently their owners – thus strengthening the relationship with the clients as well as increasing the professional satisfaction of veterinary staff.
... Acute stressors induce the secretion of cortisol; thus, cats might perceive the interception of social communication with humans as a stressful event. In previous studies, interaction with humans has positive physiological and behavioral effects on shelter cats (44,45). Our results possibly support the results of these studies from the perspective of hormonal change. ...
Article
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Research to assess the relationship between cats and humans is in a nascent stage. Some studies have assessed the stress status in cats using physiological indicators, such as the cortisol hormone, but have not focused on the social interaction with humans. Moreover, the role of oxytocin secretion in the relationship between cats and humans remains unclear. In this study, we determined the possibility of quantifying the urinary concentration of oxytocin in cats and assessed the effects of social contact with humans on the levels of urinary oxytocin and cortisol. Four cats were subjected to two conditions, namely social (control) and non-social (no social contact with humans) conditions. The levels of cortisol and oxytocin in urine samples from cats in both conditions were determined using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays. The urinary concentrations of cortisol and oxytocin under the non-social condition were significantly higher than those under the social condition. In addition, the concentration of oxytocin significantly correlated with that of cortisol in cats under the non-social condition. In this study, it was possible to quantify the concentration of oxytocin in cats’ urine, and the obtained results suggest that cats recognize the social interaction with humans as important. This information might contribute to the establishment of an assessment method for the welfare of cats and might help in clarifying the relationship between cats and humans.
... Promisingly though, recent research on dogs showed that increases in salivary oxytocin, a hormone associated with social bonding, were predicted by the extent of affiliative behavior between dogs and humans during a 10-min play session (Maclean et al., 2017). Furthermore, human interventions with cats displaying behaviors indicative of poor welfare led to increased fecal SIgA and lower incidence of upper respiratory disease (Gourkow, Hamon, & Phillips, 2014), suggesting either of these biomarkers in saliva may hold potential for improving understanding of the extent of human impact on welfare in diverse professionally managed settings. ...
Chapter
Animal welfare research strives to empirically assess how care and management practices impact the health and well-being of animals across diverse settings. This includes agricultural, biomedical, and companion animals as well as animals in professionally managed populations in zoos and aquariums. Tools developed for use with animals in professionally managed care may also have applications to conservation science, which is the interdisciplinary study and protection of biodiversity. Historically, interest in saliva arose out of a desire to find less invasive alternatives to blood that allow for near real-time monitoring of physiology and repeated sampling on shorter timescales. In the time since, applications for saliva have grown to include evaluating the response of animals to management practices and novel stimuli, reproductive profiling, and health monitoring. In this chapter, we emphasize the current state and challenges of implementing salivary research in animal welfare settings. Furthermore, we discuss how implementation of salivary research in zoos and aquariums for welfare purposes is facilitating novel research applications related to species conservation. Overall, our aim is to provide a critical examination of both the applications and limitations of salivary research to the fields of animal welfare and conservation science.
... Stress affects disease in domestic cats. Respiratory pathogen shedding and upper respiratory disease were higher in cats that responded negatively to being stroked after admission to a cat shelter than in those that responded positively [Gourkow et al., 2014]. Hair cortisol levels were higher in cats from which large numbers of Microsporum canis were isolated [Galuppi et al., 2013]. ...
Article
Adrenal gland weight (AW) and corticomedullary ratio (ACMR) are used as indicators of stress in animals. Captive cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) have higher ACMRs than free-ranging ones and stress has been linked to gastritis, amyloidosis, glomerulosclerosis, and myocardial fibrosis. We reviewed age, sex, body weight (BW), kidney weight (KW), and left AW and ACMR with necropsy findings in 51 South African captive cheetahs. Eleven common histopathologic lesions were counted for each animal as measure of its disease burden. Adrenal corticomedullary hyperplasia was significantly correlated with left AW and ACMR. Males had significantly higher AWs than females; other parameters showed no difference between the sexes. Disease burden, gastritis, and myocardial fibrosis were moderately correlated with adrenal morphology supporting prior evidence that gastritis and myocardial fibrosis are linked to stress. Glomerulosclerosis was not correlated with adrenal morphology and neither kidney nor liver amyloidosis contributed significantly to variation in AW or ACMR on multivariate analyses. Interstitial nephritis showed much stronger correlations with kidney and liver amyloidosis than gastritis. All three adrenal parameters were correlated with age; age was the only significant variable affecting ACMR on the multivariate analyses; and disease burden as well as systemic amyloidosis and kidney disease (except for fibrosis) showed moderate correlations with age. Age may, therefore, be important in the pathogenesis of disease in captive cheetahs, particularly of amyloidosis and kidney disease. None of the intrinsic measurements or adrenal parameters were sufficiently closely linked to disease to be used as ante-mortem proxies for disease burden or specific diseases. Zoo Biol. XX:XX–XX, 2016.
... Alternatively, if the cat is stressed out by the group dynamic, this could exacerbate the incidence of disease. Since one of the common diseases in shelters is Upper Respiratory Infection (URI) [29], which seems to be activated by stress [35,36], group housing presents an additional consideration when managing URI and other infectious diseases. ...
Article
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The merits of various housing options for domestic cats in shelters have been debated. However, comparisons are difficult to interpret because cats are typically not able to be randomly assigned to different housing conditions. In the current study, we attempted to address some of these issues by creating a retrospective matched cohort of cats in two housing types. Cats in group housing (GH) were matched with cats in single housing (SH) that were the same age, sex, breed, coat color, and size. Altogether we were able to find a match for 110 GH cats. We compared these two groups on several measures related to their experience at the shelter such as moves and the development of behavioral problems. We also compared these groups on outcomes including length of stay, live release, and returns after adoption. We found that while the frequency of moves was similar in both groups, SH cats were more likely to be moved to offsite facilities than GH cats. SH cats also spent a smaller proportion of time on the adoption floor. Length of stay and, live release and returns after adoption did not significantly differ across groups, however GH cats were two times as likely to be returned after adoption. Future research should look at the behavioral impacts of shelter decision-making regarding moving and management of cats in different housing systems.
... On our measures of searching behaviour, lions clearly responded to trials in which the familiar call did not match the familiar lion previously seen by spending more time moving and looking in the direction of the call before resting again. In addition, lions engaged in increased allo-rubbing with conspecifics following the incongruent trial, which may function as a stress-alleviating 'displacement' behaviour [13,14]. While other potential displacement measures did not differ between the treatments, it is likely that different species have different displacement signatures, and a wider Model parameters were generated using model averaging on the optimal GLMMs selected using corrected Akaike information criterion (models 1 : 3; electronic supplementary material, investigation of stress-related behaviours in carnivores would be an interesting topic for future research. ...
Article
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Individual recognition is considered to have been fundamental in the evolution of complex social systems and is thought to be a widespread ability throughout the animal kingdom. Although robust evidence for individual recognition remains limited, recent experimental paradigms that examine cross-modal processing have demonstrated individual recognition in a range of captive non-human animals. It is now highly relevant to test whether cross-modal individual recognition exists within wild populations and thus examine how it is employed during natural social interactions. We address this question by testing audio-visual cross-modal individual recognition in wild African lions (Panthera leo) using an expectancy-violation paradigm. When presented with a scenario where the playback of a loud-call (roaring) broadcast from behind a visual block is incongruent with the conspecific previously seen there, subjects responded more strongly than during the congruent scenario where the call and individual matched. These findings suggest that lions are capable of audio-visual cross-modal individual recognition and provide a useful method for studying this ability in wild populations. © 2016 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.
... Feeding enrichment, such as by the provision of puzzle toys filled with food, is furthermore valuable by reducing boredom [40]. Regular positive contact with caregivers, e.g., stroking, walking, presence of a human, are associated with reduced stress levels in kennelled dogs and cats [100][101][102]. ...
Article
Full-text available
A high proportion of dogs and cats are fearful during veterinary visits, which in some cases may escalate into aggression. Here, we discuss factors that contribute to negative emotions in a veteri-nary setting and how these can be addressed. We briefly summarise the available evidence for the interventions discussed. The set-up of the waiting area (e.g., spatial dividers; elevated places for cat carriers), tailoring the examination and the treatment to the individual, considerate handling (minimal restraint when possible, avoiding leaning over or cornering animals) and offering high-value food or toys throughout the visit can promote security and, ideally, positive associa-tions. Desensitisation and counterconditioning are highly recommended, both to prevent and ad-dress existing negative emotions. Short-term pain from injections can be minimised by using tactile and cognitive distractions and topical analgesics, which are also indicated for painful procedures such as ear cleanings. Recommendations for handling fearful animals to minimise aggressive re-sponses are discussed. However, anxiolytics or sedation should be used whenever there is a risk of traumatising an animal or for safety reasons. Stress-reducing measures can decrease fear and stress in patients and consequently their owners, thus strengthening the relationship with the cli-ents as well as increasing the professional satisfaction of veterinary staff.
... Some types of enrichment such as regular petting by the caretakers appear to be related to an improved physical condition in the shelters we visited. Petting and speaking to shelter cats gently may reduce stress and lead to better mucosal immunity (Gourkow et al., 2014a). ...
Article
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Background: Stress contributes to reactivation of feline herpesvirus-1 (FHV-1). The usage of pheromones to decrease stress in FHV-1 experimentally inoculated kittens has not previously been investigated. Hypothesis/objectives: To determine whether a feline pheromone would lessen stress, resulting in decreased recurrence of FHV-1-associated illness in kittens. Animals: Twelve 5-month-old, purpose-bred kittens. Methods: Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Kittens previously infected with the same dose of FHV-1 were randomized into 2 separate but identical group rooms. After a 2-week equilibration period, a diffuser containing either the pheromone or placebo was placed in each of the rooms, and the kittens acclimated for an additional 2 weeks. Every 2 weeks thereafter, for the 8-week study period, housing was alternated between kennel- and group housing. Blinded observers applied a standardized clinical and behavioral scoring rubric daily. After each 2-week period, serum cortisol concentrations and quantitative PCR for FHV-1 and glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH) ratios were evaluated. Clinical, behavioral, and laboratory test results were compared between groups within individual and combined study periods. Results: Sneezing occurred more frequently in the placebo group during individual (P = 0.006) and combined study periods (P = 0.001). Sleep at the end of observation periods occurred more frequently in the pheromone group during individual (P = 0.006) and combined study periods (P < 0.001). Conclusions and clinical importance: The findings suggest that the pheromone decreased stress, and the decrease in stress response may have resulted in decreased sneezing associated with FHV-1.
Article
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The ABCD has published 34 guidelines in two Special Issues of the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery (JFMS): the first in July 2009 (Volume 11, Issue 7, pages 527-620) and the second in July 2013 (Volume 15, Issue 7, pages 528-652). The present article contains updates and new information on 18 of these (17 disease guidelines and one special article 'Prevention of infectious diseases in cat shelters'). For detailed information, readers are referred to the guidelines published in the above-mentioned JFMS Special Issues. © Published by SAGE on behalf of ISFM and AAFP 2015.
Chapter
To optimize the health and well-being of companion animals, a robust understanding of energy and macronutrient metabolism in these species is necessary. Calorimetry is considered the gold standard for measuring energy expenditure (Q). This chapter examines the use of indirect calorimetry to quantify Q in companion animals and a summary of the published feline and canine literature is provided. As Q can be affected by a number of factors, especially environment, a discussion of the behavioural idiosyncrasies of cats and dogs are provided. To successfully achieve acclimation, behavioural idiosyncrasies of dogs and cats need to be considered and measures to adequately acclimate them to the equipment and handling associated with indirect calorimetry methodology should be utilized. Reports using calorimetry in cats have for the most part included details on behavioural acclimation, the feeding paradigm, and environmental factors and, in general, are in agreement. As a result, the range in published Q values is 124-250 kJ/kg body weight/d for fasting and post feeding and ad libitum food availability. In contrast, reports using calorimetry in dogs often lack any consideration of behavioural acclimation or understanding of breed differences, age, gender, body weight and condition, lean body mass, ambient and chamber temperature and relative humidity, feeding regime, and seasonal effects. As a result, the range in published Q values is considerable, 278-711 kJ/kg0.75/d for fasted and post-prandial resting Q. Future literature should include descriptions of acclimation, monitoring of stress responses, and consideration of other measurements of energy expenditure in addition to environmental conditions and animal characteristics.
Article
Mixing or regrouping of calves from different pens is a common animal management practice on the farm, which frequently occurs after weaning and has a negative effect on calve welfare. Social integration before regrouping may relieve stresses, but more evidences are needed to verify this hypothesis. The present study aimed to investigate acute physiological and behavioral variations of individually- or group-housed calves after being introduced into a mixed group. A total of 132 postnatal calves were randomly divided into groups of 1, 3, 6 and 12 animals (S, G3, G6 and G12; 6 replicates in each group) until 59 days of age. At 60 days of age, every two replicates from different groups (S, G3, G6 and G12) were introduced in a larger pen which containing 44 of the aboved experimental calves. Before and after regrouping, physiological parameters of stress, including heart rate (HR), saliva cortisol (S-CORT), saliva secretory immunoglobulin A (SIgA), interleukin-2 (IL-2), interleukin-6 (IL-6), tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) levels, and behavioral responses were recorded. After regrouping, HR and S-CORT increased immediately (P<0.05), and higher (P<0.05) levels of such molecules were found in S calves compared to group-housed calves. levels of SIgA and IL-2 were decreased (P<0.05), and the lowest (P<0.05) IL-2 values were found in S calves compared to group-housed calves. In addition, the introduced calves displayed a distinct behavior, including altered active and rest time, which was associated with negative emotions triggered by the novel surroundings. Allogrooming, play, exploration behaviors and lying time were increased significantly (P < 0.05) in group-housed calves than those of S calves. Conversely, self-grooming, aggressive behaviors, standing and walking time were increased (P<0.05) of S calves than those of in group-housed calves. These findings suggest that individually-housed calves may be more susceptible to stressors arising from regrouping than group-housed calves, which consequently negatively affected behavioral and neuroendocrine responses. Furthermore, moving calves with previous social experience may help mitigate regrouping stress.
Article
Despite the increase in popularity of cats as pets, there has not been a similar increase in the amount spent on feline veterinary healthcare. The stress experienced, both by the cat owner and cat, has an impact on the willingness of owners to bring their cat to a veterinary clinic. There are many ways veterinary clinics can minimise stressors, and even small changes can make a big difference for the cat and their owners, which strengthens the bond with the owner and increases the welfare of the cat.
Article
The rescue shelter environment is known to be stressful for domestic cats, which can lead to them becoming less active, playful and exploratory as well as spending a long time hiding. Early adoption can prevent long term stress in shelter cats, but adopters often look at behaviour and friendliness as criteria when choosing a cat to rehome. This study aimed to test the efficacy of a clicker training intervention to promote behaviours indicative of improved welfare and increase the potential adoptability of cats in rescue shelters. Twelve cats were clicker trained over two weeks their behaviour and response to humans was recorded before and after the training schedule. Cats showed significantly more exploratory behaviour, a decrease in inactivity and spent more time at the front of their enclosures after training. Four of the cats which failed the human approach test initially, passed it after training but this result was nonsignificant. Clicker training may be a simple and rapid way to improve welfare and adoptability in rescue cats.
Chapter
Domestic cats are felid members of the class Mammalia, order Carnivora, and family Felidae. Cats are obligate carnivores, and their nutritional requirements are largely provided by meat. Pet cats' social systems can be variable and flexible, with a complex range of behaviours that allow some cats to live in groups of varying size or alone. Cats can show a variety of responses to human company, ranging from aversion to enjoyment. Cats can suffer from many diseases including 'flu', fleas, and worms. Many viral infections can be fatal, including feline leukaemia, feline infectious peritonitis, and rabies. Cats seem to express few or subtle signs of welfare problems. This may partly be because of the lack of explicit signalling by cats and partly as a result of our inability to identify their behavioural expressions. A range of strategies can be adopted to tackle overpopulation; each one must be adapted to fit the local conditions and available resources.
Article
The veterinary profession is an ambassador for the welfare of animals, but the visit to a veterinary practice is in itself stressful for many animals. A multitude of recommendations how to reduce stress during a visit to the veterinarian is available, but they are often not implemented in practice. Therefore, the aim of this study was to survey veterinarians and veterinary students regarding their attitudes toward recommendations to improve cat and dog welfare in veterinary practice. We conducted 2 similar online surveys asking veterinarians and veterinary students to rate 20 statements about pet-friendly handling and practice environment and other measures to improve animal welfare on a scale ranging from 1 to 6 regarding their importance for animal welfare and their feasibility in practice. Single items were averaged to overall importance and feasibility scores. These scores and single items were compared between veterinarians and veterinary students using Mann-Whitney U tests. In general, the rating of importance was high and the overall score did not differ between veterinarians (N = 342) and veterinary students (N = 258) after correction for multiple testing (mean ± SD: 5 ± 0.63 vs. 4.93 ± 0.51, P = 0.046). The recommendations rated as most important were “dog ward: possibility to urinate/defecate at least 3 times a day,” “separate cats from dogs during hospitalization,” and “cat ward: provide hiding possibility.” Regarding feasibility, veterinarians had higher overall scores than students (4.82 ± 0.65 vs. 4.62 ± 0.48, P < 0.001). The rating of 9 single items was higher than that of veterinary students (P ≤ 0.001). Higher feasibility ratings in students were only found for the items “Advise owner on how to reduce stress during transport,” “use muzzle training with dogs and advise owner on how to do it,” and “report animal abuse to the authorities.” The items “separate cats from dogs in the waiting room” (3.63 ± 1.54), “exam table: let cats exit carrier on their own” (4.31 ± 1.42), “separate cats from dogs during hospitalization” (4.41 ± 1.67) received the lowest feasibility ratings by veterinarians. In conclusion, the greatest barriers for the implementation of recommendations aiming to increase animal welfare in veterinary practice seem to be related to constructional aspects or perceived time constraints. Furthermore, veterinarians might have experienced low compliance of owners to their advice and might find reporting of suspected abuse cases challenging.
Chapter
Separation from what is familiar coupled with exposure to an unfamiliar environment makes shelters particularly stressful for cats. Environmental enrichment can improve a cat's perception of their environment, resulting in a reduced stress response and improved well‐being. Careful consideration of how to employ enrichment effectively and efficiently is key to the success of any enrichment program. A standard program of enrichment should be provided for all cats, while a more diverse range of enrichment opportunities may be prioritized to meet the needs of individuals expressing certain behaviors or health concerns or that have longer projected lengths of stay. It is also key to assess the impact of enrichment efforts so as to continually optimize the quality of the program overall and its impact on the well‐being of each individual. Placing as many appropriate cats in foster homes as possible is likely to be the most effective enrichment strategy.
Article
The implications of stress and anxiety in long-term inpatients requires further investigation in the veterinary setting. The requirement for further evaluation of how to reduce patient stress is imperative to positive patient outcomes.
Article
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The quality of the animal-human relationship and, consequently, the welfare of animals can be improved by gentle interactions such as stroking and talking. The perception of different stimuli during these interactions likely plays a key role in their emotional experience, but studies are scarce. During experiments, the standardization of verbal stimuli could be increased by using a recording. However, the use of a playback might influence the perception differently than “live” talking, which is closer to on-farm practice. Thus, we compared heifers' (n = 28) reactions to stroking while an experimenter was talking soothingly (“live”) or while a recording of the experimenter talking soothingly was played (“playback”). Each animal was tested three times per condition and each trial comprised three phases: pre-stimulus, stimulus (stroking and talking) and post-stimulus. In both conditions, similar phrases with positive content were spoken calmly, using long low-pitched vowels. All tests were video recorded and analyzed for behaviors associated with different affective states. Effects on the heifers' cardiac parameters were assessed using analysis of heart rate variability. Independently of the auditory stimuli, longer durations of neck stretching occurred during stroking, supporting our hypothesis of a positive perception of stroking. Observation of ear positions revealed longer durations of the “back up” position and less ear flicking and changes of ear positions during stroking. The predicted decrease in HR during stroking was not confirmed; instead we found a slightly increased mean HR during stroking with a subsequent decrease in HR, which was stronger after stroking with live talking. In combination with differences in HRV parameters, our findings suggest that live talking might have been more pleasurable to the animals and had a stronger relaxing effect than “playback.” The results regarding the effects of the degree of standardization of the stimulus on the variability of the data were inconclusive. We thus conclude that the use of recorded auditory stimuli to promote positive affective states during human-animal interactions in experimental settings is possible, but not necessarily preferable.
Chapter
Feline infectious respiratory disease (URTD) is a very common cause of illness in US shelters, threatening the health and adoptability of individual cats and the entire feline population. Most URTD pathogens are associated with a similar array of clinical signs, including serous to mucopurulent ocular and/or nasal discharge, photophobia, sneezing, fever, inappetence or anorexia and submandibular lymphadenopathy. The main mode of transmission for all the major feline respiratory pathogens is by direct contact with infected cats that are actively shedding. The type of population being cared for, the housing environment, level of population density, length of stay (LOS) and other management practices can make important differences in the patterns of feline URTD pathogens that are likely to dominate. Antiviral drugs for feline URTD are directed against feline herpesvirus. LOS is frequently reported as the single greatest risk factor for URTD in shelter cats.
Article
This study assessed how sound affected fear- and maintenance-related behaviour in singly housed cats ( Felis silvestris catus ) in an animal shelter. Two daily 30-min observation sessions (morning and evening) were made for 98 cats from admittance for ten days or until the cat was removed. Cat behaviour and presence of sound (classified by the source) were recorded by instantaneous and onezero sampling with 15-s intervals. Each 30-min observation session was classified as 'quiet' or 'noisy' if the one-zero score for presence of sound was above or below the median of sessions at that time of day. To ensure that cats had at least two complete days of comparable observations, statistical analysis was restricted to the 70 cats (30 females, 40 males) present for two or more weekdays. Cats varied widely in the amount of fear and maintenance behaviour they performed. Males showed less fear and maintenance behaviour than females. Morning sessions consistently had much more sound than evenings, and cats showed more fear behaviour and less maintenance behaviour in the mornings. Cats showed more fear behaviour in noisy morning sessions than quiet ones, with no comparable difference in maintenance behaviour. Where sessions included a pronounced transition in sound, fear-related behaviour was more common after a transition from quiet to noisy and less common after a transition from noisy to quiet. The results show that shelter cats vary greatly in their responses and suggest that sound in shelter environments can substantially affect their behaviour. Lowering sound levels in shelters may help improve cat welfare.
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When incorporating therapy animals into clinical practice, there are essential ethical considerations that must be considered to protect the welfare of both the people and the animals who are involved in the intervention. The field of animal-assisted interventions (AAIs) and more specifically animal-assisted therapy (AAT) is just beginning to appreciate the critical role that animal welfare has in enhancing the quality of the entire process of working with a therapy animal. In this article, the authors will present ethical models that are incumbent for practitioners to consider prior to partnering with a therapy animal. Examples of how a speech-language pathologist (SLP) might work with a therapy animal will be integrated throughout the article to demonstrate applied awareness of how good welfare not only protects the animal but also the clients who engage in the intervention. Key aspects to consider at all stages of AAT will be described, including considerations of welfare as they relate to selecting and working with a therapy animal, preparing clients for AAT, and developing specific competencies as an AAT practitioner. Theoretical support for these recommendations will also be outlined, preparing AAT providers to not only incorporate the highest standards in AAT but to also serve as an advocate in championing these standards as the field develops.
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Research into cat behavior has gained more attention in recent years. As one of the world’s most popular companion animals, work in this field has potential to have wide-reaching benefits. Cats living in shelters are posed with distinct welfare concerns. Shelter cat welfare can be increased through use of environmental enrichment to promote natural behaviors. This review focuses on relevant literature published to date on shelter cat enrichment. Several key areas of research were identified. These included sensory enrichment, feeding enrichment, physical enrichment, social enrichment, and assessments to determine cat preference for enrichment stimuli. Existing studies have examined the efficacy of enrichment to promote species-specific behaviors and to reduce stress in shelter cats. Studies have also explored housing conditions for shelter cats such as cage size, communal housing, or the general quality of the environment. Applications of this information are discussed in order to promote natural cat behavior and find ways to increase the welfare of shelter cats. A review of the literature highlights the importance of supplying novel items in shelter environments, providing a rotation of individually preferred items, the use of human social interaction as a way to increase interactive behaviors in shelter cats, and the importance of considering potentially aversive impacts of enrichment under certain situations.
Article
Objective To review the sources, adverse effects, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of psychogenic stress in hospitalized human and veterinary patients. Data Sources Data were collected by searching PubMed for veterinary and human literature from the past 10 years. Human Data Synthesis Psychogenic stress has been linked to immune suppression; gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, and cutaneous diseases; delayed wound healing; alterations in pain perception; and neurologic impairment. Sources of psychogenic stress include environmental alterations such as excessive noise and light, social and physical factors, sleep disruption, drugs, and underlying disease. Nonpharmacologic options for stress reduction include environmental and treatment modifications, music therapy, and early mobilization. Pharmacologic options include sedation with benzodiazepines and dexmedetomidine. Trazodone and melatonin have been examined for use in sleep promotion but are not currently recommended as standard treatments in ICU. Veterinary Data Synthesis Activation of the stress response in veterinary patients is largely the same as in people, as are the affected body systems. Possible sources of stress can include social, physical, and environmental factors. No gold standard currently exists for the identification and quantification of stress. A combination of physical examination findings and the results of serum biochemistry, CBC, and biomarker testing can be used to support the diagnosis. Stress scales can be implemented to identify stressed patients and assess severity. Nonpharmacologic treatment options include low‐stress handling, pheromones, environmental modifications, and sleep promotion. Pharmacologic options include trazodone, benzodiazepines, dexmedetomidine, and melatonin. Conclusion The prevalence and clinical significance of psychogenic stress in hospitalized veterinary patients is unknown. Future studies are needed to specifically examine the causative factors of psychogenic stress and the effects of various therapies on stress reduction. The recognition and reduction of psychogenic stress in veterinary patients can lead to improvements in patient care and welfare.
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It is not known whether psychological stress suppresses host resistance to infection. To investigate this issue, we prospectively studied the relation between psychological stress and the frequency of documented clinical colds among subjects intentionally exposed to respiratory viruses. After completing questionnaires assessing degrees of psychological stress, 394 healthy subjects were given nasal drops containing one of five respiratory viruses (rhinovirus type 2, 9, or 14, respiratory syncytial virus, or coronavirus type 229E), and an additional 26 were given saline nasal drops. The subjects were then quarantined and monitored for the development of evidence of infection and symptoms. Clinical colds were defined as clinical symptoms in the presence of an infection verified by the isolation of virus or by an increase in the virus-specific antibody titer. The rates of both respiratory infection (P less than 0.005) and clinical colds (P less than 0.02) increased in a dose-response manner with increases in the degree of psychological stress. Infection rates ranged from approximately 74 percent to approximately 90 percent, according to levels of psychological stress, and the incidence of clinical colds ranged from approximately 27 percent to 47 percent. These effects were not altered when we controlled for age, sex, education, allergic status, weight, the season, the number of subjects housed together, the infectious status of subjects sharing the same housing, and virus-specific antibody status at base line (before challenge). Moreover, the associations observed were similar for all five challenge viruses. Several potential stress-illness mediators, including smoking, alcohol consumption, exercise, diet, quality of sleep, white-cell counts, and total immunoglobulin levels, did not explain the association between stress and illness. Similarly, controls for personality variables (self-esteem, personal control, and introversion-extraversion) failed to alter our findings. Psychological stress was associated in a dose-response manner with an increased risk of acute infectious respiratory illness, and this risk was attributable to increased rates of infection rather than to an increased frequency of symptoms after infection.
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Richard R. Orlandi, Todd T. Kingdom, Peter H. Hwang, Timothy L. Smith, Jeremiah A. Alt, Fuad M. Baroody, Pete S. Batra, Manuel Bernal-Sprekelsen, Neil Bhattacharyya, Rakesh K. Chandra, Alexander Chiu, Martin J. Citardi, Noam A. Cohen, John DelGaudio, Martin Desrosiers, Hun-Jong Dhong, Richard Douglas, Berrylin Ferguson, Wytske J. Fokkens, Christos Georgalas, Andrew Goldberg, Jan Gosepath, Daniel L. Hamilos, Joseph K. Han, Richard Harvey, Peter Hellings, Claire Hopkins, Roger Jankowski, Amin R. Javer, Robert Kern, Stilianos Kountakis, Marek L. Kowalski, Andrew Lane, Donald C. Lanza, Richard Lebowitz, Heung-Man Lee, Sandra Y. Lin, Valerie Lund, Amber Luong, Wolf Mann, Bradley F. Marple, Kevin C. McMains, Ralph Metson, Robert Naclerio, Jayakar V. Nayak, Nobuyoshi Otori, James N. Palmer, Sanjay R. Parikh, Desiderio Passali, Anju Peters, Jay Piccirillo, David M. Poetker, Alkis J. Psaltis, Hassan H. Ramadan, Vijay R. Ramakrishnan, Herbert Riechelmann, Hwan-Jung Roh, Luke Rudmik, Raymond Sacks, Rodney J. Schlosser, Brent A. Senior, Raj Sindwani, James A. Stankiewicz, Michael Stewart, Bruce K. Tan, Elina Toskala, Richard Voegels, De Yun Wang, Erik K. Weitzel, Sarah Wise, Bradford A. Woodworth, Peter-John Wormald, Erin D. Wright, Bing Zhou, David W. Kennedy. (2016) International Consensus Statement on Allergy and Rhinology: Rhinosinusitis. International Forum of Allergy & Rhinology 6:10.1002/alr.2016.6.issue-S1, S22-S209 CrossRef
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This study was conducted to compare the effectiveness of adding an intranasal vaccine containing feline herpesvirus-I and calicivirus to a prevention program consisting of a subcutaneous vaccine containing feline herpesvirus-I, calicivirus, and feline panleukopenia virus to prevent upper respiratory infections (URI) in a humane shelter. Ninety apparently healthy cats that had been surrendered or impounded were assessed at baseline for age, gender, spay/neuter status, breed, and vaccination history. Cats that appeared free of URI were alternately assigned to receive subcutaneous or subcutaneous and intranasal vaccines on the first day. Cats were observed twice daily thereafter at the shelter, or after adoption, owners were contacted to determine their cat's clinical signs. Cats were observed for a total of 30 days after vaccination. The overall incidence of URI in the subcutaneous group was 54.8% vs 30.8% in the group that received subcutaneous and intranasal vaccines; this represents a 51.8% reduction in URI. Multivariate analysis indicated a 76% reduction in the overall risk of URI development after adjustment for baseline characteristics (P = 0.01). Cats with no history of vaccination were 18 times more likely to develop URI (P = 0.003), purebreed cats were nearly four times more likely to develop URI (P = 0.04), and each additional day spent at the shelter increased the likelihood of URI by 5% (P = 0.0003). The reduced risk of URI was apparent both while the cats were in the shelter and after they were adopted. The use of the intranasal vaccine in addition to routine subcutaneous vaccination in this shelter setting decreased the incidence of URI in a cost-effective manner. Because the specific pathogens causing URI were not identified and the study was not randomized, further study is needed to determine the antigen components that should be included in an intranasal vaccine for URI and to predict its efficacy in different populations of cats.
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The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of introduction and interruption of an Enhanced Human Interaction Program (EHIP) on shelter dogs’ behaviour and welfare and to apply a novel statistical method to analyse the behavioural data. Twenty-two dogs, which were never subjected to similar programs, were studied. The EHIP consisted of walking and petting the dogs for 15min once a week. Dogs were divided into two groups: dogs participating in the program (EHIP, n=9) and control dogs receiving no such program but exposed to human visual stimuli (n=13). EHIP dogs started being walked on day 8 of the study and continued until day 42 when the walking schedule was stopped. Behavioural observations were performed by instantaneous scan sampling every 3min for 3h on days 1, 3, 8, 10, 15, 36, 38, 42, 57, 59 and 64. Hence three periods were identified: the first in which all the dogs were not walked, the second in which EHIP dogs were walked (subdivided into early interaction and late interaction phase), the third in which all the dogs were not walked. Data were analysed using the inferential multivariate nonparametric methodology called NPC (Nonparametric Combination) Test. EHIP increased the time the dogs were visible from the front of the pen and the time they were tail wagging (p
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A developmental study in domestic cats (Felis silvestris catus) examined the interaction of their early socialisation and the friendliness of their father and its consequences on their later friendliness to people. Kittens were either handled between 2 and 12 weeks of age (socialised) or received no handling (unsocialised) during this period. These kittens were the offspring of either a ‘friendly’ father or an ‘unfriendly’ father. When 1 year old, these cats went through a series of three experiments: (1) response to a familiar person; (2) response to a stranger; and (3) response to a novel object. Cats socialised or from the friendly father were quicker to approach, touch and rub a test person, were more vocal and spent a greater total time within 1 m of them. Differences in the cats' response to a novel object could not be accounted for by differences in early socialisation. However, cats from the friendly father were quicker to approach, touch, explore and remain in close contact with the novel object than were cats from the unfriendly father. The genetic contribution to friendliness towards people in cats was reinterpreted as boldness; a general response to unfamiliar or novel objects irrespective of whether or not the objects are people. The socialisation effect was specific to the cats' response to people. Socialised cats and friendly-fathered cats were not only friendlier to unfamiliar people but less distressed when approached and handled by them.
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The use of massage (as a potential form of acupressure) has long been documented as a human relaxation aid. However, little scientific research has been carried out into its potential use as a form of stress reduction in the horse. This preliminary study investigated the effect of massage at six different sites (thoracic trapezius [withers], mid-brachiocephalicus, cervical ventral serrate and cervical trapezius [mid-neck], proximal gluteal fascia and proximal superficial gluteal [croup], proximal and mid-semitendinosus [second thigh], lateral triceps, proximal extensor carpi radialis and proximal common digital extensor [forearm], proximal brachiocephalicus, proximal splenius and ear [poll and ears) on stress-related behavioral and physiological (heart rate [HR]) measures in the horse. Ten riding school ponies/horses were massaged at each of the six sites (three preferred and three nonpreferred sites of allogrooming (mutual grooming between conspecifics) and changes in HR and behavior were recorded. The results indicated that during massage, all sites except the forearm resulted in a significant reduction in HR (P < .05) with massage at the withers, mid-neck, and croup having the greatest effect (preferred sites of allogrooming). Massage at preferred sites of allogrooming also elicited significantly more (P < .05) positive behavioral responses compared with the three nonpreferred sites. The practical implications of this study are discussed.
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During their second or third day in public animal shelter, juvenile/adult dogs were exposed to a venipuncture procedure. Then the dogs were either not petted or were petted in a prescribed manner by either a man or a woman; 20 min later, a second blood sample was collected. There was a clear increase in cortisol levels 20 min after the first venipuncture in juvenile/adult dogs that were not petted, but not in dogs that were petted by either a man or a woman. Additional comparisons showed that the petting procedure also inhibited the cortisol response following venipuncture in puppies. However, petting did not reduce the cortisol response to housing in the shelter per se. During petting, dogs made few attempts to escape, frequently were observed in a relaxed posture, and panting was common in juvenile/adult dogs. When dogs were petted immediately following removal from the living cage, those petted by women yawned more often and spent more time in a relaxed, head-up posture. Together, these results indicate that a previously observed sex difference in the effectiveness of petters in reducing the cortisol response was not due to some difference in odor or other nonbehavioural stimulus quality of men and women. Subtle aspects of petting technique appear to have pronounced effects on physiological and possibly behavioural responses of dogs confined in a shelter. Petting may be an effective means of reducing the cortisol responses of dogs to other common aversive situations, such as routine medical examinations and vaccination procedures at veterinary clinics as well as shelters.
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Unmanipulated human-cat interactions in established relationships and in the common but very complex home setting are described and analyzed quantitatively. Fifty-one cat-owning Swiss families were visited in their homes. In a total of 504 hours of observation, the interspecific interactions of 162 persons and 72 cats were recorded. Quantitatively, the interactive behavior of both partners in a human-cat dyad increases with increasing duration of human presence at home: this independent variable is largest in adult women and smallest in adult men, while children and juveniles show intermediate values. Therefore, adult women are generally predestined to be the main human partner in human-cat relationships. Even so, when based on mean duration of human presence, effects of human sex and age can still be found for some human and cat behavior. Judged by the amount and reciprocity of interactions, woman-cat dyads have the best and juvenile-cat dyads the worst relationships. Cat behavior toward individual family members not only depends upon characteristics of the human (availability, sex, and age) but also upon characteristics of the whole family, such as family size and number of cats living in the household (negative correlation for both factors). Cat housing condition (indoor versus outdoor) appears to be unimportant in the human-cat relationship, although it affects the duration of a cat's presence at home. The results show the complexity of human-cat relationships in the privacy of the home. The list of factors shown to influence such relationships was increased by several variables. Thus, observation of unmanipulated interspecific interactions was useful despite problems inherent to most field studies.
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The aim of the present study was to explore possible correlations between dog owners' relationships with their dogs, as measured with the Monash Dog Owner Relationship Scale (MDORS), and oxytocin and cortisol levels in both the owners and their dogs. Ten female owners of male Labrador Retrievers completed the MDORS. The scores obtained from the single items, subscales, and total score of the MDORS were calculated. Ten blood sam-ples were collected from each dog owner and her dog during a 60-minute interaction. Blood samples were analyzed for oxytocin and cortisol by Enzyme Immuno Assay (EIA) and mean values of oxytocin and cortisol were calcu-lated in both owners and dogs. The MDORS scores obtained were correlated with basal and mean oxytocin and cortisol levels. The correlation analysis revealed some relationships between the scores of items in the MDORS that reflect the character of the dog–owner-relationship and the owners' hormone levels. For example, higher oxytocin levels in the owners were associated with greater frequency in kissing their dogs (r s = 0.864, p = 0.001). Lower cortisol levels in the owners were associated with their perception that it will be more traumatic when their dog dies (r s = –0.730, p = 0.025). The correlation analy-sis also revealed some relationships between the scores of items in the MDORS and the dogs' hormone levels. For example, greater frequency in owners kissing their dogs was associated with higher oxytocin levels in the dogs (r s = 0.753, p = 0.029). Six items in the subscale Perceived Costs, as well as the subscale itself, correlated significantly with the dogs' oxytocin levels (r s = 0.820, p = 0.007), that is, the lower the perceived cost, the higher the 215 Anthrozoös AZ VOL. 25(2).qxp:Layout 1 3/30/12 10:15 AM Page 215 dogs' oxytocin levels. In addition, significant correlations between the oxytocin levels of the owners and the dogs were demonstrated. Possible mechanisms behind these correlations are discussed. In conclusion, the scores of some items and the subscales of the MDORS correlated with oxytocin, and to a lesser extent cortisol, levels in both the owners and dogs.
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This is a descriptive study designed to correlate diagnostic real-time PCR results with histopathologic lesions in cats with clinical signs of upper respiratory infection (URI). The study occurred over a 9-month period in a single open-intake animal shelter. Cats that were selected for euthanasia by the shelter staff and additionally had URI were included in the study, for a total of 22 study cats. Combined conjunctival and oropharyngeal swab specimens were tested by quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) for feline herpesvirus type 1 (FHV-1), feline calicivirus (FCV), Mycoplasma felis, Chlamydophila felis, and Bordetella bronchiseptica. Necropsy was performed on all cats, and a complete set of respiratory tract tissues was examined by histopathology. Among 22 cats, 20 were qPCR positive for FHV-1, 7 for M. felis, 5 for FCV, 1 for C. felis, and 0 for B. bronchiseptica. Nine cats were positive for two or more pathogens. Histopathologic lesions were present in all cats, with consistent lesions in the nasal cavity, including acute necroulcerative rhinitis in 16 cats. Histologic or antigenic detection of FHV-1 was seen in 18 of 20 cats positive for FHV-1 by qPCR. No lesions that could be specifically attributed to FCV, M. felis, or C. felis were seen, although interpretation in this cohort could be confounded by coinfection with FHV-1. A significant agreement was found between the amount of FHV-1 DNA determined by qPCR and the presence of specific histopathologic lesions for FHV-1 but not for the other respiratory pathogens.
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In traditional sheep production systems, lambs are suckled by their mothers and then gradually weaned at 35 days of age. However, the increased size of intensive dairy sheep flocks to obtain greater amounts of ovine milk for cheese making, is promoting the diffusion of artificial rearing programs involving early separation of lambs from their mothers. Maternal deprivation soon after birth can have detrimental effects on lamb immune functions, and lead to altered cortisol secretion and behavioural responses to isolation (Napolitano et al., 1995). Human-animal interactions have been documented to play a role in sustaining the welfare and production of domestic animals (Hemsworth, 2003). In addition, gentled animals are less difficult to be handled and less susceptible to the stress induced by management practices involving human contacts (Lensink et al., 2000). The aim of the present trial was to investigate the effects of gently handling newborn lambs on their behavioural, immune and endocrine responses, and on their growth rate when mothered or artificially reared.
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A Y-maze avoid-avoid choice test was used to elucidate pregnant ewes' relative preference for electro-immobilization as opposed to restraint by a squeeze-tilt table. Choices in successive trials evaluating three commercial electro-immobilizers were: electro-immobilizer-13, 13 and 8% for respective models; squeeze-tilt table-79, 57 and 71%; and no choice-8, 30 and 21%. In all trials combined, 56% of the ewes never chose the electro-immobilizer after once experiencing it, while 94% did choose the squeeze-tilt table one or more times after being restrained by it. Most ewes became more willing to enter the table as experience with it increased, but those that had been both electro-immobilized and table-restrained became more hesitant to pass the test facility's entrance gate as these experiences increased. Ewes accepted a feed reward only reluctantly if at all after being electro-immobilized, but readily after table restraint. Electro-immobilization was clearly more aversive to the ewes than was restraint by a squeeze/tilt table. When restraint by either electro-immobilization or squeeze/tilt table is necessary, use of the table would be indicated in terms of its being less aversive.
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The behavior of captive felids is influenced by enclosure design and management regime. The behavior of nine felid species housed in 11 enclosures was recorded using instantaneous scan sampling. Stereotypic pacing was observed in 15 out of 19 individuals. Size of enclosure did not affect pacing behavior, but edges of enclosures were found to be used specifically for pacing behavior. Cats in relatively larger enclosures had a higher level of apparent movement, but only about 50% of enclosure space was used. Raised areas such as tree branches were found to be preferred sites in enclosures, particularly for observation of surroundings. The feeding regime was found to affect stereotypic pacing levels. Cats fed on a 3 day cycle paced more on fast days than on days they were fed. Although not statistically significant, 6 out of 7 of these cats paced more in the hour after feeding, whereas the cats fed daily paced more in the hour before feeding. Further research is required to understand the relationship between feeding and stereotypic behavior. Zoo Biol 16:71–83, 1997. © 1997 Wiley‐Liss, Inc.
Book
The past few decades have seen a virtual explosion of scientific research in the area of cognition, emotions, suffering, and mental states in animals. Studies in the field, laboratory, and clinical medical practice have amassed an overwhelming body of evidence demonstrating that mental well-being is of paramount importance in all aspects of animal care. There is no longer any reasonable doubt among researchers that mental health is of equal importance as physical health and animal well-being. Recent research convincingly shows that physical health is strongly influenced by mental states, thereby making it clear that effective health care requires attention to the emotional well-being as well as physical. Yet, for its vast importance, mental health in veterinary medicine has to date not been compiled and structured into an organized field or body of knowledge. This information, so critical to the formal establishment of the field of mental health and well-being in animals, remains scattered throughout a wide array of scientific journals. This book represents the first authoritative reference text bringing together the most up-to-date information in the variety of subjects comprising the field of mental health and well-being in animals. Bringing together a host of distinguished experts internationally noted in the fields of animal emotion research, animal behavior, cognitive science, and neuroscience, the book represents the first authoritative reference compiling the diverse information on the animal mind and combining the revolutionary advances in the cognitive sciences with the knowledge in veterinary medicine and clinical animal behavior. This book takes a descriptive and proscriptive approach to mental health, mixing the scientific research with practical information with clinical applications for veterinary health professionals to use in practice.
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Managing a hissing, spitting, or growling cat is no veterinarian's idea of an easy case. But helping owners uncover the source of their cats' aggression and treating the problem behaviors can improve both patients' and clients' quality of life.
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Much of what's been written about pain management focuses on physical pain, but emotional suffering can also influence an animal's health and quality of life. Here's a reminder to consider both types of pain when managing your patients.
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We tested the hypothesis that during their first week in an animal shelter, cats exhibit groups of behaviours that are connected to mucosal immune and adrenal responses. The behaviour of 34 cats was observed from admission to day 5 and immunoglobulin A (S-IgA) and cortisol were quantified from faeces. A multidimensional model constructed by Principal Component Analysis indicated the presence of three distinct behavioural dimensions. Behaviours forming dimension 1 were hiding, flat postures, freeze, startle, crawl and retreat from humans. These were significantly contrasted (R -0.6 to -0.4) to dimension 3 behaviours which included normal patterns of feeding, grooming, sleeping and locomotion, sitting at the front of the cage while calmly observing activities, sleeping or resting while lying on their side, rubbing on cage items and friendly behaviour towards humans. Dimension 2 behaviours included persistent meowing, scanning, pacing and pushing, together with bouts of destructive behaviour, attempts to escape and redirected aggression. Dimension 2 was not significantly contrasted to dimension 3 (R< -0.4 except for sleep = 0.6) or dimension 1 (R ≤-0.2). S-IgA values were greater (P <0.001) for cats clustered in dimension 3 (mean 7.1 ±0.5 loge μg/g), compared to dimensions 1 and 2 which were not significantly different (1: 5.6 ±0.6; 2: 5.6 ±0.7 loge μg/g). Cortisol values were similar for the three dimensions. Despite the difficulty in generalising the results to the shelter cat population due to small sample size, our findings suggest that behaviour is a good indicator of mucosal immune function in shelter cats. This may be of clinical significance for the management of upper respiratory disease in animal shelters.
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Sixteen domestic cats were used to investigate the pituitary-adrenal, pituitary-gonadal and behavioral consequences of an unpredictable handling and husbandry routine. After a 10-day baseline period of standard laboratory procedures, eight cats (‘stressed cats’, STR) were subjected to a 21-day period of altered caretaking characterized by irregular feeding and cleaning times, absence of talking and petting by humans, and daily unpredictable manipulations. Eight control cats (CON group) were maintained for 21 days on the standard caretaking schedule. Behavior was recorded on time-lapse video 24 h day−1, urine was collected daily for cortisol analyses, and hormone stimulation tests with synthetic adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) and luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LHRH) were conducted before and after the 3-week treatment period. Results indicate that the STR cats were chronically stressed by the altered caretaking routine. Urinary cortisol concentrations were consistently elevated throughout the 3-week period, adrenal sensitivity to ACTH was enhanced and pituitary sensitivity to LHRH was reduced. Active exploratory and play behavior was suppressed, and STR cats spent more time awake/alert and attempting to hide. Hiding was negatively correlated with cortisol concentration and, therefore, may be an important behavior for coping with uncontrollable and unpredictable captive environments. These results indicate that qualitatively poor caretaking is a potent psychological stressor for confined cats that may eventually compromise reproduction through behavioral or physiological mechanisms. To promote well-being, caged cats should be provided with appropriate places for concealment.
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INFECTIOUS respiratory disease in cats is a significant clinical problem. It is most commonly seen where cats are grouped together and especially in young kittens. Two viruses - feline herpesvirus (FHV) and feline calicivirus (FCV) - have been known for many years to be involved in the aetiology of feline respiratory disease while, more recently, other pathogens, such as Bordetella bronchiseptica, have also been found to be important. The role of other bacteria and mycoplasmas has not been fully established as yet. Chlamydophila felis is more frequently associated with predominantly conjunctival disease and, although upper respiratory tract signs may also occur, these are generally mild. This article describes some of the most important features of the three main respiratory pathogens, FHV, FCV and B bronchiseptica.
Article
We examined 250 cats at an animal shelter in the coastal temperate region of Canada to determine whether age, source, gender, and sterilization status influenced risk of shedding at intake, transmission of infection, and development of clinical upper respiratory disease (URD). On admission, 28% of the cats were positive for 1 or more infectious agent related to URD; 21% were carriers of Mycoplasma felis and < 3% were carriers of feline calicivirus (FCV), feline herpesvirus-1 (FHV-1) or Bordetella bronchiseptica. Chlamydophila felis and H1N1 influenza virus were not detected. Carrier status was not affected by source, gender, sterilization status, or age (P > 0.05). Viral and bacterial shedding increased by 9% and 11%, respectively, over 3 sampling times (days 1, 4, and 10). Over 40 days after admission, the cumulative probability of developing URD was 2.2 times greater for stray than owner-surrendered cats (P = 0.02) and 0.5 times as great for neutered cats as for intact cats (P = 0.03). Cats that were shedding at intake were 2.6 times more likely to develop URD than were non-carriers (P < 0.002). Cats with FHV-1 and B. bronchiseptica infections were most at risk compared with non-shedding cats (P < 0.01).
Article
When handled around nursing time during the first week after birth, the fear response of rabbits toward humans is reduced later on. But although this might be crucial for practical application, the duration of daily treatment necessary to achieve this effect was not known so far. In the present experiment, we investigated whether even a minimal human contact, characteristic of animal caretaking in intensive rabbitries, can reduce avoidance. Newborn New Zealand rabbit pups were exposed to one of the following handling treatments in the first week of life: (1) full handling, within 0.5h after nursing, which consisted of removing the pups of the nest and weighing them (about 5min/litter), (2) full handling performed 2h after nursing with a treatment similar to the previous, (3) routine check, within 0.5h after nursing, which consisted of touching the pups by the stockperson to see whether all pups were alive (about 5s/litter), (4) routine check, 2h after nursing. At 28 days of age, the timidity of the pups was measured in a 5min approach test. Pups that were handled within 0.5h after nursing, irrespectively of the duration of handling, appeared to be tamer as they approached the experimenter's hand with a lower latency and more times then those handled later. We conclude that, in an apparent sensitive period, even minimal human contact is effective in reducing avoidance of the caretaker. Thus, handling might be a useful tool to reduce stress and improve welfare even under intensive farming conditions.
Article
This experiment investigated the effects of positive and negative tactile handling on the stress physiology and behaviour of dairy heifers. Forty-eight 5–14-month-old nonlactating Holstein–Friesian heifers were allocated to one of two handling treatments, either positive or negative tactile handling, over four time replicates. Handling was imposed twice daily, 2–5min per session and involved moving animals individually along a 64m outdoor route.The negatively handled heifers took longer to approach within 1 and 2m of a stimulus person in a standard test, than their positively handled counterparts (P
Article
Grandin, T., 1989. Voluntary acceptance of restraint by sheep. Appl. Anim. Behav. Sci., 23: 257- 261. Four Suffolk ewes which had no previous experience with aversive restraining methods were mixed with twelve ewes which had experienced varying amounts of electro-immobilization and restraint in a squeeze tilt table. With successive voluntary passes, previously restrained ewes become more and more willing to be voluntarily restrained in a tilt squeeze table for a grain reward. Initially four ewes which had never experienced electro-immobilization entered the tilt table first. Six of the previously restrained ewes voluntarily entered the tilt table and were squeezed and tilted 6 times in a row without missing a pass. Less time was required to move each ewe during the last 5 passes compared to the first 5 passes.
Article
There is evidence that different gland areas in animals of the cat family have different functions. This study showed that nine cats gave more positive and fewer negative responses to petting by their owners in the temporal region (between the eyes and ears), the reverse to petting in the caudal region (around the tail), with the perioral (chin and lips) and non-gland areas intermediate. This suggests that cats prefer being petted in certain body areas. (C) 2002 International Society for Anthrozoology.
Article
Investigated whether socialization of the cat towards conspecifics and people influenced adaptation to 2 types of housing. Socialization in 169 rescued neutered 1–8 yr old cats was determined by 2 behavioral tests and a socialization questionnaire. Stress levels of the cats in the animal shelter single- and group-housing conditions were recorded by the non-invasive Cat-Stress-Score (M. R. Kessler and D. C. Turner, 1997). Cats non-socialized toward conspecifics (n-SC) were more stressed than cats socialized toward conspecifics (SC) in the group enclosure. During the 1st hr and on Days 6 and 7, n-SC cats were significantly less stressed under the single-housing condition. Other members of the group had a higher stress level when an n-SC cat entered the group. Among SC cats there was no difference in stress between housing conditions. Cats non-socialized toward people were more stressed than cats socialized toward people during the whole stay under both housing conditions. It was concluded that n-SC cats should be held under single-housing conditions. For SC cats, both conditions are equally recommended for stays of a few weeks. Shelter stays for cats not socialized toward people should be avoided. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
The behavior of captive felids is influenced by enclosure design and management regime. The behavior of nine felid species housed in 11 enclosures was recorded using instantaneous scan sampling. Stereotypic pacing was observed in 15 out of 19 individuals. Size of enclosure did not affect pacing behavior, but edges of enclosures were found to be used specifically for pacing behavior. Cats in relatively larger enclosures had a higher level of apparent movement, but only about 50% of enclosure space was used. Raised areas such as tree branches were found to be preferred sites in enclosures, particularly for observation of surroundings. The feeding regime was found to affect stereotypic pacing levels. Cats fed on a 3 day cycle paced more on fast days than on days they were fed. Although not statistically significant, 6 out of 7 of these cats paced more in the hour after feeding, whereas the cats fed daily paced more in the hour before feeding. Further research is required to understand the relationship between feeding and stereotypic behavior. Zoo Biol 16:71–83, 1997. © 1997 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
Article
Previous research has revealed that in some cats, predisposition to respond defensively towards rats emerges early in life, between 30 and 50 days of age, and persists into adulthood. The present study examined the generality of this defensive bias toward prey. Cats whose developmental history and defensive biases toward prey were known were exposed to 3 testing situations representing threats of differing degree: (1) a novel room; (2) a familiar human in a relatively novel environment; (3) recorded conspecific threat vocalizations. Measures of unwillingness to explore novel environments olfactorily, to purr during human social contact and readiness to adopt defensive immobility patterns of behavior in response to conspecific threat all correlated with defensive response to rats, and were found to distinguish between predatorily aggressive and non-aggressive (defensive) cats. It was concluded that there appears to be a defensive cat “personality” which emerges within the first 30–50 days of life.
Article
Despite the lack of validated methods for differentiating feral from frightened socialized cats upon intake to animal welfare agencies, these organizations must make handling and disposition decisions for millions of cats each year based on their presumed socialization status. We conducted a nationwide survey of feline welfare stakeholders to learn about methods used to evaluate and categorize incoming cats, amount of time cats are held before assessment, disposition options available, and the level of cooperation among welfare agencies to minimize euthanasia of ferals. A wide variety of assessment methods were described and only 15% of 555 respondents had written guidelines. Holding periods of 1–3 days were common, and cats deemed feral were often euthanased. About half the shelters transferred ferals to trap–neuter–return (TNR) programs at least occasionally. Results highlight the need for validated assessment methods to facilitate judicious holding and disposition decisions for unowned cats at time of intake.
Chapter
With an estimated 76 million pet cats in the United States and 200 million worldwide, there is an increasing interest in, and need to understand more about, the human- cat relationship. This chapter presents the growing body of research that evaluates this relationship from a variety of perspectives. It considers the history and importance of animals as companions, worldwide trends in pet ownership, physiological and psychosocial health benefits of pet ownership, the role of pets in families and their special role in the lives of children, and the difficulties people have in dealing with the loss of their animal companions. Particular aspects of the human-cat relationship are also considered, ranging from cat socialization and the effects of paternity and breed on social behaviour, through to observational studies of human-cat interactions in the home, including cat vocalizations, petting, and social interactions, both between cats and between cats and humans. Responsibilities of pet ownership are examined, including providing veterinary health care for the animals, and minimizing zoonotic disease and other health risks to humans. Failures of the human-cat relationship can also occur, and a number of examples are considered: animal abuse and animal hoarding, feline behaviour problems, pet relinquishment and abandonment and the growing problem of free-roaming, stray and feral cats.
Article
Grooming interactions (n=83) occurring in a group of non free-ranging adult neutered male (n=14) and female (n=11) domestic cats (Felis silvestris catus) were analysed. Grooming was not induced by the proximity (distance <=0.5 m) of another animal. Grooming was in general directed at the head-neck area. Higher ranking animals groomed lower ranking animals more often than the other way round. Groomers tended to adopt ‘higher’ (standing, sitting upright) postures than groomees (sitting, lying). Agonistic behaviour occurred in 35% of interactions. Groomers showed offensive behaviour more often than groomees, most often after grooming a partner. Furthermore groomers often groomed themselves after grooming a partner. The degree of relatedness of animals did not affect the frequencies or durations of grooming. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that allogrooming in domestic cats may be a way of redirecting (potential) aggression in situations in which overt aggression is too costly.
Article
The aim of this study was to determine how massage-like stroking of the abdomen in rats influences arterial blood pressure. The participation of oxytocinergic mechanisms in this effect was also investigated. The ventral and/or lateral sides of the abdomen were stroked at a speed of 20 cm/s with a frequency of 0.017–0.67 Hz in pentobarbital anesthetized, artificially ventilated rats. Arterial blood pressure was recorded with a pressure transducer via a catheter in the carotid artery. Stroking of the ventral, or both ventral and lateral sides of the abdomen for 1 min with a frequency of 0.67 Hz caused a marked decrease in arterial blood pressure (approx. 50 mmHg). After cessation of the stimulation blood pressure returned to the control level within 1 min. The maximum decrease in blood pressure was achieved at frequencies of 0.083 Hz or more. Stroking only the lateral sides of the abdomen elicited a significantly smaller decrease in blood pressure (approx. 30 mmHg decrease) than stroking the ventral side. The decrease in blood pressure caused by stroking was not altered by s.c. administration of an oxytocin antagonist (1-deamino-2-d-Tyr-(Oet)-4-Thr-8-Orn-oxytocin, 1 mg/kg) directed against the uterine receptor. In contrast, the administration of 0.1 mg/kg of oxytocin diminished the effect, which was antagonized by a simultaneous injection of the oxytocin antagonist. These results indicate that the massage-like stroking of the abdomen decreases blood pressure in anesthetized rats. This effect does not involve intrinsic oxytocinergic transmission. However, since exogenously applied oxytocin was found to diminish the effect of stroking, oxytocin may exert an inhibitory modulatory effect on this reflex arc.
Article
Approximately 3–4 million dogs are housed annually in USA shelters. This study evaluated the effects of basic obedience training and environmental alterations on adoption rate of shelter dogs. One hundred and eighty dogs, 87 females and 93 males, passed through the one shelter during the 8 weeks of the experiment. They ranged in age from 10 weeks to 7 years (Mean 1.6 years, S.D. 1.5 years). Seventy percent were neutered before being put up for adoption. Almost 80% were considered to be of mixed breed. The dogs were randomly assigned to a trained or control group. Dogs in the trained group were trained once a day, during which they were desensitized to wearing a head halter, taught to come forward in the cage when approached, to walk on a leash, to sit on command and not jump up on people.
Article
This study was undertaken to examine and reduce the stress and aggressiveness associated with fear of handling in laboratory cats (Felis sylvestris catus). Thirteen litters of kittens from a specific pathogen-free breeding colony were divided into three treatment groups: two were early weaned, removed from the colony and caged individually with or without handling up to 8 weeks of age, and the third served as a control group, removed from the colony just before testing. Behavior tests measuring degree of friendliness to humans and response to physical restraint were performed at ages 8, 12, 16, and 20 weeks. Serum cortisol concentrations were measured after each test. Results indicate that litter and sire influenced tractability but that handling or individual caging of kittens did not. Posttest serum cortisol concentrations were below normal adult levels in most kittens, including those reacting fearfully during testing and aggressively during restraint, and, therefore, are not a reliable indicator of stress in juvenile cats.
Article
Feline handling in the veterinary hospital is important to protect both people and cats. Restraint has been used to enable us to perform our duties as veterinarians. With increased knowledge of feline behavior and how cats react to fear, newer information provides us with safer handling techniques. With safer and more respectful handling based on understanding the nature of cats and their communication, we can improve feline health care in our hospitals, the human-animal-veterinarian bond, and the welfare of both cats and people. This article explains important aspects of feline communication and how our actions affect cats. By understanding the cat, we can improve our handling techniques to prevent fear and pain for our feline patients, and thus make our veterinary practices more feline friendly and safer for our clients, their cats, and veterinary staff.
Article
Stereotypic behaviours are common in animals in impoverished housing, arising from two complementary processes: (1) thwarted attempts to perform motivated behaviours; (2) forebrain dysfunction impeding normal behavioural inhibition. When enriched animals are moved to impoverished housing, they are sometimes protected against developing stereotypic behaviour, but in other cases become even more stereotypic than animals housed lifelong without enrichment. Negative contrast-induced frustration must occur in both scenarios. We hypothesise that sustained behavioural responses to this frustration are prevented in the former by normalised forebrain function, but exacerbated in the latter by forebrain dysfunction. ICRCD-1 mice reared in enriched or standard cages were re-caged at 3 months to standard conditions. Here, previously-enriched mice became far more stereotypic than mice reared from birth in such conditions. To investigate the role of frustration, we assessed both corticosterone output and motivation (break-point) to regain enrichments. We also assessed perseveration via extinction learning. As predicted, previously-enriched mice were as perseverative as standard-raised mice, and frustration seemed to play a causal role in their exacerbated stereotypic behaviour. Previously-enriched mice showed higher motivations to access enrichments, and only in this group did these correlate with corticosterone levels after re-caging; furthermore only in previously-enriched mice did corticosterone responses to re-caging predict stereotypic behaviour 30 days later (males only). All results need replicating and further investigation. However, they suggest for the first time that individual risk factors related to the HPA axis predict stereotypic behaviour following enrichment-removal, and that previously-enriched mice have lasting motivational differences from standard-raised mice, suggesting sustained behavioural effects related to the frustration of enrichment-loss.
Article
Practical relevance: Long-term pain in cats is an important welfare issue but is often overlooked and undertreated. Audience: All practitioners are faced with cats that require analgesic intervention to improve their quality of life. Patient group: Any cat may potentially experience long-term pain and discomfort. Degenerative joint disease and diabetic-related pain is more common in middle-aged or older individuals, whereas persistent postsurgical pain can occur at any age and is seen in young cats following onychectomy. Evidence base: Robust evidence on long-term pain issues in cats - specifically, relating to prevalence, etiology, and treatment protocols and outcomes - is missing from the veterinary literature. The aim of this review is to summarise the current state of knowledge. In doing so, it takes a practical approach, highlighting the obvious, and some not so obvious, causes of long-term pain in cats; some aspects that warrant closer attention; our ability to recognize pain and monitor how this impacts on quality of life; and today's treatment options.
Article
Any matrix of rank two can be displayed as a biplot which consists of a vector for each row and a vector for each column, chos