Article

Will a hiding box provide stress reduction for shelter cats?

Authors:
To read the full-text of this research, you can request a copy directly from the authors.

No full-text available

Request Full-text Paper PDF

To read the full-text of this research,
you can request a copy directly from the authors.

... In 2017, cat fans took to Twitter to document their cats' attraction to tight spaces by taping complete shape outlines on their floors and observing their cats sit inside, spurring over eighty-two-thousand retweets and trending hashtag #CatSquare (Fig. 1). Affectionately termed "if I fits I sits," the urge to inhabit enclosed spaces is well-known to cat owners and has been documented to decrease stress in laboratory cats (Carlstead et al., 1993) and shelter cats given boxes in which to hide (Hawkins, 2005;Kry and Casey, 2007;Vinke et al., 2014). In fact, cats deprived of shelter resources like boxes will attempt to manufacture their own by hiding behind or underneath box-like objects like litter pans (Gourkow and Fraser, 2006). ...
... Specifically, we evaluate whether cats will sit or stand within the contours of an illusory Kanizsa square more often than a control stimulus in a spontaneous choice task. Importantly, to date, cats' attraction to enclosed spaces has been limited to 3D spaces (Carlstead et al., 1993;Gourkow and Fraser, 2006;Hawkins, 2005;Kry and Casey, 2007;Vinke et al., 2014), and thus this study also aims to formally examine the extension of this behavior to 2D shapes (such as that which was seen in the #CatSquare challenge). This study was conducted entirely remotely through citizen science engagement during the COVID-19 pandemic, and to the best of our knowledge, is the first published citizen science experiment to examine cat cognition. ...
... The Kanizsa square illusion, rather than the classic Kanizsa triangle (Kanizsa, 1955(Kanizsa, , 1974, was chosen for consistency with the Bravo et al. (1988) study. In order to avoid priming subjects to the experimental square stimuli (for effects of exposure to visual tasks on visual perception in cats, see Hua et al., 2010;Sasaki et al., 2010), as well as the evidence for cats' high motivation to sit in enclosed spaces (Gourkow and Fraser, 2006;Hawkins, 2005;Kry and Casey, 2007;Vinke et al., 2014), this study chose not to include a phase of initial baseline trials as control for the cats' general attraction to square stimuli. ...
Article
A well-known phenomenon to cat owners is the tendency of their cats to sit in enclosed spaces such as boxes, laundry baskets, and even shape outlines taped on the floor. This investigative study asks whether domestic cats (Felis silvestris catus) are also susceptible to sitting in enclosures that are illusory in nature, utilizing cats’ attraction to box-like spaces to assess their perception of the Kanizsa square visual illusion. Carried out during the COVID-19 pandemic, this study randomly assigned citizen science participants Booklets of six randomized, counterbalanced daily stimuli to print out, prepare, and place on the floor in pairs. Owners observed and videorecorded their cats’ behavior with the stimuli and reported findings from home over the course of the six daily trials. This study ultimately reached over 500 pet cats and cat owners, and of those, 30 completed all of the study’s trials. Of these, nine cat subjects selected at least one stimulus by sitting within the contours (illusory or otherwise) with all limbs for at least three seconds. This study revealed that cats selected the Kanizsa illusion just as often as the square and more often than the control, indicating that domestic cats may treat the subjective Kanizsa contours as they do real contours. Given the drawbacks of citizen science projects such as participant attrition, future research would benefit from replicating this study in controlled settings. To the best of our knowledge, this investigation is the first of its kind in three regards: a citizen science study of cat cognition; a formal examination into cats’ attraction to 2D rather than 3D enclosures; and study into cats’ susceptibility to illusory contours in an ecologically relevant paradigm. This study demonstrates the potential of more ecologically valid study of pet cats, and more broadly provides an interesting new perspective into cat visual perception research.
... In 2017, cat fans took to Twitter to document their cats' attraction to tight spaces by taping complete shape outlines on their floors and observing their cats sit inside, spurring over eighty-two-thousand retweets and trending hashtag #CatSquare (Fig. 1). Affectionately termed "if I fits I sits," the urge to inhabit enclosed spaces is well-known to cat owners and has been documented to decrease stress in laboratory cats (Carlstead et al., 1993) and shelter cats given boxes in which to hide (Hawkins, 2005;Kry and Casey, 2007;Vinke et al., 2014). In fact, cats deprived of shelter resources like boxes will attempt to manufacture their own by hiding behind or underneath box-like objects like litter pans (Gourkow and Fraser, 2006). ...
... Specifically, we evaluate whether cats will sit or stand within the contours of an illusory Kanizsa square more often than a control stimulus in a spontaneous choice task. Importantly, to date, cats' attraction to enclosed spaces has been limited to 3D spaces (Carlstead et al., 1993;Gourkow and Fraser, 2006;Hawkins, 2005;Kry and Casey, 2007;Vinke et al., 2014), and thus this study also aims to formally examine the extension of this behavior to 2D shapes (such as that which was seen in the #CatSquare challenge). This study was conducted entirely remotely through citizen science engagement during the COVID-19 pandemic, and to the best of our knowledge, is the first published citizen science experiment to examine cat cognition. ...
... The Kanizsa square illusion, rather than the classic Kanizsa triangle (Kanizsa, 1955(Kanizsa, , 1974, was chosen for consistency with the Bravo et al. (1988) study. In order to avoid priming subjects to the experimental square stimuli (for effects of exposure to visual tasks on visual perception in cats, see Hua et al., 2010;Sasaki et al., 2010), as well as the evidence for cats' high motivation to sit in enclosed spaces (Gourkow and Fraser, 2006;Hawkins, 2005;Kry and Casey, 2007;Vinke et al., 2014), this study chose not to include a phase of initial baseline trials as control for the cats' general attraction to square stimuli. ...
... In 2017, cat fans took to Twitter to document their cats' attraction to tight spaces by taping complete shape outlines on their floors and observing their cats sit inside, spurring over eighty-two-thousand retweets and trending hashtag #CatSquare (Fig. 1). Affectionately termed "if I fits I sits," the urge to inhabit enclosed spaces is well-known to cat owners and has been documented to decrease stress in laboratory cats (Carlstead et al., 1993) and shelter cats given boxes in which to hide (Hawkins, 2005;Kry and Casey, 2007;Vinke et al., 2014). In fact, cats deprived of shelter resources like boxes will attempt to manufacture their own by hiding behind or underneath box-like objects like litter pans (Gourkow and Fraser, 2006). ...
... Specifically, we evaluate whether cats will sit or stand within the contours of an illusory Kanizsa square more often than a control stimulus in a spontaneous choice task. Importantly, to date, cats' attraction to enclosed spaces has been limited to 3D spaces (Carlstead et al., 1993;Gourkow and Fraser, 2006;Hawkins, 2005;Kry and Casey, 2007;Vinke et al., 2014), and thus this study also aims to formally examine the extension of this behavior to 2D shapes (such as that which was seen in the #CatSquare challenge). This study was conducted entirely remotely through citizen science engagement during the COVID-19 pandemic, and to the best of our knowledge, is the first published citizen science experiment to examine cat cognition. ...
... The Kanizsa square illusion, rather than the classic Kanizsa triangle (Kanizsa, 1955(Kanizsa, , 1974, was chosen for consistency with the Bravo et al. (1988) study. In order to avoid priming subjects to the experimental square stimuli (for effects of exposure to visual tasks on visual perception in cats, see Hua et al., 2010;Sasaki et al., 2010), as well as the evidence for cats' high motivation to sit in enclosed spaces (Gourkow and Fraser, 2006;Hawkins, 2005;Kry and Casey, 2007;Vinke et al., 2014), this study chose not to include a phase of initial baseline trials as control for the cats' general attraction to square stimuli. ...
... This may elicit clinical signs, such as hiding behaviour, defecating and urinating outside the litter box, decreased grooming or over-grooming behaviour and a loss of appetite [2,[6][7][8][9]. Stressinduced long-term high cortisol levels can reduce the efficacy of the immune system against infectious diseases [1,6,7,9,10,11], and chronic stress can therefore harm a cat's health [6,8,12,13]. ...
... Several studies show that stressed cats display increased alert resting behaviour behind their litter box in an environment without hiding opportunities [12,18,19]. This is interpreted as alternative hiding behaviour for it offers some concealment [12,18]. ...
... Several studies show that stressed cats display increased alert resting behaviour behind their litter box in an environment without hiding opportunities [12,18,19]. This is interpreted as alternative hiding behaviour for it offers some concealment [12,18]. Real concealment can be offered by providing a hiding box to shelter cats. ...
Article
Full-text available
While staying in an animal shelter, cats may suffer from chronic stress which impairs their health and welfare. Providing opportunities to hide can significantly reduce behavioural stress in cats, but confirmation with physical parameters is needed. Therefore, the aim of this study was to determine the effect of a hiding box on behavioural stress levels (scored by means of the Cat-Stress-Score) and a physical parameter, namely body weight, during the first 12 days in quarantine for cats newly arrived cats at a Dutch animal shelter. Twenty-three cats between 1 and 10 years of age were randomly divided between the experimental (N = 12) and control group (N = 11) with and without a hiding box. Stress levels were assessed on days 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 9 and 12 according to the non-invasive Cat-Stress-Score (CSS). Body weights were measured on days 0, 7 and 12. Finally, adoption rates and length of stay (LOS) were determined. Major findings of the study are: (1) the mean Cat-Stress-Score decreased with time for all cats, but cats with a hiding box showed a significant faster decrease in the CSS, reaching a lower CSS-steady state seven days earlier than the control group; (2) nearly all cats in both groups lost significant body weight during the first two weeks; (3) hiding boxes did not significantly influence weight loss; (4) no differences were found in the adoption rates and the LOS between both groups. Hiding enrichment reduces behavioural stress in shelter cats during quarantine situations and can therefore be a relatively simple aid to shelter adaptation. It offers no prevention however against feline weight loss, which indicates a serious health risk for shelter cats.
... Generally, most studies used the mean of at least two scores per recording, although Broadley et al. (2014) and Chadwin et al. (2017), utilised only one. Vinke et al. (2014) used four CSS measurements taken within 20 min to form an average. McCobb et al. (2005) recorded two scores, but after an interval of 'at least 15 min', suggesting the interval times may have varied. ...
... Cats displaying evidence of stress utilise hiding opportunities more Rehnberg et al., 2015;Stella et al., 2014Stella et al., , 2017. Cats with hiding enrichment displayed more rapidly declining CSS than those without Vinke et al., 2014). Cats with hiding enrichment were observed to spend more time inactive compared to control groups de Oliveira et al., 2015), indicating they were more comfortable within their own environment. ...
... Hiding motivation was explored by comparing comfortable resting spots to hiding areas by Vinke et al. (2014). When provided, hiding boxes were the most utilised area, leading the authors to conclude that hiding boxes are not just comfortable, but have a 'main concealing function'. ...
Article
Cats are one of the world’s most populous companion animals, yet little is known about how the home environment is adapted relative to their needs. Outdoor access is thought to be beneficial for both the physical and mental wellbeing of cats, yet as urbanisation increases, reducing owner access to outdoor spaces, an increasing number of cats are kept strictly indoors. The impact of an indoor lifestyle on feline behaviour and welfare is little explored and poorly understood. This study used a systematic review to assess scientifically validated knowledge concerning social and physical environments and their implications for indoor cats. A total of 61 papers were analysed. Only n = 21 papers directly addressed at-home indoor scenarios with the remainder consisting of shelter/cattery (n = 27) or laboratory (n = 16) (some papers explored multiple environments). Across studies there was little evidence of rigour or systematically controlled approaches. Methods frequently used were cat-stress-scores (CSS) and ethograms, neither of which were consistently standardised, substantially reducing the ability to compare findings among studies. Numerous studies explored similar variables (i.e. provision of hiding space (n = 9)) yielding little additional knowledge. Measures of welfare and behaviour were often assessed using single parameters in controlled environments. Although this may be useful and applicable to cat experiences within shelters, catteries and laboratories, the findings do not necessarily translate to dynamic and variable household environments. Major findings include the benefits of enrichment such as hiding boxes and vertical resting spaces, as often recommended by veterinarians and feline charities. However, other advice provided, such as the provision of feeding enrichment for psychological welfare, although not necessarily disputed, appears to be scientifically untested. Additionally, despite the social environment being likely to have a substantial effect on cat welfare, it is particularly under-studied in the home, especially in terms of its complexity (e.g. presence of young children or dogs). Overall, the review identified substantial gaps relative to cat experiences and welfare in multifactorial home environments. Understanding the impact of indoor lifestyles and promoting mechanisms to minimise any negative impacts whilst promoting positive ones, remains an important, yet underexplored, area of research.
... Shelters can be a highly stressful environment for dogs and cats due to the disruption of former social relationships, social isolation, confinement, exposure to unfamiliar humans and animals and unpredictable events [1,2]. This situation is typically stressful for dogs and cats, as shown by elevated levels of cortisol [3][4][5]. Environmental enrichment can be an effective way to improve the welfare of these animals by mitigating the effect of stress caused by the shelter conditions [4,6]. Enrichment in shelters can come in different forms and includes animate enrichment, such as contact with humans or conspecifics, and inanimate enrichment, such as altering the physical environment around the animals by providing objects to play with or sensory enrichment like auditory and olfactory stimulation [7][8][9][10]. ...
... This situation is typically stressful for dogs and cats, as shown by elevated levels of cortisol [3][4][5]. Environmental enrichment can be an effective way to improve the welfare of these animals by mitigating the effect of stress caused by the shelter conditions [4,6]. Enrichment in shelters can come in different forms and includes animate enrichment, such as contact with humans or conspecifics, and inanimate enrichment, such as altering the physical environment around the animals by providing objects to play with or sensory enrichment like auditory and olfactory stimulation [7][8][9][10]. ...
... In this experiment, all dogs except one were provided with plastic dog beds having rather high side walls. Like a litter box, this could provide a retreat for dogs experiencing fear in the presence of the human, as was shown for shelter cats that attempt to hide in or behind their litter box if no other hiding enrichment is provided [4]. However, the dogs did not show a backwards ear position for longer during the presence of the human. ...
Article
Full-text available
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.
... • Ausstattung: Rückzugsbereiche: Werden Katzen geeignete Rückzugsmöglichkeiten angeboten, so senkt dies nachweislich das Stressniveau (KRY u. CASEY, 2007;VINKE et al, 2014). Auch ängstliche Hunde profitieren von Rückzugsmöglichkeiten. ...
... Hunde, die in Käfigen oder Zwingern (ohne Zugang zu einem Außenbereich) untergebracht werden, muss mindestens 3 Mal täglich die Möglichkeit geboten werden, Harn und Kot außerhalb der Unterkunft abzusetzen.Katzen: Der Käfig sollte jedenfalls mit einem weichen Liegeplatz, einer Rückzugsmöglichkeit(KRY u. CASEY, 2007;VINKE et al., 2014), einer Katzentoilette, Futterund Wassernapf sowie Beschäftigungsmöglichkeiten ausgestattet sein. Wenn möglich sollten zudem ein erhöhter Liegeplatz und ein Kratzkarton angeboten werden.• ...
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.
... The study of stress and related behavioral problems in cats has the significance of promoting cat wellbeing, human-cat relationship, and healthier ecosystem as a result of reduced abandonment of owned cats. Management of stress in cats often includes the provision of environmental enrichment, such as hiding enrichment (8)(9)(10)(11). Dietary supplementation of functional ingredients and prescribed antidepressants were also reported in pet dogs and cats (12,13) which are beyond the scope of the current review. Similar to many other carnivore species, cats rely heavily on their olfactory system to explore the physical and social environment. ...
... Acute stress Anxious posture, shaking, fast ventilation, fully dilated pupil and flattened ears, tail close to the body, plaintive vocalization (24)(25)(26)(27), struggle, motor activity and aggression (27)(28)(29), hiding attempt (8)(9)(10)(11) Reduced activity level and diversity, including play, exploration, and maintenance behavior such as feeding, drinking, and elimination (25,26,30,31), reduced social affiliation and facial marking (22,32), occurrence of feigned sleep (33,34), increased vigilance (35), ...
Article
Full-text available
Domestic cats are descended from solitary wild species and rely heavily on the olfaction system and chemical signals for daily activities. Cats kept as companion animals may experience stress due to a lack of predictability in their physical or social environment. The olfactory system is intimately connected to the brain regions controlling stress response, thus providing unique opportunities for olfactory strategies to modify stress and related behavioral problems in cats. However, the olfactory intervention of stress in cats has been mainly focused on several analog chemical signals and studies often provide inconsistent and non-replicable results. Supportive evidence in the literature for the potentially effective olfactory stimuli (e.g., cheek and mammary gland secretions, and plant attractants) in treating stress in cats was reviewed. Limitations with some of the work and critical considerations from studies with natural or negative results were discussed as well. Current findings sometimes constitute weak evidence of a reproducible effect of cat odor therapy for stress. The welfare application of an olfactory stimulus in stress alleviation requires a better understanding of its biological function in cats and the mechanisms at play, which may be achieved in future studies through methodological improvement (e.g., experiment pre-registration and appropriate control setting) and in-depth investigation with modern techniques that integrate multisource data. Contributions from individual and environmental differences should be considered for the stress response of a single cat and its sensitivity to olfactory manipulation. Olfactory strategies customized for specific contexts and individual cats can be more effective in improving the welfare of cats in various stressful conditions.
... spend more time in compartments containing) a hiding box compared with no enrichment (Ellis et al., 2017). The provision of a hiding box reduces the CSS compared with a control group without hiding enrichment (Kry and Casey, 2007;Vinke et al., 2014;van der Leij et al., 2019). ...
... The results of the current study showed that this effect was greater for shy than for bold cats. Although Vinke et al. (2014) reported lower CSS in cats provided with a hiding box than in controls, in the current study, the benefit of providing a hiding box was shown by the FGM, but not by the CSS. Kry and Casey (2007) found a significantly greater reduction over time in the CSS of cats provided with a hiding box (that also provided perching opportunities) compared with controls. ...
Article
It is often stressful for cats to be placed in cages in a shelter and environmental enrichment (EE) of the caging is one mechanism for mitigating this stress. The behavioural style of 72 cats was assessed as bold or shy. They were then randomly allocated (approximately balanced by behavioural style) to one of the following EE treatments in single standard cages: a hiding box (BOX), a perching shelf (SHELF), or no additional EE (CTRL) and their behavioural and faecal glucocorticoid metabolite (FGM) responses were examined. Continuous focal observations of activity, location in the cage, and posture were conducted using video recordings of two 4-h periods/day/cat, over a period of 10 days. Food intake and Cat-Stress-Scores (CSS) were recorded daily. Faecal samples were collected for analysis of FGM. The data were analysed using repeated measures models with fixed effects of day, treatment group, behavioural style, and their interactions. Cats in BOX had significantly lower FGM, and consumed significantly more food daily, than did cats in CTRL. Shy cats had a significantly greater probability of registering a CSS ≥ 3 and had a significantly greater CSS on days 1-3 than bold cats, and within the treatment group BOX, shy cats spent a significantly greater percentage of time in the hiding box than bold cats. Day in study was a significant factor for daily food intake and percentage of time spent eating – which tended to increase across time – and for percentage of time spent grooming – which tended to decrease across time. These results suggest that the caging was a stressor that was partially mitigated by the inclusion of EE (a hiding box), that the stress responses of bold and shy cats differed, and that the stress diminishes with time. The results confirm the benefit of the provision of a hiding box in singly housed caging.
... The experimenter observed that, pre-training, a number of the cats spent the entirety of the ten minute observational session in the indoor area of their pens hiding and either partially or entirely obscured from view. For cats, hiding behaviour is often a reaction to high stress levels, therefore cats should always be provided with the opportunity to hide (Vinke et al., 2014), however one of the aims of this study was to reduce the cats' stress levels in order for them to better cope in their environment, so that they may willingly and voluntarily travel to the outdoor area of their pen in the presence of humans. For example, one of the subjects (N7) was positioned at the back of their cage for the entire duration of the behavioural observation pre-training, and was also inactive for the majority of the session. ...
... For example, one of the subjects (N7) was positioned at the back of their cage for the entire duration of the behavioural observation pre-training, and was also inactive for the majority of the session. In contrast, however, the subject was observed to be positioned at the front of the cage for 9.86 min during the posttraining observation, suggesting a significant decrease in the animal's stress levels (Vinke et al., 2014). These results suggest that clicker training may also serve as a method of encouraging optimum spatial utilizations of enclosures by captive animals whilst increasing their activity budget (Mallapur et al., 2002). ...
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.
... Reactions were classified as: positive if cats approached the CS; neutral if no change in behaviour was detected; or negative if anxious/fearful behaviours increased in frequency. Expression of typical 'stress behaviours' was also taken to indicate negative reactions to deterrent stimulus, and included: displacement autogrooming (van den Bos, 1998); retreating into a hide (Vinke et al., 2014); and defensive vocalisations (e.g. hiss, Ley and Seksel, 2012). ...
Article
Full-text available
Urban environments are increasingly important for biodiversity conservation, but pet cats threaten wildlife therein, displaying nuisance behaviour such as hunting, fighting, fouling and urine spraying. In an attempt to empower landholders wishing to reduce cat incursions humanely, we tested the effectiveness of two ultrasonic cat deterrents (CatStop© and On-Guard Mega-Sonic Cat Repeller©). After confirming in arena trials that cats detect and respond negatively to an ultrasonic device, we tested both deterrents in 18 suburban gardens in Perth, Western Australia. Camera monitoring at foci of cat activity (e.g. fish ponds, property entry/exit points) occurred for two weeks before (Period 1: device off), during (Period 2: device on) and after (Period 3: device off) the activation of deterrents. Data included individual cat demographics and behaviours, number of cat detections per site per day per sampling period, the duration of cat activity, and detection of non-target species. Seventy-eight unique cats were detected at 17 of 18 garden sites (2–9 cats/garden). Over half the cats could be sexed (56.4%, with 65.1% males). Nearly 53.0% of cats were confirmed to be pets living nearby. Cats that were most active in period 1 (≥100 s total activity duration) were classified as ‘residents’; all others were ‘peripherals’. Overall, the ultrasonic deterrents reduced the frequency of incursions into gardens by resident cats by 46%, while the duration of incursions was reduced by 78%. Cat activity declined significantly from period 1 (baseline) to period 2 for resident cats but not peripheral cats (50% reduction; p = 0.001), and remained depressed in period 3 for resident cats but not peripheral cats (p < 0.001). Peripheral cat activity remained at an unchanging low level across all three periods. Males were slightly more active than females over the experiment (p = 0.04), but sexes did not vary in response to deterrents (p > 0.05). Cats confirmed as owned (53% of cats) generated more activity than cats of unknown ownership status (p = 0.03), probably reflecting proximity of their residences to trial gardens. Both deterrent models had similar effects (p = 0.89). By allowing pets to roam, cat owners are complicit in cat nuisance. This requires public education. Ultrasonic deterrents offer a cost-effective, humane option to reduce incursions by unwanted cats. Ultrasonic deterrents will not prevent all incursions, but they reduce their frequency and duration. Reduced cat activity has flow-on benefits to wildlife across a variety of urban-suburban settings, including gardens and parks.
... For example Vinke and Van der Leij, (2014) looked at the effects of hiding boxes in shelter cats and Uetake, et al., (2013) studied the effects of cage size and housing on cats housed in shelters. There were a few studies that measured owner behavior, and the findings showed that the owners play a crucial role in the behaviors of their pets Schöberl A u s t r i a B r a z i l C a n a d a F i n l a n d F r a n c e G e r m a n y I t a l y I r e l a n d J a p a n N e t h e r l a n d s P o r t u g a l S o u t h Belew, Barlett and Brown, (1999). ...
Article
The purpose of this study was to create a systematic review of articles pertaining to stress measurement and management of dogs and cats in order to use the information to find a way to reduce stress associated with a visit to the veterinarian. The corpus for this review contains 42 articles with 33 primary research studies and 9 secondary research studies. The information deduced during the review showed that a majority of studies on animal stress take place outside of the USA. The review also showed that a visit to a vet practice begins with client-staff communication. This collected knowledge was used to create four behavioral analysis questionnaires to be filled out by pet owners in order to open the communication between owner and DVM about pet behavior. These questionnaires are a first step for establishing a stress-free environment at a vet’s office.
... The fact that providing a hiding place within the house increased the odds of retrieving prey is contrary to expectations, since it would be logical to think that cats without a hiding place would seek for this resource outside, and thus increase its chances of hunting. One plausible explanation could be that cats that are provided with a hiding space have lower stress scores [57,58], and thus are more fit to hunt. A second possible alternative is that hiding places are complex areas within their comfort space, and cats are more attracted to hunt in open areas that differ from their surroundings [56], increasing the chances of hunting from 17% in dense grass or complex areas up to 70% in open areas [59]. ...
Article
Full-text available
The domestic cat (Felis catus) has become a worldwide threat to wildlife. The potential impact of owned cats on wildlife in Chile has not been documented at a large scale. The purpose of this study was to investigate the number and type of prey that owned cats bring back in Chile and its relation with responsible ownership practices. An online survey was distributed to 5216 households that included questions about the type of pet, responsible ownership practices, and in the case of cats, the type of prey they brought home. Descriptive statistics as well as univariate and multivariate logistic regression analysis were applied. The results showed that 94.3% of respondents had a pet, and from these, 49.9% had at least one cat. A total of 84.1% of owners reported that their cats had brought back prey. Birds were the most common type of prey, followed by mammals and insects. Not being registered with a microchip, not having a litter box, living in a house with access to a garden, not having a hiding place for the cats, and having free access to the outdoors significantly increased the odds of cats bringing back prey. Body condition score or providing ad libitum food to cats did not have an effect on bringing prey.
... When a fastidious animal, such as a cat, is found resting in its litter tray, this is usually a sign that it needs a more comfortable or more enclosed resting or hiding place. [36][37][38] on the other hand, constantly hiding is an indicator that a cat is failing to adapt and may need to be moved to a quieter area of the shelter and/or a different type of housing altogether. 39 other indicators of stress in shelter cats include general 'sickness behaviors' such as decreased activity, decreased grooming and feigned sleeping, as well as physical manifestations such as anorexia, weight loss, diarrhea, vomiting and reactivation of latent feline herpesvirus manifesting as upper respiratory tract infection. ...
Article
Full-text available
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.
... The fact that providing a hiding place within the house increased the odds of retrieving prey is contrary to expectations, since it would be logical to think that cats without a hiding place would seek for this resource outside, and thus increase its chances of hunting. One plausible explanation could be that cats that are provided with a hiding space have lower stress scores [57,58], and thus are more fit to hunt. A second possible alternative is that hiding places are complex areas within their comfort space, and cats are more attracted to hunt in open areas that differ from their surroundings [56], increasing the chances of hunting from 17% in dense grass or complex areas up to 70% in open areas [59]. ...
Article
The domestic cat (Felis catus) has become a worldwide threat to wildlife. The potential impact of owned cats on wildlife in Chile has not been documented at a large scale. The purpose of this study was to investigate the number and type of prey that owned cats bring back in Chile and its relation with responsible ownership practices. An online survey was distributed to 5216 households that included questions about the type of pet, responsible ownership practices, and in the case of cats, the type of prey they brought home. Descriptive statistics as well as univariate and multivariate logistic regression analysis were applied. The results showed that 94.3% of respondents had a pet, and from these, 49.9% had at least one cat. A total of 84.1% of owners reported that their cats had brought back prey. Birds were the most common type of prey, followed by mammals and insects. Not being registered with a microchip, not having a litter box, living in a house with access to a garden, not having a hiding place for the cats, and having free access to the outdoors significantly increased the odds of cats bringing back prey. Body condition score or providing ad libitum food to cats did not have an effect on bringing prey.
... At the outset of each interview, interviewers instructed students to read a PSL article while vocalising their thoughts as clearly as possible and annotating as needed (see Appendix B in the supplemental material for the full preamble). The assigned article (Vinke et al., 2014), entitled 'Will a hiding box provide stress reduction for shelter cats?', presented the results of an observational study exploring the utility of providing shelter cats with hiding boxes as a means of stress-reduction, and was divided into standard sections, including Introduction, Materials and Methods, Results, and Discussion. The article was approximately 6500 words in length and included 4 figures. ...
Article
Full-text available
We investigated undergraduate students’ approaches to reading primary scientific literature (PSL). Self-report surveys and think-aloud reading interviews were used to uncover students’ approaches to PSL with respect to evidence finding, prioritisation of paper sections, and reading skill in relation to task context. Self-report and observational interview data were also analysed to investigate the relationship between students’ self-reported and actual reading approaches. Our findings indicate that undergraduate students exhibit a spectrum of approaches to evidence finding, that many use pre-interpreted text to make meaning of PSL, and that student reading approaches are enhanced by task context. Data also indicate a misalignment between students’ self-reported and actual reading approaches, with students generally over-confident in their abilities. We interpret these findings using deep vs. surface learning criteria and the Structure Building Model (SBM) of reading comprehension. Our exploratory research extends the small body of literature on student PSL reading and indicates that more in-depth work needs to be done to support the development of educational interventions aimed at enhancing student reading approaches.
... general activity exploration of the surroundings normal occurrence reduced occurrence or absence of activity (rarely increased occurrence) [113,114] behaviour associated with metabolic processes feeding normal occurrence reduced occurrence or absence of activity [5,[113][114][115] drinking normal occurrence reduced occurrence or absence of activity [113,114] urination normal occurrence reduced occurrence or absence of activity; urination outside of the litter box and instead in other locations of the cage [114,116] defecation normal occurrence reduced occurrence or absence of activity [114] comfort behaviour resting normal occurrence excessive vigilance [114,117] sleeping normal occurrence reduced occurrence or absence of activity; feigned sleep; somnolence [110,113,114] grooming normal occurrence over-grooming, self-mutilation or reduced occurrence of grooming [113,114] playing occurrence of playful behaviour (individual play, play with other cats, objects or people) reduced occurrence or absence of activity [114,[118][119][120] social interactions interactions with people positive interactions with people (seeking human presence, direct contact, staying in proximity); positive responses to human-initiated interactions absence of or negative response to a human-initiated interaction, particularly redirected aggression and some forms of affective aggression [17,114,121] interactions with conspecifics present; positive activities (rubbing, allogrooming, not avoiding contact) absent or negative activities: hostility, aggression, contact avoidance [109,113,114,117,121,122] communication scratching normal occurrence reduced occurrence or absence of activity [114] facial marking normal occurrence reduced occurrence or absence of activity [17] urine spraying normal occurrence increased occurrence [17,123,124] other types of reported activities compulsive behaviour absence of compulsive behaviour presence of compulsive behaviour [125][126][127] hiding hiding as a normal reaction to fearful stimuli or as a part of playful behaviour effort to hide [15,110,114,128] vocalisation normal occurrence excessive occurrence [114,129] The level of stress is affected by the quality of housing; the inability to show the natural range of activities for a longer period of time can lead to stress, which applies especially to individually housed cats in cage housing [130], often poor in enrichment, which is often used in shelters e.g., in the United States [131,132] or in general within the quarantine. The level of stress can be partially regulated by providing an undisturbed, dark place where the cat can hide [133,134], which, of course, does not address the overall lack of stimuli and space to engage in natural active movement. On the other hand, no difference was found in the stress responses of cats when comparing the amount of space provided per cat (1 m 2 , 2 m 2 , 4 m 2 ) when the resources were the same [135]. ...
Article
Full-text available
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.
... In domestic cats, an increase of cortisol levels has been associated with unpredictable handling and husbandry [6,11], transport, veterinary clinic visits [27,37], surgical procedure [7,8,12] and postoperative pain [5,32]. Stressful experiences can have a major impact on the cats' welfare and may cause higher incidences of diseases in the shelters due to increased cortisol levels and immunodeficiency [36]; moreover, aggression and fear decline after several months of con- finement into an animal shelter [2], and stress scores of group-housed cats should not differ between sexes [16]. ...
Article
Full-text available
Background: The hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis and functional systems undergo the assessment of stress levels throughout living environments, contributing to avoid side effects to well-being in domestic animals, including pets. Cortisol represents the most important glucocorticoid found in felis and it is frequently used as standard marker in stress research. The purpose of the present study was to compare the adrenal and haematological patterns of cats, by taking into account the effects of different housing’s systems. The hypothesis was to find a different coping strategies, according to different housings.Materials, Methods & Results: For this study a total of 50 cats were selected on the basis of the breed: European domestic short hair cats, age ranged between 22 and 30 months and housing’s systems, represented by cattery and/or households, respectively. On these basis, cats were distinguished into two groups, represented by group A: 22 cats living in cattery, and group B: 28 cats living in households. Blood samples were collected twice a week, for two consecutive days, during one month and subsequently analysed for haematological analysis and cortisol concentrations. Group B showed higher cortisol concentrations (P < 0.01), Red Blood Cell (P < 0.05), Packed Cell Volume (P < 0.001), Platelets (P < 0.01), Heart Rate and Respiratory Rate (P < 0.05) values, and lower White Blood Cell (P < 0.001) than group A.Discussion: This observational study showed that cats housed in the households group showed higher cortisol, RBC, PCV, Plt, HR and RR values, and lower WBC rather than cattery’s cats. Another point is that males showed higher RBC, PCV, WBC and Plt than females, irrespective of different housing’s systems. The significant lower threshold of cortisol levels in cattery’s cats than household’s cats could suggest that these subjects were probably totally accustomed to cattery’s environment; though these animals were daily stimulated by predictable stimuli and manipulations, characterized by handling and husbandry routine, regular feeding and cleaning times, standard caretaking. On the other hand, the higher cortisol concentrations observed in household’s cats could be due to the different environmental stimuli, characterized by unpredictable handling, modified caretaking, presence of irregular talking, petting and manipulations by owners, which promote probably the expression of species and appropriate behaviour with stimulating activities. The significant highest RBC and PCV values in subjects of group B could be explained on the basis of the more intense activity of these subjects, according to the access to outdoor area. These concomitant higher values were corroborated in the present study by the not surprising positive and significant correlation observed between corresponding RBC and PCV values. The higher PCV values observed in cats of group B could be suggest that their daily frequent activity induced a physiological erythrocytosis, compared to sedentary cattery’s cats. The hypothesis that the home represented more rousing than cattery setting was assessed by the physiological and consistent higher cortisol, RBC, PCV, Plt, HR and RR displayed in the home environment; The only difference between the two groups was that environmental stimulus (chronic stress) was cattery for group A, whereas household for group B. Obtained data indicate that there was a marked benefit in to establish a personnel-cat relationship in addition to the traditionally owner-cat relationship, providing physiological coping strategies in both cattery and home cats; this was corroborate in the present study by the wide but physiological cortisol range. This study indicates that predictability, familiarity and unpredictability are significantly associated with environmental stimuli and with quality of pets’ life.
... In one more cat-inspired side note, I would like to point to the study looking at why cats like card- board boxes. According to Vinke, Godijn and van der Leij (2014), cardboard hiding boxes reduce the cat's stress level. ...
Article
In July 2016, the British media covered the events in Whitehall from the viewpoint of cats. Larry, the Number 10 Downing Street cat, along with his feline colleagues Palmerston, Gladstone and Evie, made the news when the coverage of British politics was transferred to the street fights of competing tomcats Larry, Palmerston, and Gladstone. Headlines included: ‘The feline fight for Downing Street: Larry and Palmerston face-off to be the top cat of No 10’ (Burrows, 2016) in The Daily Mail; ‘Gladstone the cat lands Treasury job’ (‘Gladstone the Cat Lands Treasury Job’, 2016) on the BBC; ‘Gladstone the cat gives Treasury some paws for thought’ (Walker, 2016) in The Guardian; and ‘Cat & Mouser. Foreign Office moggie in stand off with Larry at No10 as bid for power continues’ (Foxton & Pettitt, 2016) in The Sun.
... All that is often needed is the presence of another strange animal or human, an owner's unusual behavior, a clean litter box or simply nowhere to hide, for stress levels to increase [156][157][158][159][160][161]. For example, if a cat a place to hide in a new environment, its "behavioral stress levels" recover faster than those without a hiding place (e.g., a cardboard box; [162]), but not when housed in pairs or groups rather than alone [163]. Other than humans and other highly social animals, most members of the genus Felis are solitary. ...
Article
Full-text available
Prolonged physiological stress responses form an important risk factor for disease. According to neurobiological and evolution-theoretical insights the stress response is a default response that is always “on” but inhibited by the prefrontal cortex when safety is perceived. Based on these insights the Generalized Unsafety Theory of Stress (GUTS) states that prolonged stress responses are due to generalized and largely unconsciously perceived unsafety rather than stressors. This novel perspective necessitates a reconstruction of current stress theory, which we address in this paper. We discuss a variety of very common situations without stressors but with prolonged stress responses, that are not, or not likely to be caused by stressors, including loneliness, low social status, adult life after prenatal or early life adversity, lack of a natural environment, and less fit bodily states such as obesity or fatigue. We argue that in these situations the default stress response may be chronically disinhibited due to unconsciously perceived generalized unsafety. Also, in chronic stress situations such as work stress, the prolonged stress response may be mainly caused by perceived unsafety in stressor-free contexts. Thus, GUTS identifies and explains far more stress-related physiological activity that is responsible for disease and mortality than current stress theories.
... Cats face many challenges to their welfare when housed in cages in veterinary hospitals, shelters, or laboratories. These include physical components of the housing environment, such as temperature, noise, cage size, hiding and perching opportunities (or lack thereof) as well as the social environment, including the quality of the human-cat interactions, presence of unfamiliar cats, or other animals such as dogs [1][2][3][4]. Assessing individual differences in response to stressors during confinement may aid caretakers in making decisions that meet cats' individual needs, thereby enhancing their welfare. ...
Article
Full-text available
Identifying coping styles in cats may lead to improved health and welfare. The aims of this study were to (1) identify individual differences in response to acute confinement, and (2) to assess the predictability of guardian-rated personality traits on behavior. Adult cats (n = 55) were singly housed in enriched cages and behavioral observations were recorded for three days. On day 3, familiar and unfamiliar person approach tests were conducted. Fecal glucocorticoid metabolites (FGM) were quantified from voided samples. A questionnaire assessing personality traits and sickness behaviors was completed by each guardian. Analysis identified two clusters—cats in Cluster 1 (n = 22) were described as shy, calm, mellow, and timid; cats in Cluster 2 (n = 33) were described as active, playful, curious, and easygoing. Multilevel mixed-effects GLM revealed significant differences between the clusters including food intake (C1 > C2, p < 0.0001), affiliative/maintenance behaviors (C2 > C1, p < 0.0001), vocalization (C2 > C1, p < 0.0001), hide (C1 > C2, p < 0.0001), perch (C2 > C1, p < 0.0001), and latency to approach a familiar (C1 > C2, p < 0.0001) and unfamiliar (C1 > C2, p = 0.013) person. No statistically significant differences in FGM concentrations were identified (cluster p = 0.28; day p = 0.16, interaction p = 0.26). Guardian-rated personality traits agreed with the response of the cats when confined to a cage, suggesting that domestic cats have different coping styles. Identifying individual differences in response to stressful events or environments may provide caretakers with important information leading to improved welfare.
... An intrinsic part of the biology of a cat is the hiding behavior. The results were similar to a previous study that found that cats provided with a hiding box were able to rapidly reduce CSS in cats with a new shelter environment [37]. ...
Article
Full-text available
Background and Aim: In Thailand, domestic cats are the most common companion animal, and many are admitted to veterinary clinics for neutering surgery; however, such environment can induce stress. This is the first study to evaluate stress in hospitalized cats after neutering surgery using cat stress score (CSS) and salivary cortisol levels, including the impact of providing a hiding box (B) and/or administering a pheromone product to reduce stress. Materials and Methods: The study design was based on a randomized controlled clinical trial. A total of 80 domestic cats undergoing routine neutering surgery were assessed for their behavioral demeanor scoring system (DSS) as friendly (DSS1) and aggressive (DSS2) based on a DSS. During admission, the cats were randomly allocated to single standard cages with one of the following treatments: (B), feline facial pheromone (P), a combination of hiding box and the pheromone (BP), or no additional enrichment (C). Cat stress score, food intake, and hide-seeking behavior were recorded. The cortisol enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay kit was used to assess the salivary cortisol level. Results: On the 1st day of admission, aggressive cats had a significantly higher CSS (4.16 ± 0.29) than friendly cats (3.27 ± 0.16). Both demeanor cat groups showed statistically significant reductions in stress levels earlier than the control group after providing the enrichments. Saliva cortisol measurements ranged from 0.24 to 0.66 ng/mL. No statistical differences in cortisol levels were observed between the 1st day and other days of admission. In contrast, no differences in food intake and hide-seeking behavior were seen within each group during the same period. Conclusion: Results suggested that stress and stress responses in cats depended on behavioral demeanor. The provision of enrichment, including hiding box and feline facial pheromone in singly housed caging reduced stress, especially in aggressive cats. However, salivary cortisol analysis, food intake, and hide-seeking behavior were ineffective for assessing stress in cats after neutering surgery.
... All that is often needed is the presence of another strange animal or human, an owner's unusual behavior, a clean litter box or simply nowhere to hide, for stress levels to increase [156][157][158][159][160][161]. For example, if a cat a place to hide in a new environment, its "behavioral stress levels" recover faster than those without a hiding place (e.g., a cardboard box; [162]), but not when housed in pairs or groups rather than alone [163]. Other than humans and other highly social animals, most members of the genus Felis are solitary. ...
Book
Full-text available
Perseverative cognition is defined as the repetitive or sustained activation of cognitive representations of past stressful events or feared events in the future and even at non-clinical levels it causes a “fight-or-flight” action tendency, followed by a cascade of biological events, starting in the brain and ending as peripheral stress responses. In the past decade, such persistent physiological activation has proven to impact individuals’ health, potentially leading to somatic disease. As such, perseverative cognition has recently been proposed as the missing piece in the relationships between stress, psychopathology, and risk for health. Perseverative cognition is indeed a hallmark of conditions such as anxiety and mood disorders that are at increased -though still unexplained- cardiovascular risk. Although the pivotal role of ruminative and worrisome thoughts in determining the onset and maintenance of psychopathological disorders has been acknowledged for a long time, its effects on the body via reciprocal influences between mental processes and the body’s physiology have been neglected. Moreover, perseverative cognition is definitely not restricted to psychopathology, it is extremely common and likely even omnipresent, pervading daily life. The objective of the Research Topic is to provide an interdisciplinary examination of cutting-edge neuroscientific research on brain-body signatures of perseverative cognition in both healthy and psychopathological individuals. Despite the evident role of the brain in repetitive thinking and the assumption that our mind is embodied, bran-body pathways from perseverative cognition to health risk have remained largely unexplored.
... Complete resolution of FCDs is uncommon, although treatments (including medications) are often used to decrease the frequency or severity of the behavior, thereby increasing quality of life of the effected animal [10,11]. Providing environmental enrichment is another important component of treatment, designed to decrease stress and the risk for developing stress-related behavior problems [1,6,12,13]. A common recommendation for enrichment involves interactive play with toys. ...
Article
Full-text available
Use of laser light pointers for feline play is popular with many companion cat guardians. It can be an enjoyable shared interaction and provide an opportunity for feline exercise. Laser light play alone, however, does not allow cats to complete the hunting sequence and it has been suggested that this may trigger frustration and stress, common contributors to compulsive behaviors. This study examined the potential relationship between the use of laser light pointers for play and excessive or abnormal repetitive behaviors (ARBs) often linked to diagnosis of feline compulsive disorders. Using an online, anonymous, cross-sectional survey, we explored cat guardians’ use of laser toys and reported ARBs in their cats. A total of 618 responses were analyzed, primarily female participants from the United States. We found significant associations between the frequency of laser light play and the occurrence of all surveyed ARBs, apart from overgrooming. Provision of outdoor access and cat age were also significant predictors of reported ARBs: indoor-only cats, and young (1–2 years) cats were more likely to display ARBs. The strongest patterns were seen for behaviors which may be connected to laser light play: chasing lights or shadows, staring “obsessively” at lights or reflections, and fixating on a specific toy. Although correlational, these results suggest that laser light toys may be associated with the development of compulsive behaviors in cats, warranting further research into their use and potential risks.
... Esta escala cuantifica el grado de discomfort en condiciones comúnmente estresantes para felinos, en particular el confinamiento en refugios, su interacción con perros o las visitas al hospital. 57,58 Los resultados obtenidos han mostrado niveles de estrés y patrones de conductas negativas que se reducen con el tiempo, con la hora del día (mayor en la mañana y menor durante la tarde), y con la interacción de los animales con objetos que les permitan mostrar comportamientos propios de la especie para autorregular su bienestar. 59,60 De igual manera, CSS ha sido aplicado dentro de un ambiente clínico para el estudio de diferentes métodos para minimizar el estrés en gatos. ...
... A number of previous studies have documented the link between stress and the placement of a cat in a shelter (e.g., Stella et al., 2011 ;Tanaka et al., 2012 ;Vinke et al., 2014 ). One of the ways to detect an ongoing stress response is to determine the level of specific substances that are present in the body as a result of disturbing the balance of the internal environment. ...
Article
This study was conducted for the purpose of long-term monitoring of changes in the sociability of group-housed cats towards a familiar caregiver in a private no-kill shelter. The sociability of the monitored cat population was assessed at two-week intervals during one calendar year. A total of 158 animals were rated on a 5-point scale, the individual levels of which represented the level of sociability (1-very friendly cat to 5-very unfriendly cat). The evaluation was performed by visual observation of the cats' response to human approach and contact by one observer. At the first assessment, more than three quarters of the cats (81%) showed very friendly (score of 1) or friendly behavior (score of 2). Of the 88 cats that were evaluated at least twice and at the same time their stay in the shelter terminated during the monitoring period, 56 cats (63.6%) did not change their score (worsen or improve) during their stay in the shelter. Among the cats with an observed change, there was a permanently improved score in a significantly higher number of cats (P < 0.001) during the stay in the shelter than a permanent deterioration (26; 29.5% and 3; 3.4%, respectively). There was a temporary improvement or worsening of the score in 3 cats (3.4%). The improvement in the sociability score during the stay in the shelter mainly concerned cats whose behavior was rated as neutral (score of 3), unfriendly (score of 4) or very unfriendly (score of 5) at the first evaluation. The length of stay of cats in the shelter (LOS) correlated with the level of sociability of the cats during the first (rtau = 0.72, P < 0.001) and the last evaluation (rtau = 0.23, P = 0.007); however, the LOS itself did not predict the level of sociability (P > 0.05). The sociability level at the first assessment was found to be a predictor of the sociability level at the last assessment (P < 0.001). The results of our study suggest that during the stay in the shelter, the cats generally improve their sociability towards a familiar person. Although it appears that cats with lower levels of sociability remain in the shelter for a longer period of time, improvements may increase their adoption potential. Support for programs to increase the cat sociability is needed and should be addressed in further research.
... Cats often show preferences for locations and furniture, and to help retain environmental stability, key resources such as beds, hiding areas, marking aids and litter trays should not be regularly moved or changed [32,33]. Provision of hiding opportunities (such as a cardboard box) can help reduce stress and the cat's ability to cope by avoiding interactions [34,35]. Pheromonal marking is normal and can be supported by providing multiple scratch areas, grooming aids and surfaces for olfactory signals (carpet/cloth). ...
Article
Full-text available
Dogs and cats housed in research-, kennel- and cattery-type settings are reliant on caregivers to optimise their day-to-day experiences and welfare. The goal is to provide enriching environments for physical, social and environmental control; behavioural choice and opportunities to live as varied a life as possible. However, there are numerous challenges in these environments such as lack of appropriate enrichment for group housing, budget for equipment/training, study controls, time and space to make improvements. In addition, research settings are required to comply with legislation for care, husbandry and housing, and as standards differ between regions, conditions will vary between settings. Sharing knowledge in this field can only help drive a wider culture of care by helping improve the lives and welfare of animals cared for. This article presents some of the environmental enrichment strategies effective at the Waltham Petcare Science Institute, UK.
... This duration was largely based on Kessler and Turner's findings that there were no significant changes in daily average stress scores after day 5. 16 Other authors have reported a steep decline in behavioral signs of stress immediately following intake, which stabilize in a similar time period. [20][21][22][23][24] The ideal duration of the habituation process for cats from a hoarding environment has not been evaluated. Many factors can influence the amount of time that may be required for cats to reach a baseline stress level. ...
Article
Full-text available
Objectives The aim of this study was to analyze the behavioral characteristics and success of adoption for previously hoarded cats. Methods Shelter records and post-adoption surveys were analyzed for hoarded cats ⩾6 months old at intake. A non-standard scoring system was used. Intake scores were allocated contemporaneously and socialization scores were applied retrospectively for three time points (TPs): 5–10 days post-intake (shelter TP), ⩽1 week post-adoption (home TP1) and >1 week post-adoption (home TP2). Adoption returns were compared between hoarded and non-hoarded cats. Results The study included 195 hoarded cats, of which 174 were adopted. Of 164 cats with intake scores, 86 (52%) were scored as ‘friendly’ at intake. Forty-five cats had socialization scores for all of the TPs, and of these, the percentages of ‘supersocial’ or ‘social’ decreased from 87% at the shelter TP to 47% at home TP1, then increased to 84% at home TP2. Most cats that scored as ‘tense’ at intake had supersocial or social scores at home TP2. Nine of the 88 cats with survey results had out-of-box (OOB) elimination in either the shelter or home but only 1/88 in both. Adopters expressed positive feelings for 42/43 cats for which feelings-based language was used in their survey responses. Notable behaviors, such as neediness, were recorded for 48/88 cats. Relationships with other household pets were typically positive. Eighteen of 174 hoarded (10%) and 188/2662 non-hoarded (7.1%) cats were returned post-adoption. Of these, six hoarded and 87 non-hoarded returns included behavioral reasons. There were no significant differences between hoarded and non-hoarded cats for total or behavioral returns. Conclusions and relevance Hoarded cats had high adoption rates, high adopter satisfaction and the potential for good emotional well-being in adoptive homes. Behavior at intake and OOB elimination in the shelter may not reflect post-adoption behavior. Behavior-based outcome decisions for these vulnerable animals should be deferred to allow time for habituation.
... Time spent in burrows can be used by animals as a method of coping with stress as they provide small, secure spaces where an animal can rest; studies have demonstrated that this type of behaviour is used by some mammals (e.g. felids that use sheltered spaces (Vinke et al. 2014)) as well as reptiles (e.g. tuatara (Corkery et al. 2014)). ...
Article
Many zoos provide the opportunity for visitors to interact with ambassador animals in their collections, but little is known about how these interactions impact on the animals themselves. The current study was the first to examine the effect of visitor interactions on the reptile species, tuatara (Sphenodon punctatus). This pilot project also developed the first complete ethogram describing tuatara behaviour (a permanent research resource). The ethogram was customised for individually housed tuatara. We used the ethogram to describe behaviour of three tuatara before (8:30–10:30), during (10:30–11:30) and after (11:30–15:30) visitor contact sessions (where visitors could interact with a tuatara and handler in a controlled environment), and on control days (at the same times but with no visitor contact). Tuatara demonstrated increased time out of sight or time inactive following visitor contact (compared to days with no visitor contact). The current study provides insight into individual variation between animals that participate in visitor contact sessions and can inform how zoos approach ambassador-animal programmes to support animal welfare.
... The cat stress score is a well-known observational assessment scale for evaluating the stress status in cats (10). Several studies on shelter cats used this assessment scale (11,12); however, these studies have focused on the welfare of the cats, and not their relationship with humans. ...
Article
Full-text available
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.
... Conversely, some adopters do not want black cats (Kogan et al. 2013;Jones & Hart 2020), or prefer owner-surrendered cats to stray cats (Dybdall & Strasser 2014), or may just want the cat that blinked with them (Humphrey et al. 2020). Furthermore, there are ways to minimize stress and help cats be more active, which positively influences adoption (Kry & Kasey 2007;Moore & Bain 2013;Vinke 2014;Zito et al. 2015). Importantly, these studies have little to do with behavior assessments and whatever inferences people draw from them. ...
Article
Full-text available
Animal shelters face diverse challenges, which often necessitate making life-or-death decisions for animals in their care. One strategy used to determine whether admitting, adoption, or euthanasia is appropriate is to assess an animal’s in-shelter or pre-admission behavior to infer its “personality.” Shelters do this because potential adopters are often interested in knowing an animal’s personality as it provides information about whether the animal will fit in their home. However, shelter behavior assessments are a broad topic. To narrow focus, I explore a relatively novel development: feline behavior assessments. These assessments suggest that shelter workers can make a valid inference from in-shelter behavior to long-term, consistent personality. I argue that assessments do not, and might not be able to, validly infer personality in shelters; I utilize recent philosophical work by Kaiser & Müller (Biol Philos 36:1–25, 2021) on personality to do so. I build on their work by showing how shelter assessments do not meet their criteria and fall victim to epistemic bias in privileging some behaviors. Because feline assessments fail to meet philosophically robust definitions of animal personality and have methodological biases, these assessments do not provide valid insight into a shelter animal’s personality and should not be used.
Chapter
Captivity often restricts animals' abilities to perform natural behaviour and explore novel stimuli. Here, we review how this constraint affects psychological welfare by preventing the meeting of motivations. One means by which this happens is through frustrating specific motivations pertaining to particular behavioural systems. This can occur when constrained behaviours are 'behavioural needs': activities that animals have instincts to perform even in environments where they are not biologically necessary for fitness (e.g. non-nutritive sucking by calves, social interactions for many species). It can also occur when deficits or external cues in the environment leave certain motivations unsatisfied; this causes behaviour that could, under other circumstances, help rectify the problem, but which remains futile in the impoverished environment (e.g. the lack of burrow-like structures, triggering persistent digging in gerbils). Furthermore, given that humans suffer boredom in monotonous conditions resembling many captive animals' environments, and given that many animals actively seek diverse stimulation, it also seems likely that welfare in some species can be harmed by thwarting animals' general motivations to seek variety and/or to avoid monotony, causing boredom.
Chapter
Behavior assessments are an essential part of ensuring shelters provide appropriate care for the cats in their custody. They can identify a propensity for unwanted behaviors, match cats with appropriate adopters, and help to monitor their well‐being while in shelter. A well‐designed behavior assessment program should be holistic, taking advantage of all feasible frameworks for collecting information, including structured behavioral tests, scan samples of behaviors and behavioral indicators, ad libitum behavioral observations, trait ratings, and qualitative behavior histories. As shelter populations change, behavioral interventions and management may play a larger role in animal shelters. A carefully designed behavior assessment program may be crucial in successfully navigating this transition. This chapter will help shelters navigate the literature regarding the purposes and frameworks for conducting behavior assessments and will provide guidance in how to structure a behavior assessment program for use with shelter cats.
Chapter
The shelter is a stressful environment for cats due to numerous factors that affect their overall welfare. Shelters must take steps to address and reduce stress. Particularly for cats that are withdrawn and exhibit signs of fear, anxiety, stress, or aggression, training and behavior modification can be a useful adjunct to environmental enrichment. This chapter describes training techniques and behavior modification exercises to address the more commonly encountered behavior problems cats exhibit in the shelter environment, focused on reducing stress and improving welfare.
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.
Chapter
Safety and sanitation concerns in animal sheltering can interfere with the ability to provide optimal welfare and well‐being for cats. Because of the unique biology of cats, sheltering additionally presents a number of potential stressors that can adversely affect feline welfare, including unfamiliar people, altered routines, inconsistent husbandry, and the disruption of social bonds. The greatest stressor is the inability to control or escape from confinement. Appropriately designed feline housing is a critical tool and starting point in reducing the stress experienced by shelter cats and ensuring their medical and behavioral health. The quantity and quality of housing spaces should be enriched, functionally complex settings that allow for cats to not only cope with their environment but to encourage them to engage in a wide range of normal behaviors. Housing that upholds the Five Freedoms as well as the Five Pillars of a Healthy Feline Environment that allow cats to meet their physical and behavioral needs not only enhances feline welfare but also facilitates adoption potential. Shelters should provide a variety of housing and enrichment options to help each cat acclimate to the sheltering environment in their own way.
Article
Full-text available
Aim: The overarching purpose of the AAFP Anesthesia Guidelines (hereafter referred to as the 'Guidelines') is to make anesthesia and sedation safer for the feline patient. Scope and accessibility: It is noteworthy that these are the first exclusively feline anesthesia guidelines authored by an expert panel, making them particularly useful as an extensively referenced, practical resource for veterinary practice teams. Because much of the key content is presented in tabular or visual format, the Guidelines have a high level of accessibility and convenience that invites regular usage. While the recommendations in the Guidelines focus primarily on client-owned cats, the content is also applicable to community-sourced animals with an unknown medical history.
Chapter
Over the last 150 years, animal sheltering has evolved from its origins as a public health and safety industry to one that also highly prioritizes animal health and welfare. Animal welfare science has also expanded during this time and provides objective, evidence‐based approaches to the assessment of animals’ experiences both in and outside of the shelter setting, as well as means by which to guide quality of life judgments made by animal caretakers. Many questions around animal welfare and quality of life inherently involve ethical determinations. A variety of ethical decision‐making frameworks can be used for these purposes and may carry the benefits of inclusivity, transparency, objectivity, and minimization of moral stress.
Article
Background: To reduce stress of hospitalised cats, literature advises providing cats with the opportunity to hide using either a box, or partially covering the cage front. While studies have found benefits of the box method, there is currently no evidence for efficacy of the partial cover. Aim: To investigate whether providing hospitalised cats with either a box or a partial towel cover to the front of the cage reduced stress levels, and whether each of these methods was sufficient in prodiving hiding opportunity. Methods: To investigate this, 42 healthy pet cats that were admitted to a veterinary practice for routine neutering were provided with either a hide box, a partial towel cover to the front of the cage or neither treatment. Behavioural observations were taken for 60 minutes recording: 1) Kessler and Turner's Cat Stress Score (CSS), 2) Location within the cage, 3) Hide seeking behaviour, and 4) Use of treatment. Results: The results showed a significant difference in CSS between cats with a box and the control cats (p=0.007), but not between cats with towel cover and the control cats (p=0.069). There was no significant difference in CSS between box cats and towel cats (p=0.406), but those with a box hid in it 68% of the time, significantly more than the towel cats used the towel (n=30%) (p=0.027). There was a significant difference in hide seeking behaviour between all treatments (p=0.016). A positive correlation was found between CSS and hide seeking behaviour within all groups (rs=0.673), and this was stronger when analysed in control cats only (rs=0.829). Conclusions: Findings suggest that a box provides opportunity to hide and appears to reduce behavioural signs of stress. Though a partial cover may also help, there is not significant evidence for its efficacy in providing hiding opportunity or reducing stress.
Article
Full-text available
Low stress animal handling approaches to veterinary inpatient care have been recommended to reduce the adverse effects of veterinary visits on patient health and wellbeing and improve staff safety. Evidence examining the utilization of low stress handling techniques (LSHT) within the UK is limited. The aim of this study was to identify the reported prevalence of compliance with LSHT guidelines recommended by key organisations which promote welfare-friendly veterinary practice. A cross-sectional, observational, descriptive online survey was utilized. The survey was distributed by email to all veterinary practices meeting the inclusion criteria and consenting to being contacted for market research purposes. Using 4-point Likert-type questions, veterinary professionals were asked to identify how often they believed their practice complied with 74 LSHT guidelines across seven themes. The recommendations were derived from four reputable welfare organisations. Of 1,012 contactable veterinary practices, 91 (9%) responded. Based on number of statements within a theme that most respondents answered always/regularly. Practices appeared to utilize LSHT’s in the practice waiting room, consultations, inpatient care and practice ethos. Less adherence to LSHT were shown in the wards, updating of patient records and in client education. Lack of provision of client literature was a noticeable reported weakness across a range of indices and topics. Practice membership of the International Society for Feline Medicine ‘Cat friendly’ scheme had small but significant positive effects across several themes. In conclusion, the apparent utilization of LSHT, facilities and equipment varies across dimensions and potential explanations for this are discussed in the context of animal welfare.
Article
Feline behavioral problems can be treated successfully by good advice from cat-behavior advisors, but guardians often do not comply with their advice. An experimental survey under 703 cat guardians was used to investigate what advisors can do to increase their clients' compliance with environmental enrichment advice. By systematically varying the credibility of the advisor and the severity of their advice, the hypothesis was confirmed that highly credible advisors elicit more positive attitudes and compliance intentions than less credible advisors. Also as expected, mild advice resulted in stronger compliance intentions than severe advice because guardians believed they were better able to incorporate the required actions. Finally, guardians who more strongly thought of themselves as cat guardians were more likely to adopt the advice because they believed that other cat guardians would do the same. The investigation of factors that can increase cat guardians' compliance with advisors' recommendations for the treatment of behavioral problems is crucial because the wellbeing of domestic cats lies in the hands of their guardians. Several practical recommendations for cat-behavior advisors are offered.
Article
Background Reducing stress experienced by hospitalised cats within a veterinary practice is important not only in welfare terms but also to reduce physiological responses that can interfere with diagnosis and recovery. Hideaways such as igloo beds, boxes or similar are anecdotally reported to reduce stress for cats in general, but limited research has been carried out within veterinary practice. The charity Cats Protection recently marketed the ‘Feline Fort’ for use in its adoption centres and suggested it may be also useful within veterinary practice. Aim To compare the use of the Feline Fort to a disposable cardboard box, and also to assess whether having any hideaway at all reduced stress compared to having no hideaway at all within veterinary practice. Methods 21 cats were recruited from a veterinary practice with owner consent. Each cat was randomly allocated to groups where they were given either the Feline Fort (n=6), a cardboard box (n=7) or no hideaway at all (control group) (n=8). Cat stress was measured by scoring cats on an adapted ethogram based on one developed by Kessler and Turner (1997). Results Results showed that 50% (n=3) of the cats that were provided with the Feline Fort utilised the resource. However only five of the 13 cats (38%) provided with either hideaway utilised. There was no significant difference (Kruskal-Wallis test: H2 =0.28, p=0.868) between the choices of hideaways. In addition, statistical analysis suggested that the provision of a hideaway within this sample did not reduce stress in cats. Conclusion Due to sample size and problems encountered with data collection the authors suggest repeating the research with an increased sample size before extrapolating the findings.
Article
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
Capacity for Care (C4C) is a shelter management strategy that is capable of improving the welfare of cats in a shelter’s care. Managing shelter intake using intake waitlists and scheduled intake appointments is a key feature of C4C. The purpose of this study was to describe the population of owned cats whose owners contacted the Guelph Humane Society (GHS) to explore the option of relinquishing, and to report outcomes for this population. Data were collected retrospectively from shelter records created by the GHS from July 2017 to June 2018. This study further examined associations between cat outcome and rehoming options under consideration by owners at the initial point of contact with the shelter, cat source, and reason for relinquishment. A greater proportion of cats with veterinary issues reported as the primary reason for potential surrender were kept by their owners compared with being relinquished (p<0.01), rehomed (p<0.01), and having an unknown outcome (p<0.01). A greater proportion of cats whose owners had medical issues were surrendered, compared with being retained in their homes.The large number of cats whose outcomes were unknown suggests a need for future research in order to further understand the outcomes that are occurring for cats whose admission to a shelter are deferred.
Article
The breeding and showing of pedigree cats provides a novel lens through which to explore more-than-human intersections within leisure. Based on multispecies ethnographic fieldwork at multiple cat shows across the United Kingdom and on interviews with those who breed and exhibit cats, this article explores the relevance of the concept of ‘serious leisure’ to the ‘hobby’ of cat showing and asks ‘what’s in it for the cats?’ For the human participants, it provides opportunities for social interaction, knowledge and skill progression, as well as contributing to individual and collective identities. There are also substantial costs to this form of engagement for the human, but particularly, I argue, for the feline competitors. This article asserts that human leisure needs are given precedence over the well-being of feline individuals. Exhibition spaces and show requirements present substantial challenges for many of the cats involved and can limit, or even deny altogether, the expression of feline agency. This is not to state that there are not relations based on intersubjectivity between cats and humans in cat showing, but the focus of the activity and its power dynamics result in human interests being prioritised.
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.
Article
Full-text available
Hospitalized cats are constantly exposed to unfamiliar and potentially anxiety-producing visual and auditory stimuli. Critical care areas may require heterospecific housing of dogs and cats. For boarding, many veterinary hospitals do not have feline-only wards. In all these conditions, cats are often housed in areas with high volumes of foot traffic and high levels of ambient noise. Attempts to reduce visual stimuli have been attempted. In veterinary hospitals, towels are often hung over the front of the cage. In the shelter environment, when a cardboard box “hide,” was provided within the cage, a decrease in behavioral signs of stress has been documented . Unfortunately, these masking devices are not always a practical option in a medical setting because patients are not visible to the technical staff who need to monitor them on a frequent or continual basis. In addition, hiding structures may result in tangling of intravenous lines and monitoring devices. Boxes need to be discarded or sent home after each use; towels need to be disinfected. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect on cat behavior of a cage-front stimulus attenuation strategy that could be easily adapted to any cage. Thirty privately-owned cats, were individually placed in one of two conjoined cages (left and right), connected via a communicating tunnel inside an isolated study room. Each cage had a cage door. The left or right “start side” was randomly assigned. A previously recorded video of the sights and sounds of a veterinary inpatient ward was projected onto a screen directly in front of the cages for seventy minutes. During this time, starting at the same time each day for six consecutive days, each cat was video recorded the entire seventy minutes. On each day, cats could choose between two of the following cage front conditions according to a predetermined protocol: unshielded cage front and cage front covered with either a clear plexiglass sheet, or an opaque plexiglass sheet. Time spent on each side was calculated from video recordings of the cats. Two cat stress-scores, established by Kessler and Turner’s non-invasive Cat-Stress-Scoring (CSS) system, were calculated based on each cat’s behavior during the first and last fifteen minutes of each observation period. The results revealed that, regardless of cage fronts being compared, cats with higher stress scores in the first fifteen minutes of the observation spent significantly more time behind the cage front option that allowed for the greatest buffering of external stimuli. In addition, regardless of cage front, cats had a slight preference for the right sided cage and for the cage they were placed in. Age, sex, and time of day had no significant influence on cage front preference. These results indicate that cats who experienced elevated levels of stress in a veterinary hospital may benefit from the use of a simple stimulus abatement strategy to attenuate visual and auditory stimuli. Use of a plexiglass sheet at cage front still allows for visualization of the patient by the technical staff.
Article
Objectives: The aim of this study was to assess the knowledge and practices related to disaster preparedness among pet owners in North Portugal. The present research provides an evaluation of differences among pet owners regarding preparedness in the event of disasters. Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted among a convenience sample of 155 pet owners between September and November 2018. Subjects were interviewed using a structured questionnaire with items addressing sociodemographic characteristics and questions related to owners' emergency preparedness and practices. Results: In this study, 53.5% of the respondents thought about the possibility of a disaster. Only 21.3% of respondents reported having knowledge on the existence of a disaster kit for pets in case of an emergency. The majority (94.8%) of respondents said they were not aware of the preparedness county-level organization plans. Knowledge and preparedness were found to be significantly higher among dog owners compared with owners of other pet species. Conclusions: The results suggest that Portuguese pet owners have inadequate knowledge on how to prepare for inclusion of their pets in a disaster.
Article
Colony rooms provide cats with many opportunities to use enrichment, but animal shelters usually have finite resources to provision items. This study examined how cats select enrichment items when given a variety of options. Our goal was to identify whether certain enrichment might be particularly beneficial for different cats. Enrichment was categorized into three categories based on function (soft surfaces for resting, enclosed spaces for security, and vertical surfaces for vantage points). Demographic (sex, source of intake) and non-demographic (length of stay, floor space per cat, people present) features of the cats were entered into models as predictors. For all enrichment categories, the presence of people in the room significantly decreased item use, males used vertical surfaces more, all cats used vertical surfaces more the longer they were at the shelter, and cats that were seized or signed over from hoarding or cruelty cases used enclosed spaces more. Identifying patterns of enrichment use can allow shelters to more effectively distribute limited resources and maximize the welfare of individual cats during their stay at the shelter.
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.
Book
Full-text available
This is a book. The Preface describing contents is uploaded.
Article
Full-text available
Different test series have been developed and used to measure behaviour in shelter dogs in order to reveal individuals not suitable for re-homing due to their aggressive tendencies. However, behavioural tests previously validated on pet dogs seem to have relatively low predictability in the case of shelter dogs. Here, we investigate the potential effects of (1) timing of the behaviour testing and (2) presence of a human companion on dogs' aggressive behaviour. In Study I, shelter dogs (n=25) showed more aggression when tested in a short test series two weeks after they had been placed in the shelter compared to their responses in the same test performed 1-2 days after arrival. In Study II, the occurrence of aggressive behaviour was more probable in pet dogs (n=50) in the presence than in the absence of their passive owner. We conclude that the sensitivity of aggression tests for shelter dogs can be increased by running the test in the presence of a caretaker, and after some period of acclimatisation to the new environment. This methodology could also provide better chances for successful adoption.
Article
Full-text available
Animals entering a shelter environment may behave differently upon arrival depending upon their previous experiences and life history. To examine this, 86 domestic cats were scored using a seven-level behavioral measure for the first 3 days upon entering an animal shelter. Data were then grouped according to cats surrendered by their owner (OS) or found stray (S). Results indicate that OS cats showed the greatest behavioral measures of stress and arousal compared to S cats. Of the cats that were euthanized due to illness or disease, the mean behavioral stress rating was significantly higher in the OS group versus the S group. Examining archival data from 260 shelter cats that developed an upper respiratory infection (URI), the OS cats became ill significantly sooner than the S cats. These findings suggest that OS cats experience greater behavioral stress after entering a shelter environment, which may subsequently influence their health and well being.
Article
Full-text available
This study investigates the effect of hiding enrichment on stress and behaviour of kennelled cats. Forty-three cats were studied either with a BC SPCA Hide & Perch™ box as enrichment, or with an open bed as control. Observations consisted of Stress Score, approach test and scan sample, recorded daily over the five days following a cat's entrance into the adoption centre, and again on the 14th day if the cat was still present. Days until adoption was noted for cats adopted during the study period. A survey was given to adopters of study cats in an attempt to determine the motivations underlying their choice of cat. A significant reduction in stress was noted between all study days in the enriched group. Stress levels in this group declined further between the fifth and the 14th day, while those of the control group increased. Cats in the enriched group were significantly more likely to approach and displayed relaxed behaviours much more frequently. No significant difference was found between the two groups in days until adoption, percentage adopted, or in the reasons provided by the new owners in the adoption survey; however temperament was found to be the highest ranked reason for choosing a cat from either group. Results of this study suggest that the welfare of kennelled cats is greatly improved if they are provided with the opportunity to perform effective hiding behaviour, and that the ability to perform such a behaviour does not decrease the likelihood of those cats being adopted.
Article
Full-text available
As adult cats can often be difficult to re-home, they may spend long periods in rescue shelters where barren housing and inconsis-tent handling can reduce their welfare. In this study, 165 adult cats in an animal shelter in Vancouver, Canada, were assigned to four treatments. The Basic Single treatment reflected typical conditions in that particular shelter, with cats handled in an inconsistent manner by various staff and housed singly in relatively barren cages. Three alternative treatments involved more consistent, positive handling by only the experimenter and research assistants, plus three housing conditions: Enriched Single (individual cages with oppor-tunities to perch and hide), Basic Communal (group housing with opportunity for each cat to have personal space), and Enriched Communal (group housing enriched to encourage play and cat – cat interaction). The Basic Single treatment had the lowest percentage adopted in 21 days (45% versus 69-76% for other treatment, and higher stress scores than other treatments. The three alternative treatments did not differ significantly on any measure. Cats euthanised for poor health showed higher stress levels when alive than other cats. In a questionnaire, most adopters cited certain behavioural/emotional traits ('friendly', 'playful', 'happy') as reasons for selecting cats; these were generally associated with lower stress scores. The results suggest that consistent handling combined with a range of improved housing options can improve the chances of adoption for adult cats, perhaps by reducing fear-related behaviours that make cats less attractive to adopters.
Article
Full-text available
To identify associations among change in body weight, behavioral stress score, food intake score, and development of upper respiratory tract infection (URI) among cats admitted to an animal shelter. Prospective cohort study. Animals-60 adult cats admitted to an animal shelter. Body weight was measured on days 0 (intake), 7, 14, and 21. Behavioral stress and food intake were scored daily for the first 7 days; cats were monitored daily for URI. 49 of the 60 (82%) cats lost weight during at least 1 week while in the shelter. Fifteen (25%) cats lost ≥ 10% of their body weight while in the shelter. Thirty-five of the 60 (58%) cats developed URI prior to exiting the shelter, and only 4 cats remained at least 21 days without developing URI. Cats with high stress scores during the first week were 5.6 times as likely to develop URI as were cats with low stress scores. Food intake and stress scores were negatively correlated (r = -0.98). Results indicated that cats admitted to an animal shelter were likely to lose weight while in the shelter and likely to develop URI, and that cats that had high stress scores were more likely to develop URI.
Article
Full-text available
The welfare of seven domestic cats housed singly in a quarantine cattery was studied for six months. Behavioural data were obtained with cameras and by time-lapse video recording, and cortisol to creatinine ratios were measured in urine samples collected from litter trays. It took five weeks for the cats to show evidence of adaptation to their new environment. They spent most of the first two weeks concealed in a house on the floor of their cage. As they adapted, they spent less time hiding and more time higher in the cage. The cats were inactive for approximately 90 per cent of the time observed, and they received little human contact. Compared with the first day, the cats' cortisol to creatinine ratios were significantly lower from their second month in quarantine.
Article
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.
Article
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.
Article
INFECTIOUS disease can be potentially devastating within a multi‐cat environment if not treated and managed effectively. It is essential that housing facilities are constructed and managed well to minimise both the acquisition and spread of infection. A rapid and accurate assessment needs to be made of cats with, or potentially incubating, disease as well as the number of cats at risk. Following this, a plan to treat and limit the further spread of disease can be instituted. This article describes prevention and management strategies for the most frequently encountered feline infectious diseases within a variety of multi‐cat environments, including veterinary practices, households, rescue shelters and catteries. Further information on antiviral therapies is provided in an accompanying article on pages 454 to 457 of this issue.
Article
For cats, appropriate housing conditions and a quick adjustment to new surroundings should be promoted during temporary stays in animal shelters and boarding catteries. In this study the development of stress in 140 boarding cats during a two-week stay under single-, pair- and group-housing conditions in a boarding cattery was investigated and compared with the stress levels of 45 control cats which had been at the animal shelter for several weeks. Signs of stress were recorded by a non-invasive Cat-Stress-Score.Overall, the levels of stress in boarding cats declined during the two weeks of boarding, with a pronounced decline in the first days, but did not reach the stress levels of the control group by the end of the second week of housing. In the second week, the average stress level of about one third of all boarding cats was rated higher than 'weakly tense' with 4 per cent of cats rated even higher than 'very tense'. Neither housing style (single, paired or grouped) nor age had an influence on stress levels.It was concluded that about two thirds of the boarding cats adjusted well to the boarding cattery during a two-week stay, while for the other third, temporary boarding was more stressful. For 4 per cent of the animals the two-week stay in a boarding cattery was classified as inappropriate because no reduction of their high stress levels occurred.
Article
Cats living long-term (over one month) in shelters were assessed for behavioural indicators of stress, using a stress scoring method in combination with behavioural observation. It is hypothesised that because of the inappropriate social grouping of unrelated adult cats and group instability, communal housing creates more stress than discrete-unit housing. Seventy-two cats were observed: 36 were housed communally with unfamiliar conspecifics, and 36 were housed in discrete units, either alone or with other previously familiar conspecifics. The mean stress score was greater in communal housing than in discrete-unit housing. Stress scores range from 1 to 7, with 1 indicating no stress experienced, and 7 indicating extreme stress. Individual scores showed that cats in discrete units, in comparison to those in communal housing, gained a significantly higher percentage of observations in the score 2 category, indicating that no stress was being experienced. Cats in communal housing gained a significantly higher percentage in the score 4 category (stressed). Score 5 was found exclusively in communal housing, but only in 2% of instances. Extreme stress was not found in cats housed under either condition. Cats in the different types of housing differed in their frequencies of hiding, play, sleeping/resting in close contact with one another, and agonistic behaviour. There was no difference between housing types in frequency of eating, drinking, grooming, and toilet use. In this study, cats housed communally experienced moderately higher levels of stress than cats housed in discrete units. Further research is recommended to determine the effect on stress levels of longer shelter residence time and of changes in group size and/or density.
Article
Practical relevance: The clinical application of evidence-based enrichment strategies for the domestic cat housed in a variety of confined environments, ranging from the veterinary cage to the domestic home, is of particular importance - both in relation to providing opportunity for appropriate feline behaviour, and in the prevention and treatment of behavioural and associated health problems (eg, feline lower urinary tract disease associated with negative emotional states such as generalised anxiety). Environmental enrichment has gained particular relevance in the light of current animal welfare legislation. For example, in the UK, the Animal Welfare Act 2006 stipulates that owners/keepers have a duty of care to their animal(s) that includes allowing the animal to exhibit normal behaviour patterns. Evidence base: Research into environmental enrichment as a means of improving animal welfare is still very much in its infancy, particularly in relation to the domestic cat. Thus, evidence-based studies are somewhat sparse and more are needed to validate current recommended enrichment practices. Audience: This article aims to assist general veterinary practitioners to recognise how cats respond to confinement, and to understand what constitutes environmental enrichment, to help them implement or advise on appropriate enrichment strategies for cats confined in a hospital cage, home environment (particularly an indoor-only home), or cattery or rescue shelter, based on published evidence to date.
Article
The re-excretion of feline viral rhinotracheitis (FVR) virus (feline herpesvirus I) by FVR-recovered cats is recorded both spontaneously and following a variety of stimuli, namely, corticosteroid administration, change of housing, and parturition and lactation. At least 27 of 33 (82%) FVR-recovered cats studied were shown to be viral carriers. The carrier state was characterised by periods of viral latency interspersed with episodes of viral shedding. Administration of 0-75 mg dexamethasone trimethylacetate and 2-25 mg prednisolone on days 0,2 and 4 resulted in re-excretion after a mean lag period of 7-2 days in 22 of 32 (69%) FVR-recovered cats on a total of 31 of 57 (54%) occasions. Rehousing resulted in virus re-excretion after a mean lag period of 7-2 days in four of 22 (18%) cats tested on a total of six of 40 (15%) occasions. Apparently spontaneous shedding occurred on a total of 10 occasions in nine of 31 (29%) cats during a mean observation period of 8-8 months. Four of six FVR-recovered queens in a total of four of 10 litters (40%) shed virus within two to 10 weeks of parturition. Serum neutralising antibody titres were generally boosted at the time of first re-infection but afterwards remained essentially constant. Although 82% of cats in these studies were shown to be viral carriers, only 45% of cats shed virus spontaneously or as a result of the natural stress situations and it is postulted that these naturally excreting cats are of most significance epidemiologically.
Article
In recent years, there has been an increase in interest in applied ethology and animal welfare, and an increase in the popularity of the domestic cat. This has stimulated research on the behaviour and welfare of cats kept in different environments. This article presents a review of the recent research and makes recommendations for the housing of domestic cats in the home, in catteries and animal shelters, in laboratories and in veterinary surgeries.
Environmental Enrichment for Cats in Rescue Centres Adaptation period of laboratory animals after transport: a review
  • D Roy
  • Versity
  • U K Southhampton
  • Bsc
  • R Van Ruiven
  • G W Meijer
  • L F M Van Zutphen
  • J Hoitinga
Roy, D., 1992. Environmental Enrichment for Cats in Rescue Centres. Uni-versity of Southhampton, U.K, BSc thesis. van Ruiven, R., Meijer, G.W., van Zutphen, L.F.M., Ritkes-Hoitinga, J., 1996. Adaptation period of laboratory animals after transport: a review. Scand. J. Lab. Sci. 23, 185–190.
Cat Behaviour Working Group Feiten en Cijfers Gezelschapsdieren sector [English translation: Facts and Figures of the Pet Industry The Behaviour of the Domestic Cat
  • U ) K Anonymousufaw
  • N Borst
  • T P A Megens
  • P A M Overgauw
  • M M E M Teurlings
  • K J C Ver-Hoeven
  • J W S Bradshaw
  • R A Casey
  • S L Brown
Anonymous, 1995. An Ethogram for Behavioural Studies of the Domes-tic Cat (Felis silvestris catus L.). U.K. Cat Behaviour Working Group, Universities Federation for Animal Welfare (UFAW), U.K. Borst, N., Megens, T.P.A., Overgauw, P.A.M., Teurlings, M.M.E.M., Ver-hoeven, K.J.C., 2011. Feiten en Cijfers Gezelschapsdieren sector [English translation: Facts and Figures of the Pet Industry]. HAS KennisTransfer. Hogeschool HAS, Den Bosch, The Netherlands, http://edepot.wur.nl/186568. Bradshaw, J.W.S., Casey, R.A., Brown, S.L., 2012. The Behaviour of the Domestic Cat, 2nd Ed. CAB International, U.K. Broom, D.M., Johnson, K.G., 1993. Stress and Animal Welfare. Chapman & Hall, Animal Behaviour series, UK.
Temperament and the Welfare of Caged Cats
  • S Mccune
McCune, S., 1992. Temperament and the Welfare of Caged Cats. University of Cambridge, U.K, PhD Thesis.
Dierenbescherming Nederland (Dutch Society for the Protection of Animals) 2012. Persbericht: Nederland kattenland [press release: The Netherlands, cats' country], d.d. 25 Website: http://www. dierenbescherming.nl/nieuws/3009
  • Website
Website: http://wetten.overheid.nl/BWBR0005288/ geldigheidsdatum 12-02-2014. Dierenbescherming Nederland (Dutch Society for the Protection of Animals). 2012. Persbericht: Nederland kattenland [press release: The Netherlands, cats' country], d.d. 25 May 2012. Website: http://www. dierenbescherming.nl/nieuws/3009. Dierenbescherming Nederland (Dutch Society for the Protection of Animals). 2013. Internet site: http://www. dierenbescherming.nl/nieuws/3009.
Feiten en Cijfers Gezelschapsdieren sector
  • N Borst
  • T P A Megens
  • P A M Overgauw
  • M M E M Teurlings
  • K J C Verhoeven
Borst, N., Megens, T.P.A., Overgauw, P.A.M., Teurlings, M.M.E.M., Verhoeven, K.J.C., 2011. Feiten en Cijfers Gezelschapsdieren sector [English translation: Facts and Figures of the Pet Industry]. HAS KennisTransfer. Hogeschool HAS, Den Bosch, The Netherlands, http://edepot.wur.nl/186568.
Environmental Enrichment for Cats in Rescue Centres. University of Southhampton
  • D Roy
Roy, D., 1992. Environmental Enrichment for Cats in Rescue Centres. University of Southhampton, U.K, BSc thesis.
An Ethogram for Behavioural Studies of the Domestic Cat (Felis silvestris catus L.). U.K. Cat Behaviour Working Group
  • Anonymous
Anonymous, 1995. An Ethogram for Behavioural Studies of the Domestic Cat (Felis silvestris catus L.). U.K. Cat Behaviour Working Group, Universities Federation for Animal Welfare (UFAW), U.K.