Article

The Domestic Cat: The Biology of its Behaviour

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  • I.E.A.P./I.E.T., Inst. for applied Ethology and Animal Psychology
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Abstract

The most commonly kept domestic animal in the developed world, the cat has been a part of human life for thousands of years. Cats have been both worshipped and persecuted over this long period - either loved or hated for their enigmatic self-reliance and the subject of numerous myths and fables. Highlighting startling discoveries made over the last ten years, this new edition features contributions from experts in a wide range of fields, providing authoritative accounts of the behaviour of cats and how they interact with people. Thoroughly revised and updated to include information on the basic features of cat development and social life, the history of their relations with humans, health and welfare problems, and the breeding of cats for sale and for show. It is intended for all those, whether specialist or general reader, who love or are simply intrigued by these fascinating animals.

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... Taking advantage of a high adaptability and following human migrations, the domestic cat Felis catus has colonized a wide variety of habitats, ranging from urban areas to nonanthropized islands, through, agricultural areas, arid or semi-arid areas, villages or cities, from polar to equatorial climatic regions [16]. However, due to the behavioural plasticity of this species, population density and structure vary, depending on the abundance and distribution of food resources and shelters [16, 17]. ...
... Taking advantage of a high adaptability and following human migrations, the domestic cat Felis catus has colonized a wide variety of habitats, ranging from urban areas to nonanthropized islands, through, agricultural areas, arid or semi-arid areas, villages or cities, from polar to equatorial climatic regions [16]. However, due to the behavioural plasticity of this species, population density and structure vary, depending on the abundance and distribution of food resources and shelters [16, 17]. In particular, cat populations are structured differently along an urban-rural-non-anthropized ( " wild " ) gradient (Figure 2). ...
... The highest densities of cats are found in urban populations of stray cats locally more than 1000 cats/ km² [18, 19]. At these high densities, cats form large multimale–multifemale social groups and share their territory, as well as available resources [16]. Most resources are provided directly or not, by people (feeders, garbage) [19]. ...
... To ensure homogeneous detection probabilities throughout a camera trapping session, no baits or lures were used. Cameras were set up at a height of between 30 and 100 cm (to cover cat body height), directed towards the track preferentially used by cats (Turner and Bateson 2014;Recio et al. 2015), and were checked to confirm that the camera's shutter was triggered (Wang and Macdonald 2009;Nichols et al. 2017). There was an interval of ten seconds between trigger events, with three images captured in each of them, to maximise cat identification and to reduce the risk of fuzzy pictures. ...
... Algar et al. 2010;Lazenby et al. 2015). Traps were deployed near paths and unsealed roads used by cats (Turner and Bateson 2014;Recio et al. 2015;Palmas et al. 2017). They were hidden in vegetation and out of direct public sight. ...
... These results could also support the hypothesis that the remaining cats may increase their range post-culling, having to move farther to access mates. Male territories are primarily determined by access to females, whereas female territories are primarily determined by prey availability and distribution of other females (Liberg et al. 2000;Turner and Bateson 2014). For this reason, the cats increasing their range in our study are more likely to be males, since we removed more females. ...
Article
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Invasive feral cats threaten biodiversity at a global scale. Mitigating feral cat impacts and reducing their populations has therefore become a global conservation priority, especially on islands housing high endemic biodiversity. The New Caledonian archipelago is a biodiversity hotspot showing outstanding terrestrial species richness and endemism. Feral cats prey upon at least 44 of its native vertebrate species, 20 of which are IUCN Red-listed threatened species. To test the feasibility and efficiency of culling, intensive culling was conducted in a peninsula of New Caledonia (25.6 km²) identified as a priority site for feral cat management. Live-trapping over 38 days on a 10.6 km² area extirpated 36 adult cats, an estimated 44% of the population. However, three months after culling, all indicators derived from camera-trapping (e.g., abundance, minimum number of individuals and densities) suggest a return to pre-culling levels. Compensatory immigration appears to explain this unexpectedly rapid population recovery in a semi-isolated context. Since culling success does not guarantee a long-term effect, complementary methods like fencing and innovative automated traps need to be used, in accordance with predation thresholds identified through modelling, to preserve island biodiversity. Testing general assumptions on cat management, this article contributes important insights into a challenging conservation issue for islands and biodiversity hotspots worldwide.
... They are one of the primary drivers for the decline and extinction of Australia's fauna, contributing to the extinction of at least 22 endemic mammals, with a further 75 mammals threatened with extinction (Woinarski et al. 2015;Doherty et al. 2016). Small mammals in the 'critical weight range' (35-5500 g) are highly susceptible to feral cat predation (Burbidge and McKenzie 1989;Turner and Bateson 2000). Feral cats have also caused the failure of reintroduction attempts of the golden bandicoot (Isoodon auratus), western barred bandicoot (Perameles bougainville), greater bilby (Macrotis lagotis), and burrowing bettong (Bettongia lesueur) (Moseby et al. 2011;Doherty et al. 2016;Short 2016). ...
... Until European settlement, bandicoots may have had only one eutherian predator, the dingo (Canis dingo; Crowther et al. 2014), due to continental isolation (Salo et al. 2007), which could explain why cues from feral cats did not provoke aversive behaviours in bandicoots. Mammalian predators, including cats, leave olfactory cues within their territory via urine, faeces and/or glandular secretions (Turner and Bateson 2000;Tortosa et al. 2015). Prey can 'eavesdrop' and detect predator activity, avoid the area and decrease the likelihood of encountering a predator (Hughes et al. 2009(Hughes et al. , 2012. ...
... Live or taxidermy model predators are commonly used when conducting predator aversion training (McLean et al. 1994;Griffin and Evans 2003;West et al. 2017); however, this was not possible due to Zoos Victoria's strong quarantine and welfare restrictions. Visual cues were also avoided as cats generally use sit-and-wait techniques before ambushing prey (Turner and Bateson 2000) making any bandicoot vigilance and aversion tactics ineffective. ...
Article
Globally, predator aversion training has assisted naive prey species to learn to evade introduced predators, improving translocation success. Eastern barred bandicoots (Perameles gunnii; hereafter ‘bandicoot’) are extinct on mainland Australia due to habitat loss and introduced predators, and are the focus of a long-term captive breeding and reintroduction program. Our trials showed that captive bandicoots failed to recognise cat (Felis catus) scents as belonging to a predator, suggesting prey naivety towards cats. We trialled five stimuli to elicit short-term fear behaviour in bandicoots. An automatic compressed air spray and automatic bin lid were most effective. We coupled these stimuli with cat urine during predator aversion training and presented them to bandicoots on three occasions. Bandicoots learnt to avoid the area containing cat urine, suggesting bandicoots are capable of learning new behaviours rapidly. Six trained and five untrained captive bandicoots where released onto Summerland Peninsular, Phillip Island (with cat densities at 1.1 cats/km2). Both had high survival and recapture rates 7 months after release. Training endangered species to avoid introduced predators could assist with long-term species recovery.
... ASD People generally show great attention to details (Happe, 1999), and this special interest could explain why it seems easier for them to " read " animals. Indeed, ears are one of the most informant areas of an animal's face (e.g., dog, Serpell, 1995; cat, Turner & Bateson, 2000; horse, Mills & McDonnell, 2005). Gross (2002Gross ( , 2004Gross ( , 2005) asked different groups of children – includ i ng children with ASD -to recognize age and emotion on human and nonhuman faces (e.g., dog, cat, orang-utan). ...
... Results are influenced by ASD cognit ive functioning, and hence, depend on the task (i.e., passive face viewing). Although our study focused on faces -probably one of the most important visual stimuli in human social communication -other parts of both human (e.g., Aviezer et al., 2012) and animal (e.g., general posture, tail; Mills & McDonnell, 2005; Serpell, 1995; Turner & Bateson, 2000) bodies emit social cues. Investigations of real life social scenes with animals and humans should improve our understanding of the visual processing of ASD children, maybe using pictures of whole bodies (multiple-characteristic static stimuli) and/or video recordings (single or multiple-characteristic dynamic stimuli) and/or with an emotional aspect. ...
Article
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Animals are part of humans' social environment and present numerous benefits. Each partner in a human-animal interaction uses signals emitted by the other (e.g. postures, gestures or gaze directions) to collect information to adjust their behaviour. Face processing impairment is associated with social interaction impairment observed in autism spectrum disorders (ASD). For example children with ASD explore human eyes visually less than do neurotypical (NT) children. Given the strong bonding between ASD children and animals, we hypothesized that animal face processing by ASD is normal. Thus, our study compared ASD (n=12) and NT (n=18) childrens' patterns of fixation of animal (horse, dog, and cat) and human faces in a passive viewing task using an eye tracking technique. Our results, using animal pictures, confirmed that the eyes were the part of the face looked at the longest by NT children and, to a lesser extent, by ASD children, but only NT children looked at the eyes of human pictures longer than other parts. Familiarity with animals seemed to modulate the exploration of animal, especially cat faces. Implications for understanding social interaction impairment related to ASD are discussed.
... No teste 2, a caixa e o corredor foram os locais mais utilizados. Gatos preferem locais elevados de onde possam vigiar (Rochlitz, 2000) e tais caixas ficam nessas posições. A caixa também representa um local para se esconder (Rochlitz, 2000), o que também pode estar relacionado ao seu maior uso. ...
... Gatos preferem locais elevados de onde possam vigiar (Rochlitz, 2000) e tais caixas ficam nessas posições. A caixa também representa um local para se esconder (Rochlitz, 2000), o que também pode estar relacionado ao seu maior uso. O uso do corredor associa-se à transição de um ambiente a outro, demonstrando que o experimentador gerou a movimentação para locais onde talvez pudessem observá-lo melhor ou/e se esconder. ...
Article
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Resumo Diversos estudos envolvendo gatos domésticos têm sido realizados sem que antes haja a habituação entre o pesquisador e os animais. Esta situação não é ideal, pois o estresse gerado pela presença de um desconhecido pode interferir negativamente nos resultados do estudo e, mais importante, reduzir o nível de bem-estar dos animais envolvidos. Não são conhecidos trabalhos formais traçando um modelo de habituação neste contexto. Assim, o presente estudo objetivou avaliar o processo de habituação de gatos domésticos adultos, em cativeiro, durante a interação com o homem, a partir de uma sequência de testes que possam ser utilizados para minimizar as interferências negativas desta interação em situações futuras. Três testes com duração de quatro dias cada foram elaborados baseando-se na distância de fuga, nas reações comportamentais dos animais na presença constante do experimentador e no oferecimento de estímulo alimentar. Os comportamentos de fuga e vigilância foram significativos e a redução destes pôde indicar a habituação com a presença humana. A motivação em evitar o contato com o experimentador muitas vezes foi superior à motivação em obter o alimento, mostrando a aversão que o pesquisador desconhecido pode representar para alguns dos animais. Neste trabalho, foi possível verificar que há animais que adotam a estratégia de fuga para se afastar do experimentador, há os que toleram sua aproximação e os que, além de tolerá-la, exibem aproximação espontânea. A habituação pode ocorrer na presença constante do pesquisador, principalmente para aqueles animais que não exibem fuga. O oferecimento de um estímulo alimentar facilita a habituação.
... The majority of guardians use double cat bowls for food and water simultaneously, as they are unaware that cats prefer to eat and drink in different places (Rochlitz, 2005). Many guardians place bowls near noisy appliances and in high-traffic areas, which suggests that they disregard noise and confusion as stress factors for their cats (Hostutler et al., 2005; Turner & Bateson, 2000). On the other hand, several guardians do not provide access to fresh or moving water, a beneficial strategy that not only attracts cats' curiosity, but also increases total daily water intake and helps prevent feline lower urinary tract disorders (Rochlitz, 2005; Westropp & Buffington, 2004). ...
... A 10-min to 15-min daily playing session should be encouraged. Cheap materials such as paper bags, cardboard boxes, tubes, feathers, ropes, pocket lasers, and flashlights are great tools (Turner & Bateson, 2000). There is still a lack of information regarding more specific methods of FEE. ...
Article
Feline environmental enrichment can prevent numerous disorders including anxiety, stress, obesity, and feline idiopathic cystitis. Despite its easy implementation and low cost, it has received little attention. The main goal of this study was to assess guardians' knowledge concerning feline environmental enrichment and husbandry practices. A questionnaire was given to 130 companion animal guardians at the Lisbon Veterinary Faculty's Teaching Hospital. The applications of 22 environmental enrichment measures related to food/water, litter box, and space/entertainment areas were evaluated. The majority of the households studied (74.6%) had a moderately enriched environment. Hygiene-related measures were those most adopted by guardians, while those requiring guardians' commitment or previous awareness were the least implemented. A rating scale was proposed and applied to assess feline domestic environmental quality.
... To our knowledge, provision of a familiar scent profile has not yet been validated as an enrichment strategy despite being used in many catteries. We expected a preference for the owner scented resting area as cats are strongly affected by olfactory cues (Crowell-Davis et al., 2004; Feldman, 1994) and many housecats have an intricate bond with their owner (Edwards et al., 2007; Karsh and Turner, 1988). The second aim of our study was to investigate relationships between space use, behaviour and stress during confinement. ...
... This finding, together with a trend towards lower relative faecal glucocorticoid metabolite among cats receiving extended interaction, provides evidence in favour of social interaction as an alternative enrichment strategy and should be considered in future research. During the process of domestication, cats have become increasingly more sociable towards humans (Casey and Bradshaw, 2008; Crowell-Davis et al., 2004; Karsh and Turner, 1988), in particular owned pet cats that often form intricate bonds with their owners (Edwards et al., 2007). Hence, this enrichment strategy may be of particular importance to owned cats, as they have shown to be significantly more stressed in confinement compared to strays, presumably because of the added stress of being devoid of social contact (Dybdall et al., 2007). ...
... Thus, the link between the experimenter and the animals increasing their feeding frequency and duration of the animals' feeding was due to a pre-existing positive relationship between both parties in this type of situation. According to Turner (2000), the feeding time influences the potential of enduring relationships between humans and cats. The feeding time is usually related to a location and a specific time, and this specificity differs from other relationships between humans and these animals, which are less frequent and specific (Mertens, 1991). ...
... The group of animals that were cared for longer and engaged in activities with humans were more active in the presence of humans. For indoor cats, feeding time becomes one of the regular contacts between the animal and the caretaker when she leaves the home for extended periods, and this contact usually occurs during the early morning and at night (Mertens, 1991, Turner, 2000). Strickler and Shull (2014) questioned 227 cat owners regarding the time dedicated to daily " play " interactions with their animals and whether the cats exhibited some abnormalFigure 5. Means AE standard error of the frequency of feeding behavior exhibited in the presence and absence of the experimenter. ...
Article
Knowledge of the organization and dynamics of the relationships between animals and the environment and its resources is important to meet the needs of any species. We analyzed the effect the presence of a person known to the cats had on their feeding behavior, and the effect of how the cats used the feeders on a colony of 35 domestic cats who lived in a sanctuary. Cats were observed for 24 hours per day for 5 days in the feeding area of the enclosure. Our results indicate that the individuals in the colony organized themselves within their feeding area, with some of these individuals using a specific feeder, whereas others used both feeders. Individuals consistently exhibited increased feeding behavior in the presence of a human who provided fresh food ( = 4.11 ± 0.62 minutes when humans were present compared with = 0.17 ± 0.01 minutes when that human was absent, P < 0.0079). These data reveal that the members of the colony organized themselves to access existing resources in the environment and that the presence of a person known to the cats influences the feeding behavior of those animals. This information helps promote a potentially comfortable environment, with respect to intraspeficic relationships and the animal-human relationship, an important consideration in management of this species when living in confined environments.
... For example, anthropogenic food resources may attract some potential predators of sparrows such as feral cats. They may hunt sparrows and also affect their abundance by the non-lethal effect of fear (Lima 1998; Turner and Bateson 2000; Krauze-Gryz et al. 2013). Moreover, it must be noted that the association between the abundance of the two sparrow species and food resources was altered by the abundance of corvids. ...
Article
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Every species has certain habitat requirements, which may be altered by interactions with other co-occurring species. These interactions are mostly ignored in predictive models trying to identify key habitat variables correlated with species population abundance/occurrence. We investigated how the structure of the urban landscape, food resources, potential competitors, predators, and interaction between these factors influence the abundance of house sparrow Passer domesticus and the tree sparrow P. montanus in sixty 25 ha plots distributed randomly across residential areas of the city of Poznań (Poland). The abundance of the house sparrow was positively correlated with the abundance of pigeons but negatively correlated with human-related food resources. There were significant interaction terms between abundances of other urban species and habitat variables in statistical models. For example, the abundance of house sparrow was negatively correlated with the abundance of corvids and tree sparrows but only when food resources were low. The abundance of tree sparrows positively correlated with density of streets and the distance from the city center. The abundance of this species positively correlated with the abundance of corvids when food resources were low but negatively correlated at low covers of green area. Our study indicates that associations between food resources, habitat covers, and the relative abundance of two sparrow species are altered by the abundance of other urban species. Competition, niche separation and social facilitation may be responsible for these interactive effects. Thus, biotic interactions should be included not only as an additive effect but also as an interaction term between abundance and habitat variables in statistical models predicting species abundance and occurrence.
... These barriers, as well as the action of evolutionary forces like natural selection (French et al., 1988; Daniels and Corbett, 2003), might have kept themselves at these low levels of introgression in normal conditions. However, reducing the population density of wildcats (mainly due to persecution and habitat destruction), as well as an increase in the density of domestic cats associated with greater humanization of the territory (e.g. Turner and Bateson, 2000), increases the likelihood of hybridization (Stahl and Artois, 1991; Council of Europe, 1993). In fact this is what happened in Scotland (see Easterbee et al., 1991), and probably is what is happening now in Hungary. ...
Chapter
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The wildcat (Felis silvestris) is considered as a "strictly protected" species under current European legislation. The European wildcat range extends from the Iberian Peninsula to the Caucasus Mountains and up to Scotland in the north. However, its continental distribution is largely fragmented at regional and local scales. According to this fragmented pattern wildcat populations remain isolated, many of them facing real extinction risks. Under this scenario, preserving all the European populations will maximize the species viability on the long term. Even so, considering that Mediterranean populations constitute the half of the species in Europe, and even probably the best preserved populations from a genetic point of view, their conservation is expected to be especially relevant. Several factors, such as habitat destruction, direct and indirect persecution and hybridization with domestic cats, currently threaten wildcat populations in Europe. The relative importance of different threats is expected to vary among regions and populations, but there is much demographic information lacking from these populations to adequately establish conservation issue priorities. The infiltration of domestic cat genes on the wildcat's gene pool, i.e. introgression, is being considered one of the main threats, suggesting special conservation measures such as feral cat control in the wild, aimed at maintaining the genetic integrity of wildcat populations. While any conservation effort should be acknowledged, the results from most genetic analyses do not seem to justify the alarm and efforts devoted to fight introgression, especially in the Mediterranean areas, where this issue can be considered as minor such as shown by studies conducted in the studied populations. On the other hand, other threats such as habitat destruction and non-natural mortality are not receiving enough attention, when in fact these might be more urgent and among the ultimate causes of genetic introgression. Here we highlight current knowledge gaps such as the location and size of viable wildcat populations, their demographic parameters, degree of gene flow and their main selective pressures, as well as the effect of man-induced mortality and habitat alteration on population dynamics. All these gaps, among others, hamper our ability to identify and prioritise conservation problems. Thus, we also propose throughout the text study guidelines to fill these issues, which will help get a better picture of the situation and to design effective conservation strategies.
... Interestingly, pet dogs serve as attachment fijigures especially for those who regarded their dogs as strongly meeting needs for relatedness. Other companion animals, such as cats, are also often regarded as being social partners by humans (Turner, 2000) and they may also provide social support for their human guardians (Podberscek et al., 1995). Importantly, however, it is unclear whether any companion animals other than dogs could provide attachment security for their human caregivers because detailed investigations are scarce. ...
... It is common for their prey, such as birds, to have wide fields of sight and to be capable of predator detection and avoidance over a distance. In the natural world, hunting behaviours of cats can be categorised into " mobile " and " stationary " , the former being applied in areas abundant in prey while the latter, which consists in ambushing, when the cat is located in areas of interest [Dennis C. Turner (2000)]. Cats generally employ a stealthy approach followed by a short rush before striking [Kleiman and Eisenberg (1973)] . ...
Thesis
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Interactive virtual environments pose a wide variety of challenges for intelligent agents, especially to make decisions in order to reach their goals. The difficulty of decision making tasks rises quickly when introducing continuous space and real time. It also becomes increasingly harder to build intelligent agents that can meaningfully interpret and act in unknown situations. In this thesis, we take inspiration from cognitive science, specifically from how humans perform mental simulation to anticipate events in the world around them, with the aim of obtaining an autonomous agent that makes decisions and adapts itself to novel situations. The mental simulation paradigm enjoys significant interest from the cognitive science community, but computational approaches to mental simulation rely on specialised simulators for a given task and thus are limited to specific scenarios. Our contribution is a generic agent architecture (ORPHEUS) which supports decision-making based on the simulation of functional models of the world ahead of time, inspired from how humans imagine the outer world and the outcomes of their actions based on the state of the real environment. The novelty of our approach consists in its ability to integrate both physical and behavioural predictions into the same framework, based on heterogeneous mental models which are used to evolve internal, imaginary scenarios within the agent. We apply our generic architecture to different contexts, including artificial intelligence competitions, which require the agent using our approach to perform physical and behavioural anticipation in continuous space and time. We evaluate the applicability of our approach to realistic conditions such as noisy perception, decision time constraints and imperfect world models. Results demonstrate the genericness of our approach from one scenario to another without modifying the agent architecture, and highlight the possible uses of the proposed mental simulation framework.
... To identify individual cats, we recorded coat colours and patterns by using the formally recognised descriptions used by cat breeders and fanciers (Turner and Bateson 2000). Classifications for coat colour were black, white, orange, grey or cream; for pattern, they were solid, bicolour, tricolour and tabby. ...
Article
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Context Feral cats (Felis catus) threaten biodiversity in many parts of the world, including Australia. Low-level culling is often used to reduce their impact, but in open cat populations the effectiveness of culling is uncertain. This is partly because options for assessing this management action have been restricted to estimating cat activity rather than abundance. Aims We measured the response, including relative abundance, of feral cats to a 13-month pulse of low-level culling in two open sites in southern Tasmania. Methods To do this we used remote cameras and our analysis included identification of individual feral cats. We compared estimates of relative abundance obtained via capture-mark-recapture and minimum numbers known to be alive, and estimates of activity obtained using probability of detection and general index methods, pre- and post-culling. We also compared trends in cat activity and abundance over the same time period at two further sites where culling was not conducted. Key results Contrary to expectation, the relative abundance and activity of feral cats increased in the cull-sites, even though the numbers of cats captured per unit effort during the culling period declined. Increases in minimum numbers of cats known to be alive ranged from 75% to 211% during the culling period, compared with pre- and post-cull estimates, and probably occurred due to influxes of new individuals after dominant resident cats were removed. Conclusions Our results showed that low-level ad hoc culling of feral cats can have unwanted and unexpected outcomes, and confirmed the importance of monitoring if such management actions are implemented. Implications If culling is used to reduce cat impacts in open populations, it should be as part of a multi-faceted approach and may need to be strategic, systematic and ongoing if it is to be effective.
... The cat (Felis catus, Linneaus 1758) was domesticated about 10,000 years ago, and is now one of the most popular pets of the world with more than 600 million individuals (Driscoll et al., 2009; Turner & Bateson, 2000). Domestic cats have developed a more extensive, variable and complex vocal repertoire than most other members of the Carnivora, which can be explained by their social organisation, their nocturnal activity and the long period of association between mother and young (Bradshaw, 1992). ...
Conference Paper
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Introducing a new cat to a home with resident cats may lead to stress, aggression and even fights. In this case study 468 agonistic cat vocalisations were recorded as one cat was introduced to three resident cats in her new home. Six vocalisation types were identified: growl, howl, howl-growl, hiss, spit and snarl. Numerous other intermediate and complex vocalisations were also observed. An acoustic analysis showed differences within and between all types. Future studies include further acoustic analyses of cat vocalisations produced by a larger number of cats.
... This allows the efficient allocation of limited attentional capacity. This hypothesis builds on previous suggestions that the purpose of marking between cats is to exchange odours so they become familiarised with one another [23], [29], [40] and laboratory cats have been found to make more direct contacts with an unfamiliar person than with a familiar one [41] . These results are consistent with an expansion of the familiarisation hypothesis that includes a social preference for the owner, as described by Mills et al., [39]. ...
Article
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The Ainsworth Strange Situation Test (SST) has been widely used to demonstrate that the bond between both children and dogs to their primary carer typically meets the requirements of a secure attachment (i.e. the carer being perceived as a focus of safety and security in otherwise threatening environments), and has been adapted for cats with a similar claim made. However methodological problems in this latter research make the claim that the cat-owner bond is typically a secure attachment, operationally definable by its behaviour in the SST, questionable. We therefore developed an adapted version of the SST with the necessary methodological controls which include a full counterbalance of the procedure. A cross-over design experiment with 20 cat-owner pairs (10 each undertaking one of the two versions of the SST first) and continuous focal sampling was used to record the duration of a range of behavioural states expressed by the cats that might be useful for assessing secure attachment. Since data were not normally distributed, non-parametric analyses were used on those behaviours shown to be reliable across the two versions of the test (which excluded much cat behaviour). Although cats vocalised more when the owner rather the stranger left the cat with the other individual, there was no other evidence consistent with the interpretation of the bond between a cat and its owner meeting the requirements of a secure attachment. These results are consistent with the view that adult cats are typically quite autonomous, even in their social relationships, and not necessarily dependent on others to provide a sense of security and safety. It is concluded that alternative methods need to be developed to characterise the normal psychological features of the cat-owner bond.
... People regularly interact with cats, whether as pets or as feral animals. As pets, indoor cats have been shown to provide substantial quality-of-life benefits, both psychologically and physiologically , to their owners (Karsh and Turner, 1988). Owners of pet cats interact through such activities as grooming, petting, feeding , cleaning or handling fecal material, and cleaning indoor areas where cats have been active. ...
... Because the sampling effort devoted to both regions was the same, we could correlate the difference found in the number of samples between the two regions with the number of specimens of domestic cats found in the two regions. The diet of the domestic cats in the study area consisted of a large variety of food items, which confirmed a generalist diet (Nogales and Medina 1996, Turner and Bateson 2000, Bonnaud et al. 2007 ) and an opportunistic predation behavior (Barratt 1997). The constant presence of vegetable matter, particularly grass, in the analyzed samples may be correlated with sanitary aspects and help to promote intestinal transit as well as the cohesion of ingested material and the elimination of parasites (Fitzgerald 1988). ...
... The data from the Cochin coast shows that the numbers of feral cats are more in this area. Feral cats are considered as predators which are able to feed on any animal ranging from insect to mammals (Tidemann C. R., et al., 1994; Turner D. C., and Bateson P., 2000; Bonnaud E., et al., 2007). Feral cats can adjust to any available diet and is an opportunistic feeder and can thrive in any harsh environment (Apps P. J., 1983; Bonnaud E., et al., 2007).There are also reports stating that the feral cats can cross with jungle cats resulting in the loss of the species from the particular area.(Oliveria ...
Article
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A comprehensive schedule/questionnaire survey was conducted among the populace of the Coastline districts of Western slope of Southern Western Ghats to appraise the subsistence of diverse small mammalian fauna in this area. For analysis, the coastline districts were considered as three divisions, the Northern end as Malabar Coast, Southern end as Travancore coast and center as Cochin coast. Survey was conducted in every Panchayath revenue division by two to five independent observers by Schedule/questionnaire methods and direct habitat assessment. Along with this a detailed appraisal of the habitat coverage and various pressure to the existing habitat were studied, in order to assess the possibility of existence of small mammals, especially of small carnivores like civets and lesser cats. Threat Index (TI) and habitat vulnerability index (HVI), was estimated based on anthropogenic stress (AS), habitat cover (HC), poaching (P) and opinion of existence (OE). The report implies that Malabar Coast is diverse with almost every sort of small mammal, in particular small carnivores, followed by the Travancore coastline tract. Reason correlates with the continuance of superior habitat cover and moderately lesser threat. From the study it is recommended that the rare and nocturnal animal like rusty spotted cat and fishing cat may exists in these areas, nevertheless, ruling out the possibility of Malabar civet cat. The study is reminiscent of a continuous in depth monitoring of small mammals, especially petite carnivores and to recognize and safeguard the habitats of this animals in view of conservation.
... Cats are generalist predators feeding on a wide range of prey species. In addition, their predatory behavior is often opportunistic, eating prey that is the most abundant and easy to catch (Turner and Bateson 2001). Due to this predatory behavior, the impact of cats is correlated to prey assemblage, availability and abundance. ...
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Domestic cats are one of the most widespread predators on islands worldwide and are responsible for numerous reductions and extinctions of species on islands. The three main islands of the Hyères Archipelago house one of the largest colonies of the Mediterranean endemic Yelkouan shearwater Puffinus yelkouan that has recently been up-listed by the IUCN to ‘vulnerable’. The main objectives of this study were to assess the diet of cats and to study the effect of cat predation on Yelkouan shearwater populations at the archipelago scale. The diet of cats was studied using scat analyses according to years and seasons for each island. Simultaneously, Yelkouan shearwater breeding success was monitored during a period of 8 years on Port-Cros and Porquerolles, and 3 years on Le Levant. Descriptive analyses and GLM were used to compare data gathered on each island. At the archipelago scale, cats preyed strongly upon introduced mammals and shearwaters. Surprisingly, large differences appeared in cats’ diet according to the island considered. The Yelkouan shearwater was the primary prey of cats on Le Levant, but secondary on Port-Cros and Porquerolles. Cat predation was mainly concentrated during the shearwater prospecting period, when birds arrive at the colonies and look for a mate (if they are not already paired) and a burrow before breeding. Consequently cat impact was low on shearwater breeding success. However, this study demonstrates that the cat management conducted on Port-Cros was positive for fledging success. The successful cat eradication on Port-Cros supports the need to continue working for Yelkouan shearwater conservation with Le Levant as a priority, because this is where the colonies are largest and predation on Yelkouan shearwaters is very high.
... Because the sampling effort devoted to both regions was the same, we could correlate the difference found in the number of samples between the two regions with the number of specimens of domestic cats found in the two regions. The diet of the domestic cats in the study area consisted of a large variety of food items, which confirmed a generalist diet (Nogales and Medina 1996, Turner and Bateson 2000, Bonnaud et al. 2007 ) and an opportunistic predation behavior (Barratt 1997). The constant presence of vegetable matter, particularly grass, in the analyzed samples may be correlated with sanitary aspects and help to promote intestinal transit as well as the cohesion of ingested material and the elimination of parasites (Fitzgerald 1988). ...
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The domestic cat Felis silvestris catus is considered a potential threat to the native fauna of regions it populates, particularly when it has free access to these areas. Although this problem is known in Brazil, little is known regarding the effects of this species on natural areas. This study aimed to obtain information concerning the diet of domestic cats by identifying the main items found in fecal samples from domestic cats. In addition, the effects of seasonality on the diet were examined, as it has been hypothesized that seasonal variation of food items has little influence of the diet of the domestic cat. These semi-domiciled cats are thought to face a constant and continuous supply food offered by their owners throughout the year. Feces were collected in a remnant fragment of an Atlantic Forest located south of the municipality of Ilha Comprida - SP, Brazil. These samples provided important information regarding the dietary ecology and predation behavior of this species in endangered forest areas. The results of the scat content analyses demonstrated that domestic cats inserted in this biome presented a generalist and opportunist diet with little seasonal variation, even when receiving food from their owners. The most frequently consumed groups of prey were insects (20.8%) followed by mammals (13.9%) and birds (4.0%). Although the cat is not the only factor that impacts the species of the region, management programs need to be established in conjunction with the local community with the aim of minimizing the pressure exerted by these animals on the native fauna.
... The descriptive components of these physical characteristics were evaluated with regard to their meaning, clarity, and ability to accurately communicate what the animal is doing, as well as the frequency of their use. Additional historic sources of information on felids were frequently consulted in order to verify the descriptions of the behaviors and investigate any species-specific tendencies , including: Bradshaw (1992), Estes (1991), Ewer (1973), Kitchener (1991, Leyhausen (1979), Macdonald and Loveridge (2010), Sunquist and Sunquist (2002), Turner and Bateson (2000), and Wemmer and Scow (1977). Selection of useful behavioral categories began by identifying the 20% most commonly used in the literature reviewed (N = 22). ...
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Standardized ethograms offer many practical benefits to behavioral researchers, and several examples exist today for various species and taxa. Despite historic evidence that suggests the family Felidae share similar behavioral repertoires, no standardized ethogram providing comprehensive behavioral definitions exists. In order to create a working ethogram for the Felidae, we conducted a thorough literature review of published articles and books containing behavioral definitions designed for felid species. A total of 95 documents qualified for inclusion, and each was evaluated to identify the terminology used in its behavioral definitions, along with any categorization implemented. The articles included the behaviors of 30 species and 40 subspecies of felids, with the most frequent single study species being the domestic cat (Felis catus), followed by several “big cats”. The results were organized into the following mutually exclusive groups for comparison: domestic cat studies, big cat studies, and small cat studies excluding domestic cats (i.e. small exotic cats). Systematic review of definitions confirmed that researchers tend to define felid behavior in similar manners, although some divergence was found between the inclusion of behaviors in domestic and exotic (non-domestic) cat studies. Information from the literature review was used to create a standardized, universal ethogram for use in future felid behavioral studies. The final ethogram suggests the use of “base behaviors” which can be altered using pre-defined modifiers in order to accommodate the requirements of individual studies while retaining consistent terminology. Common behavioral categories are also defined, and suggestions of behaviors that qualify within each category are presented to further assist researchers when developing their study. The ethogram was designed to be user-friendly with clear definitions for each behavior, which should be coherent to a diverse range of observers. We anticipate that use of this ethogram will save researchers time and effort in creating behavioral definitions for their study, while also assisting in unifying felid behavioral research.
... Humans have introduced the domestic cat (Felis catus) to almost every region of the world (Long 2003). Cats live with humans as companion animals and also in self-sustaining feral populations that obtain their food and shelter needs independently of humans (Turner and Bateson 2013). The feral cat is an opportunistic, generalist carnivore; small and medium-sized mammals, such as rodents and rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus), are their primary food source in many locations, but they also feed on birds, reptiles, amphibians, invertebrates and carrion to varying degrees (Fitzgerald and Turner 2000; Doherty et al. 2015a). ...
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The diet of sympatric dingoes and feral cats was studied in the semiarid southern rangelands of Western Australia. A total of 163 scats were collected over a period of 19 months. Rabbit remains were the most common food item in cat scats, followed by reptiles, small mammals and birds. Macropod remains were the most common food item in dingo scats, followed by rabbits and birds. Dingo scats did not contain small mammal remains, and infrequently contained arthropod and reptile remains. Cat and dingo scats contained remains from 11 and six mammal species, respectively. Of the small mammals, cat scats contained rodent remains more frequently than those of dasyurids. Dietary diversity of cats was higher than for dingoes and dietary overlap between the two species was relatively low.
... On the early hours of lactation the Iberian lynx, as many other mammals, ingest the colostrum, a form of milk produced in late pregnancy that contains important nutrients and other substances such as antibodies that are necessary for the protection of newborns [Chucri et al., 2010]. Malnutrition in early lactation of felids can lead to alterations in brain development and to the exhibition of anomalous behavior in later stages of ontogeny [Bateson, 2000]. The time Iberian lynx spent suckling from birth to weaning is low compared to the domestic cat, which can spend up to 35% of the time lactating up until the onset of the weaning period [Schneirla et al., 1963]. ...
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Understanding the behavior of endangered species is crucial to improve the management tools to breed animals in captivity and, thus, to increase the success of ex situ conservation programs. In this study, we monitored suckling behavior of 26 cubs born between 2008 and 2012 at "El Acebuche" Iberian Lynx Breeding Centre. The cubs devoted 251 ± 19.7 min (mean ± SE) to lactation on the day of birth, while mothers spent 426 ± 27 min (mean ± SE) nursing their offspring. The time cubs spent suckling decreased exponentially as they grown, until they were fully weaned at 65 ± 2.6 days. The onset of weaning (first intake of solid food) occurred at 54 ± 1.35 days (mean ± SE). Thus, the strict lactation period occupied most of the overall lactation period. Both suckling and maternal behavior were affected by litter size. In twins and triplets, the competition between siblings caused a decrease in the time spent suckling, in spite of the mothers spending more time nursing their young. Finally, no significant differences were found in time spent suckling between littermates or depending on the sex of the cub. Lactation appeared to play a key role in the nutrition of the Iberian lynx and should therefore be conveniently managed in captive breeding programs of this threatened species. Zoo Biol. XX:XX-XX, 2016. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
... Aquarterofcats visited the clinicmore than three timesayear,and very often,the person accompanying the cat to the clinic was the same,thus demonstrating ah igh level of care and commitmentd evotedt ot he cat. Thesed ata confi rm the increasing emotional investment and attachment that guardians are developing towardt heir cats (Edwards, Heiblum, Tejeda, &Galindo, 2007;Turner, 2000). Such care for the cat' sw elfare is confi rmed by the way in which guardians assessed and made decisionsb ased on the veterinarian' sa bility to handle the cat in ah umanea nd considerate manner. ...
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To assess the welfare of cats at the veterinary clinic and how caregivers and veterinarians affect it, a survey of Italian cat guardians (n = 1,111) was conducted using a 28-item multichoice questionnaire. Most cats showed impaired welfare during all stages of a clinic visit: before entering, in the waiting room, moving to the examination room, on the examination table, and after returning home. A relationship was found between welfare states in each stage. Stress worsened with further experience and had negative effects on traveling and handling in other situations. Restraint, pain, and anxiety led to aggression toward vets and guardians. Guardians showed a positive attitude toward their cats' health and welfare, and the veterinarians' behavior toward the cats was a reason for changing the veterinarian. One in 10 veterinarians examined the cat immediately, without stroking, talking, or offering food. However, the use of food was effective only if cats were not already stressed. Educating guardians and veterinarians to minimize stress during every stage of a clinic visit is the best approach to improving welfare for cats visiting the clinic.
... People regularly interact with cats, whether as pets or as feral animals. As pets, indoor cats have been shown to provide substantial quality-of-life benefits, both psychologically and physiologically, to their owners (Karsh and Turner, 1988). Owners of pet cats interact through such activities as grooming, petting, feeding, cleaning or handling fecal material, and cleaning indoor areas where cats have been active. ...
... For example, anthropogenic food resources may attract some potential predators of sparrows such as feral cats. They may hunt sparrows and also affect their abundance by the non-lethal effect of fear (Lima 1998; Turner and Bateson 2000; Krauze-Gryz et al. 2013). Moreover, it must be noted that the association between the abundance of the two sparrow species and food resources was altered by the abundance of corvids. ...
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Background Toxoplasma gondii is a protozoan with a worldwide distribution, in warm-blood animals, including humans. Local conditions and environmental disturbances may influence transmission dynamics of a zoonotic agent. This study evaluates the epidemiology of T. gondii based on toxoplasmosis prevalence in two populations of cats living in distinct urbanization conditions in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Methods Among 372 domestic cats sampled, 265 were from a public shelter located downtown Rio and 107 from a relatively preserved wild environment in a residential area. Sera and eluates from dried blood spots were tested for detection of IgG antibodies against T. gondii by modified agglutination test (MAT). ResultsAntibodies to T. gondii were detected in 32/265 (12.08%) animals from the public shelter and in 4/107 (3.74%) cats from the residential area. Identical results were observed for sera and eluates. Conclusions Filter paper provides a reliable accurate alternative storage option when conditions of sample collection and transportation in the field are unfavorable. The significantly lower prevalence in the residential area is discussed in terms of environmental, biological and behavioral features.
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en • Cats Felis catus, in all their forms (domestic, free‐roaming/stray and feral), have been identified as a major global threat to biodiversity, especially birds and small mammals. However, there has been little previous consideration of the extent and impact of predation of bats by cats, or of whether specific characteristics make certain species of bats particularly vulnerable to predation by cats. • We reviewed the impact of cats on bats, based on a collation of scientific literature and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List database. Our aim was to produce a synthesis of the extent to which cats prey upon and threaten bats. We also collated available data on cat diet, which provide information on predation rates of bats by cats. • Few studies (n = 44) have identified bat species preyed upon or threatened by cats, with a disproportionate number of studies from islands. In these studies, 86 bat species (about 7% of the global extant tally) are reported as preyed upon or threatened by cats, and about one quarter of these species are listed as Near Threatened or threatened (IUCN categories Critically Endangered, Endangered, or Vulnerable). In IUCN Red List assessments, cats are more frequently mentioned as a threat to threatened or Near Threatened bat species than to non‐threatened species (IUCN category Least Concern). • In studies reporting on the incidence of bats in cat dietary samples (scats, stomachs and guts), the frequency of occurrence of bats in samples averaged 0.7 ± 2.1% (mean ± standard deviation; n = 102). Many studies had sample sizes that were too small to be likely to detect bats. • All forms of cat are reported to kill bats, and such predation has been reported in all major terrestrial habitats. We conclude that predation by cats is an under‐appreciated threat to the world’s bat species. Abstract fr RESUMÉ EN FRANÇAIS • Les chats Felis catus, sous toutes leurs formes (domestiques, errants ou harets), ont été identifiés comme une menace mondiale majeure pour la biodiversité, en particulier pour les oiseaux et les petits mammifères. Cependant, l'ampleur de ce phénomène et l'impact de la prédation exercée sur les chauves‐souris par les chats n'ont guère été pris en compte jusqu'à présent. En particulier la question de savoir si des caractéristiques spécifiques rendent certaines espèces de chauves‐souris particulièrement vulnérables à la prédation par les chats reste en suspens. • Nous avons examiné l'impact des chats sur les chauves‐souris, en croisant les informations issues de la littérature scientifique sur le sujet et celles disponibles dans la base de données de la liste rouge de l'Union Internationale pour la Conservation de la Nature (UICN). Notre objectif était de produire une synthèse mondiale visant à estimer dans quelle mesure les chats s'attaquent aux chauves‐souris et constituent une menace. Nous avons également rassemblé les données disponibles sur le régime alimentaire des chats, qui fournissent des informations sur les taux de prédation des chauves‐souris par les chats. • Peu d'études (n = 44) ont permis d’identifier des espèces de chauves‐souris prédatées et/ou menacées par les chats, un nombre disproportionné d’entre elles concernent les écosystèmes insulaires. Ces études ont permis d’identifier 86 espèces de chauves‐souris (environ 7 % des espèces mondiales) représentant des proies ou étant directement menacées par les chats ; environ un quart de ces espèces sont classées comme "quasi menacées" ou "menacées" (catégories de l'UICN : En danger critique d'extinction, En danger ou Vulnérable). Dans les évaluations de la Liste rouge de l'UICN, les chats sont plus fréquemment mentionnés comme une menace pour les espèces de chauves‐souris menacées ou quasi menacées que pour les espèces non menacées (catégorie de l'UICN "Préoccupation mineure"). • Dans les études analysant le régime alimentaire des chats (excréments, estomacs et tubes digestifs) la fréquence d'occurrence des chauves‐souris dans les échantillons était en moyenne de 0.7 ± 2.1 % (moyenne ± écart‐type ; n = 102). Dans de nombreux travaux, la taille des échantillons était trop petite pour permettre de détecter la prédation sur des chauves‐souris. • Toutes les formes de chats s'attaquent aux chauves‐souris, et cette prédation a été signalée dans tous les principaux habitats terrestres. En conclusion, la prédation des chauves‐souris par les chats apparait être une menace sous‐estimée au niveau mondial.
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DNA metabarcoding of faecal samples is being successfully used to study the foraging niche of species. We assessed the ability of two benchtop high-throughput sequencing (HTS) platforms, to identify a large taxonomic array of food items from domestic cats Felis silvestris catus, including prey and human-related food taxa (pet food and leftovers leaving undetectable solid remains in faeces). Scats from a captive feeding trial (n = 41) and from free-ranging individuals (n = 326) were collected and analysed using a cytb mini-barcode in independent PCR replicates on the Ion PGM and the MiSeq platforms. Outputs from MiSeq were more sensitive and reproducible than those from Ion PGM due to a higher sequencing depth and sequence quality on MiSeq. DNA from intact prey taxa was detected more often (82% of the expected occurrences) than DNA from pet food (54%) and raw fish and meat (31%). We assumed that this variability was linked to different degree of DNA degradation: The Ion PGM detected significantly less human-linked food, birds, field voles, murids and shrews in the field-collected samples than the MiSeq platform. Pooling the replicates from both platforms and filtering the data allowed identification of at least one food item in 87.4% of the field-collected samples. Our DNA metabarcoding approach identified 29 prey taxa, of which 25 to species level (90% of items) including 9 rodents, 3 insectivores, 12 birds and 1 reptile and 33 human-related food taxa of which 23 were identified to genus level (75% of items). Our results demonstrate that using HTS platforms such as MiSeq, which provide reads of sufficiently high quantity and quality, with sufficient numbers of technical replicates, is a robust and non-invasive approach for further dietary studies on animals foraging on a wide range of food items in anthropogenic landscapes.
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Background: Domestic cats play a key role in the epidemiology of the parasite Toxoplasma gondii by excreting environmentally-resistant oocysts that may infect humans and other warm-blooded animals. The dynamics of Toxoplasma gondii seroconversion, used as a proxy for primo-infection dynamics, was investigated in five cat populations living on farms. Methods: Serological tests on blood samples from cats were performed every three months over a period of two years, for a total of 400 serological tests performed on 130 cats. Variations in seroconversion rates and associated factors were investigated using a multi-event capture-recapture modelling approach that explicitly accounted for uncertainties in cat age and serological status. Results: Seroprevalence varied between farms, from 15 to 73%, suggesting differential exposure of cats to T. gondii. In farms with high exposure, cats could become infected before reaching the age of six months. Seroconversion rates varied from 0.42 to 0.96 seroconversions per cat per year and were higher in autumn and winter than in spring and summer. Conclusion: Our results suggest inter-farm and seasonal variations in the risks of exposure to T. gondii oocysts for humans and livestock living on farms. The paper also discusses the role of young cats in the maintenance of environmental contamination by T. gondii oocysts on farms.
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Objectives Aggression and social tension among housemate cats is common and puts cats at risk of injury or relinquishment. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of a new pheromone product in reducing aggression between housemate cats. Methods A new pheromone product (Feliway Friends) containing a proprietary cat-appeasing pheromone was evaluated for efficacy in reducing aggression between housemate cats via a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot trial of 45 multi-cat households (pheromone [n = 20], placebo [n = 25]) reporting aggression for at least 2 weeks. Each household had 2–5 cats. Participants attended an educational training meeting on day (D) –7 and the veterinary behaviorist described behaviors to be monitored for 7 weeks using the Oakland Feline Social Interaction Scale (OFSIS), which assessed the frequency and intensity of 12 representative aggressive interactions. Participants were also provided with instructions for handling aggressive events, including classical conditioning, redirection by positive reinforcement and not punishing or startling the cat for aggressive displays. Punishment techniques were strongly discouraged. Plug-in diffusers with the pheromone product or placebo were utilized from D0–D28. Participants completed a daily diary of aggressive events and weekly OFSIS assessments through to D42. Results Evolution of the OFSIS–Aggression score according to treatment group in the full analysis set population revealed a significant effect on time and treatment group. The OFSIS–Aggression score decreased over time from D0–D28 in both groups (time factor P = 0.0001) with a significant difference in favor of the verum P = 0.06); similar results were found considering the D0–D42 period (time factor P = 0.0001 [D0] and P = 0.04 [D42]). Conclusions and relevance The OFSIS provided a quantifiable measure of the frequency and intensity of 12 intercat interactions reflecting conflict between cats. The cat-appeasing pheromone is a promising treatment for the management of aggression between housemate cats in multi-cat households.
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Practical relevance Cats are descended from a solitary, territorial ancestor, and while domestication has reduced their inherited tendency to be antagonistic towards all animals larger than their typical prey, they still place more reliance on the security of their territory than on psychological attachments to people or other cats, the exact opposite to dogs. Many feline problem behaviours stem from perceived threats to this security, often due to conflicts with other cats. Others are more developmental in origin, often caused by inadequate exposure to crucial stimuli, especially people, during the socialisation period. Strongly aversive events experienced at any age can also contribute. A third category comprises normal behaviour that owners deem unacceptable, such as scratching of furniture. Evidence base This review identifies three areas in which basic research is inadequate to support widely employed concepts and practices in feline behavioural medicine. First, classification of cats’ problem behaviours relies heavily on approaches derived from studies of their behavioural ecology and, to some extent, extrapolation from canine studies. Few studies have focused on cats in the home, the environment in which most behavioural disorders are expressed. Secondly, cats’ chemical senses (olfactory and vomeronasal) are far more sensitive than our own, making it difficult for owners or clinicians to fully comprehend the sensory information upon which they base their behaviour. Thirdly, although the concept of psychological distress is widely invoked as an intervening variable in behavioural disorders, there are still no reliable measures of distress for pet cats in the home. Global importance Psychological distress of some kind is the primary cause of many of the behavioural problems presented to clinicians, but surveys indicate that many more cats display the same clinical signs without their owners ever seeking help. The welfare of this ‘invisible’ group could be improved by veterinarians taking a more proactive approach to educating their clients about the behavioural needs of pet cats.
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The idea of animals possessing personalities was once dismissed by the scientific community, but has since gained traction with evidence for potential application to improve captive animal management and welfare. Although domestic cats are popular companion animals, research has tended to overlook the value of personality assessment for management and care of pet cats. The aim of this study was to investigate personality in a large sample of pet cats with a view to understanding practical implications for pet cats in the home. Personality of 2,802 pet cats, from South Australia and New Zealand, was rated by their owners utilising a survey measuring 52 personality traits. Five reliable personality factors were found using principal axis factor analysis: Neuroticism, Extraversion, Dominance, Impulsiveness and Agreeableness. Implications for the ‘Feline Five’ are discussed in relation to their potential application to improving the management and welfare of pet cats. Highly Impulsive cats for example, may be reacting to something stressful in their environment, whereas cats with low Agreeableness scores, showing irritability may indicate underlying pain or illness. Thus, the need for a systematic and holistic approach to personality that includes both the individual pet cat and its environment is recommended, and opens the door to future interdisciplinary intervention.
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To examine aspects of the cat, environment and scratching post that might influence scratching behavior, in an effort to determine how inappropriate scratching behavior might be refocused on acceptable targets. An internet survey, posted on several public websites, gathered details about scratching behavior, as described by owners in their home environments, from 4331 respondents over a 4 month period. Responses from 39 different countries were analyzed, mostly from the USA, Canada and the UK. Owners offered traditionally recommended scratching substrates including rope, cardboard, carpet and wood. Rope was most frequently used when offered, although carpet was offered most frequently. Most owners provided at least one scratching post; cats scratched the preferred substrate more often when the post was a simple upright type or a cat tree with two or more levels and at least 3 ft high. Narrower posts (base width ⩽3 ft) were used more often than wider posts (base width ⩾5 ft). Intact or neutered cats (males and females) were as likely to scratch inappropriately, and inappropriate scratching decreased with age. Geriatric cats between the ages of 10 and 14 years preferred carpet substrate most frequently; all other ages preferred rope first. Inappropriate scratching decreased as the different types/styles of posts increased in the home. Inappropriate scratching did not increase if the number of cats or dogs increased in the household. Declawed cats were preventatively declawed most often to prevent household item destruction. Although cats can have individual preferences, our data provide a starting point for veterinarians recommending scratching posts to clients. © The Author(s) 2015.
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Using mental simulation as a means of selecting actions for an agent is not new to the scientific community, but implementations from literature focus on specific scenarios and strategies built by domain-experts. In this paper, we propose a generic decision-making agent architecture which uses mental simulation. Our architecture allows an agent to predict both physical phenomena and behavior of other entities simultaneously, in real time, and to pursue its goal without additional built-in strategies. The experimental results show its performance in a dynamic nature-inspired scenario where our agent changes its behavior based on how it anticipates others will act.
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Although there is general agreement among government agencies, conservation groups and animal welfare organizations that cat populations need to be managed, the management of cats is frequently a topic of debate between biologists/environmental groups and animal welfare/animal rights advocacy groups. The two groups’ beliefs are polarized in regard to impacts on wildlife, management strategies and efficacy of trap-and-neuter (TNR) programs. Concerns of conservation biologists relate to cats as predators, but welfare proponents feel that humans must take responsibility for free-ranging house pets and their feral offspring. It is not surprising that discussions of feral cat management become volatile. Much of the debate hinges upon whether management solutions should use lethal or non-lethal control strategies. Conservation biologists largely support cat euthanasia, while animal welfare activists support non-lethal treatments such as TNR for free-ranging cats. The issues of this larger conservancy/welfare debate framed the discourse of the cat problem and guided solution strategies at Eastern Kentucky University, where a population of cats has existed on the campus for many years. A tentative agreement has been forged between an administration that subscribed to a trap and remove policy, and a network of TNR volunteers. Both sides have focused on the common goal of a reduction in the number of campus cats. In addition, both sides have realized that each setting has its own particular constraints and that solutions must be tailored to those situations. Instead of resorting to invective, data are being collected. When well-meaning people meet and focus on solutions to a shared goal, positive outcomes become possible.
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The domestic and wild carnivore interface is complex, yet understudied. Interactions between carnivore species have important implications for direct interference competition, cross-species transmission of shared pathogens and conservation threats to wild carnivores. However, carnivore intraguild interactions are hard to quantify. In this study, we asked 512 villagers residing around a conservation area in the Serengeti Ecosystem, Tanzania, to report on the presence of wild carnivores in their village, the number of domestic dogs Canis familiaris and cats Felis catus in their household and interactions between domestic and wild carnivores. Wild carnivores are abundant near households surrounding the Serengeti National Park, villagers have many free-ranging domestic dogs (and would like to have more) and direct and indirect contacts between wild and domestic carnivores are common. Large carnivores, such as spotted hyenas and leopards, often killed or wounded domestic dogs. Small carnivores, such as mongoose, bat-eared fox, serval and wildcat, are locally abundant and frequently interact with domestic dogs. We demonstrate that interspecific carnivore behavior, human culture and local and regional geography play a complex role in domestic and wild carnivore interaction risk around conservation areas. Through the use of household surveys, we were able to efficiently obtain data on a wide scope of carnivore interactions over a large area, which may provide a direction for future targeted and in-depth research to reduce interspecific conflict. Improving the health and husbandry of domestic animals and reducing the unintentional feeding of wild carnivores could reduce dog–wildlife interactions and the potential for pathogen transmission at the domestic–wild animal interface.
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We investigated the effects of liposome encapsulation at prolonging the systemic exposure of buprenorphine following subcutaneous administration in cats. Seven healthy male cats were dosed intravenously with 0.02 mg/kg buprenorphine solution (STD-BUP), followed 14 days later by a subcutaneous injection of 0.2 mg/kg buprenorphine as a liposomal suspension (SUS-BUP) containing drug molecules both in liposomes and the suspending vehicle. Buprenorphine time plasma concentration data for both dosing routes were analyzed simultaneously with four compartmental models. Goodness of fit was assessed both graphically and with the Akaike information criterion. The time-course of intravenous STD-BUP was biphasic, with a 4.39 h average terminal half-life. The subcutaneous SUS-BUP produced plasma buprenorphine concentrations above 0.5 μg/L for more than 96 h, with three distinct peaks in the first 15 h. The model with best fit comprised a central and a peripheral compartment, plus three subcutaneous absorption compartments: one of dissolved drug molecules that were absorbed through a first-order process, and two of liposome-encapsulated drug molecules that were transferred to the solution compartment through separate zero-order processes. Liposomes effectively prolonged the systemic exposure of buprenorphine in cats.
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The factors that affect the home range size of domestic cats (Felis silvestris catus) in a semi-domesticated condition (i.e., cats that receive shelter and food from humans but are free to move in the wider natural environment) is not completely understood. Here, using radio telemetry, we present the first assessment of the home range size and activity patterns of male domestic cats living in the insular environment of Brazil’s Atlantic Forest, and examine the extent to which these were influenced by the presence (‘resident males with females’: RMF group) or absence (‘single males’: SM group) of females in the residences of their owners. Daily and seasonal activity patterns have also been characterized. Home ranges of the RMF were markedly smaller than that of the SM and exhibited less overlap with the home ranges of other males than did those of the SM. Male cats were most active at twilight and evening (44.68 ± 1.07) and least active in the afternoon (28.76 ± 2.79). RMF presented nocturnal activity greater than SM, especially in the dry season. Our data indicate that presence of females is an important factor in shaping these parameters of domestic male cats.
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The domestic cat has been symbolically represented over time in a very different way, with connotations sometimes positive and sometimes negative. It is also paradoxical the way that society historically interacts with this feline so, its symbolic representation and its direct interaction with the human seem to go together. In the present, the cat suffers a lot with cruelty acts, abandonment and death, including reduced rate of adoption. Thus, this paper aims to briefly describe the beliefs and ritual uses of cats in different cultures, reflecting on how the symbolism of this feline relates to ethical issues. Education programs and the proper implementation of the laws are identified as important factors to modify this anthropocentric and speciesist paradigm inconsistent with the animal ethics perspectives.
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Felis catus, the domestic cat, occurs throughout the Australian mainland as well as on more than 40 islands off the Australian coast. Cats exploit diverse habitats, including deserts, forests, woodlands, grasslands, towns and cities, and occur from sea level to altitudes above 2000 m. The classification of cats as domestic, stray or feral (Moodie 1995) reflects the varied ecology of cats and their dichotomous status in Australia — as both a valued pet species and an introduced feral predator. Impacts Feral cats are carnivorous hunters that depredate animals up to 2 kg, but more often take prey under 200 g. The feral cat is linked to the early continental extinctions of up to seven species of mammals. They are also linked to island and regional extinctions of native mammals and birds and have caused the failure of reintroduction attempts aimed at re-establishing threatened species. Today, 35 vulnerable and endangered bird species, 36 mammal species, seven reptile species and three amphibian species are thought to be adversely affected by feral cats. Other species are potentially affected by infectious diseases transmitted by cats. The true environmental and economic impact of feral cats has not been calculated. Legislation In most Australian states and territories, legislation has been introduced to restrict the reproductive and predation potential of owned domestic cats. Many local government areas have introduced cat-specific legislation, with restrictions including the banning of cats as pets in some communities, compulsory neutering, individual identification, and containment of pet cats. Predation by feral cats was listed as a Key Threatening Process under the Federal Endangered Species Protection Act 1992 (now incorporated in the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999). A Threat Abatement Plan for Predation by Feral Cats was produced in 1999 and amended in 2008 to promote the recovery of vulnerable and endangered native species and threatened ecological communities (Environment Australia 1999 and DEWHA 2008). Estimating abundance The three most common techniques for estimating cat abundance in Australia are spotlighting, counting tracks, and bait uptake estimates. The accuracy of spotlighting is dependent upon the density of vegetative cover and cat behaviour; the accuracy of track counts depends upon where track pads are set and the competence of the operative in recognising tracks; and most bait uptake studies provide data on cat activity rather than relative abundance or densities. All three techniques are best suited to open, dry habitats with low vegetative cover. In wetter, more closed and productive habitats with high vegetative cover, techniques such as remote photography and the analysis of DNA extracted from scats or hairs provide alternatives for estimating abundance or density. Such estimates are a necessary prerequisite for the implementation of control or eradication programs to avoid over- or under-commitment of labour, time and money, and are also necessary to measure the efficacy of management programs. Techniques for control or eradication A nationally co-ordinated program of feral cat control across Australia is not feasible, as it is with other introduced species, and control efforts are best targeted at protecting threatened species or habitats. All successful cat eradication programs in Australia have been conducted on islands or within areas bounded by predator-proof fencing, and most have required the use of more than one control method. Successful techniques for the control or eradication of cats on islands have proved largely impractical on the mainland. Hunting, trapping and shooting are time and labour intensive and not economically viable over large areas. Trap-neuter-return is unsuccessful in open populations and not practical over large areas. The introduction of disease (e.g. panleucopaenia) is restricted by the probable impact on owned domestic cats and the low transmission rate amongst widely dispersed feral cats. Toxins presently registered for cat baiting may have unacceptable environmental impacts on many habitats. Research into more felid-specific toxins, cat attracting baits and lures and cat-specific toxin delivery systems may lead to the adoption of poisoning as the most widely used technique for the control or eradication of feral cats. Management at the regional and local level Management of feral cats requires reliable data on the density or relative abundance of cats in targeted areas, and analysis of the cost effectiveness and efficacy of the various control measures that may be implemented. At the regional and local level, eradication of cat colonies and the management of resource-rich artificial habitats to discourage colonisation by cats should be an adjunct to any feral cat control program. Implementation of companion animal legislation that requires firmer controls on the owned, domestic cat population is also an important consideration for the longer-term reduction of the feral cat population in Australia. Factors limiting effective management Although adequate legislation is in place in some jurisdictions, the problems associated with cat control programs in Australia include: the time, cost and social impacts associated with enforcing companion animal legislation; the acceptance in some states of cats as pest control agents; variable cat densities between habitats; relatively low bait acceptance by feral cats; a lack of programs aimed specifically at stray cat colonies exploiting highly modified habitats; little data on the impact of cat removal on populations of introduced rodents and rabbits; and few accurate estimates of the density or relative abundance of feral cats. Research is needed to define the most successful methods for gaining public acceptance of the importance of maintaining effective companion animal legislation; estimating densities of cats in various habitats; the cost effectiveness of control techniques including broadscale baiting; assessing the impact of the removal of colony-forming cats in resource-rich artificial habitats on the broader feral cat population; and assessing the impact of cat removal on both native and introduced small mammal populations and the further indirect effects of removal on other components of the biota.
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We investigated the ability of domestic cats to regulate the macronutrient composition of their diet when provided with foods that differed not only in macronutrient content but also in texture and moisture content, as typically found in the main forms of commercially manufactured cat foods. Cats were provided with foods in different combinations (1 wet + 3 dry; 1 dry + 3 wet; 3 wet + 3 dry) in three separate experiments. Within each experiment cats were offered the wet and dry food combinations in two (naïve and experienced) diet selection phases where all the foods were offered simultaneously, separated by a phase in which the foods were offered sequentially in 3-day cycles in pairs (1 wet with 1 dry). Using nutritional geometry we demonstrate convergence upon the same dietary macronutrient composition in the naïve and experienced self-selection phases of each experiment as well as over the course of the 3-day cycles in the pair-wise choice phase of each experiment. Furthermore, even though the dietary options were very different in each of these experiments the macronutrient composition of the diets achieved across all experiments were remarkably similar. These results indicate that a mammalian obligate carnivore, the domestic cat, is able to regulate food selection and intake to balance macronutrient intake despite differences in moisture content and textural properties of the foods provided.
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The 14 contributions, 9 abstracted separately, which explore the behaviour and ecology of Felis catus (= Felis silvestris catus) are arranged in 4 major sections (development of young cats, social life, predatory behaviour, cats and people), together with an introduction and a postscript. -P.J.Jarvis
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Introduction The fundamental assumption underlying the DOHaD model is that environmental factors acting in early life have consequences which become manifest as an altered disease risk in later life. The concept that multiple phenotypes can arise during development from a single genotype (‘developmental plasticity’) is not new: these different phenotypes are based on the nature of the gene-environment interactions, a feature well recognised in developmental biology and the range of phenotypes that can be induced is termed the reaction norm (Gilbert 2001). Given the universality of developmental plasticity, particular sets of phenotypic outcomes may be manifest as variable disease risk (Bateson et al. 2004). As a result, one part of the reaction norm may be associated with better survival in one type of environment, while another is better suited to a different environment. One example comes from the desert locust Schistocerca gregaria, where factors acting in the larval stage induce a phenotype appropriate for migratory or non-migratory situations (Applebaum and Heifetz 1999, Simpson et al., 2002). Having a wing shape appropriate for a non-migratory lifestyle will compromise the locust in a situation of overcrowding and nutritional compromise. While in comparative biology the concept of environmentally influenced developmental trajectories has been accepted, its influence on our understanding of human disease has taken time to be accepted. This delay has impacted on how the developmental-origins field has developed since the early epidemiological observations in humans relating birth size to later disease risk (Forsdahl 1977, Barker and Osmond 1986). © P. D. Gluckman and M. A. Hanson 2006 and Cambridge University Press, 2009.
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An understanding of feline evolutionary history and the development of play, predatory, and social behaviors can help you advise clients on preventing or correcting cat behavior problems.
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Genetic variability and phylogenetic relationships among domestic and wild populations of cats were studied by allozyme electrophoresis. Tissues were obtained from 67 specimens of European wild cats (Felis silvestris silvestris), African wild cats (F. s. libyca), and domestic cats from Italy; 54 presumptive loci were resolved. The average proportion of polymorphic loci and heterozygosity were P̄ = 0.11, H̄ = 0.042 in the wild cat, and P̄ = 0.20, H̄ = 0.066 in the domestic cat. Despite reduced genetic variability, local populations of wild cats were not inbred, as indicated by nonsignificant FIS values. Both FST and Nei's genetic distances between domestic and wild populations were low (F̄ST = 0.04; D̄ = 0.0082). Dendrograms indicate that the domestic cat belongs to the African wild cat lineage, which supports current hypotheses on cat domestication. Based on the genetic evidence, we suggest that the European wild cat, the African wild cat, and the domestic cat belong to the same polytypic species (Felis silvestris Schreber, 1777), and that the European and African wild cats diverged approximately 20,000 years ago.
Chapter
Discusses patterns in density and home range size, there being great variability in each for both sexes in Felis catus. Group living is usually associated with females and kittens, though adult males are sometimes included. Roaming behaviour and overlap in male home ranges are noted. Mating tactics are discussed: there is no active mate choice in females, who mate with the most dominant male present; and although close kin matings are not uncommon, inbreeding is often avoided by females in oestrus temporarily leaving groups which contained related males. Comparison is made with spatial behaviour in other felids. -S.J.Yates
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Spacing patterns in a population of domestic and feral cats in a rural area in southern Sweden were investigated by visual observations, trapping and radio tracking. Females lived alone or in groups around human households. Within each female group the home ranges almost completely overlapped, but between different female groups there was little or no overlap. Most females remained in the same place all their lives, but a few individuals moved and became established at new households, invariably one where there were no other female cats. There were always six to eight feral, well established males in the area, with moderately overlapping home ranges. These ranges were considerably larger than those of females, and one male might include several female groups within his home range. Young males, born in the area, stayed with the female group, where they were born until they were 1.5-3 yr old. They then left and tried to settle somewhere else. Spacing patterns in this cat population can be explained by the influence of proximate and ultimate factors, among which intraspecific aggression and adaptation to living in human households are the most important. Parallel evolution of lion and house cat social organizations is discussed. /// Характер прерывистого распраделения популяции домашних и диких кошек в сельской местности южной Швеции изучали путем визуальных наблюдений, отлова и радиослежения. Самки живут в одиночку или группами вокруг жилья человека. Внутри каждий группы самок домовые участки почти польностью перекрываются, но между отдельными группами перекрывание отсутствует или незначительно. Большинство самок остается на одном месте в течение всей своей жизни, но некоторые особи мигрируют и обосновываются у новых жилищ, но неизменно там, где нет других самок. На одном участке всегда имеется 6-8 диких котов с умеренно перекрывающимися домовыми участками. Эти участки значительно больше, чем у самок. Участок одного самца может бмещать территории несколько их групп самок. Молодые коты, родившнеся в определенном участке, остаются в группе самок, где они роднлись до 1,5-3-летнего возраста. Затем они полидают его и основувают свое поселение в другом месте. Прерывистый характер распределения в данной популрции кошек может может буть обьяснен влиянием проксимальных и ультимативных факторов, среди которых наиболее существенны внутривидовая агрессия и адаптация к обитанию в жилищах человека. Обсуждается параллельная эволюция социальной организации у львов и домашних кошек.
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The behaviour of house cats Felis silvestris catus from nine litters was recorded at 4 months, 1 year and 2 years of age, in their home environment immediately after meals fed by their owners. We extracted by principal components analysis four elements of 'behavioural style' that were consistent from one age to another: based upon behaviour patterns that were most heavily loaded on each component, these were labelled as Staying Indoors, Rubbing, Investigative and Boldness elements. The Staying Indoors and Rubbing elements are similar to two aspects of behavioural style identified in a previous study of adult cats; the Boldness element, possibly coupled with the Investigative element, may be similar to the shy/bold continuum identified in controlled studies of cats and other species. Four-month-old male cats were the most likely to Stay Indoors; the Rubbing element increased with age in the majority of individuals, both male and female. Littermates tended to be similar to one another in Rubbing (at 4 months) and Boldness (up to 1 year). A positive effect of handling received during the first 8 weeks of life was detected for Boldness at 4 months of age.
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The moral character of China’s single-child generation has been studied by Chinese researchers since the early 1990s. Recent acts of animal cruelty by college students turned this subject of academic inquiry into a topic of public debate. This study joins the inquiry by asking if the perceived unique traits of the single-child generation, i.e. self-centeredness, lack of compassion, and indifference to the feelings of others, are discernible in their attitudes toward animals. Specifically, the study investigates whether the college students are in favor of better treatment of animals, objects of unprecedented exploitation on the Chinese mainland. With the help of two surveys conducted in selected Chinese universities, this study concludes that the college students, a majority of whom belong to the single-child generation, are not morally compromised. A high percentage of the surveyed expressed empathy toward animals and opposed animal cruelty. This finding suggests that upbringing in families with better material conditions has not undercut the moral development of the students. Importantly, the study supports the view that China is philosophically ready for legislation on animal welfare despite the remaining ideological, cultural, and economic factors that discourage societal activism for animal protection.
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This study relates changes in social play of kittens to the development of predatory behaviour. Firstly, it documents the development of predatory motor patterns in young cats between the age of 4 and 12 weeks. Correlations between measures of predatory behaviour were found to break down in the 8 to 12 week period of development. Secondly, it examines the development of social play over the same time course. Correlations between some measures of play were also found to break down between 8 and 12 weeks of age. Finally, measures of social play were correlated with measures of predatory behaviour before and after 8 weeks of age. Some measures of play were found to show increased correlations with predatory behaviour as kittens grew older, others were found to show less association with age. It is concluded that these changes in association between measures of play and predation probably reflect a reorganization of play behaviour. Different play patterns appeared to progressively come under separate types of control as kittens developed. Some patterns were becoming controlled by the same factors as those controlling predatory behaviour, others by those factors that control agonistic behaviour. In addition, the relationship between the timing of the onset of social play and predatory behaviour is examined.
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This paper describes the tail movements of ungulates, canids and felids, and the situations which elicit them. In this way the cause and function of tail movements for communication are considered. Tail movements can be divided into dorso-ventral (that is elevation and depression) which are closely associated with changes in postural tonus, and lateral tail movements (tail wagging). These tail movements are reported in detail in pigs, cattle, horses, goats, dogs and cats, together with the contexts that give rise to them. Information from personal observations and the literature in a number of other species is also reported. It is found that tail elevation and a high postural tonus are correlated and indicate a preparation for locomotion, and an increase in pace. In this way upright postures have become of communicative value to indicate a preparation for locomotion, alertness and thus warning. They are also used in confident approach and ofen associated with aggressive intentions. In some species this posture has become exaggerated specifically, to increase its signal value. A drop in postural tonus is shown to be related to fear. Postures of low tonus, combined often with a protective withdrawal of the tail and ears, are characteristic of fearful situations and have therefore become of signal value indicating fear and in social contexts, non-aggression and submission. Exaggeration of these postures is evident in some species. Lateral tail movements originated in association with locomotion (e.g., in fish). It is shown that there is still an association of lateral tail movements with locomotion in the mammals considered, although this is often particularly evident where locomotion is frustrated or inhibited. Cutaneous stimulation has become particularly important in eliciting lateral tail movements in some species. It is shown both from observational and experimental data, that lateral tail movements tend to occur particularly in approach/avoidance conflict and frustrating situations. Lateral tail movements have much in common in cause with preening movements in birds, head shaking and ear flicking which have been shown to occur as transitional activites between bouts of ongoing behaviour. In some cases tail wagging, like preening in birds, has become exaggerated and its association with the above situations ensures that a message is transferred by it with information about the communicators general motivational state. However sometimes it is also associated with a more specific message (e.g., tail wagging as an intention to kick in the horse, or as an indicator of non-aggression and 'friendliness
Article
Recent studies raise serious welfare concerns regarding the estimated 93.6 million horses, donkeys and mules in developing countries. Most equids are used for work in poor communities, and are commonly afflicted with wounds, poor body condition, respiratory diseases, parasites, dental problems, and lameness. Non-physical welfare problems, such as fear of humans, are also of concern. Interventions to improve working equine welfare aim to prioritise the conditions that cause the most severe impositions on the animals’ subjectively experienced welfare, but data identifying which conditions these may be, are lacking. Here we describe a stage in the validation of behavioural welfare indicators that form part of a working equine welfare assessment protocol. Over 4 years, behavioural and physical data were collected from 5481 donkeys, 4504 horses, and 858 mules across nine developing countries. Behaviours included the animals’ general alertness, and their responses to four human-interaction tests, using the unfamiliar observer as the human stimulus. Avoidance behaviours correlated significantly with each other across the human-interaction tests, with 21% of animals avoiding the observer, but they showed no associations with likely anthropogenic injuries. Over 13% of equids appeared ‘apathetic’: lethargic rather than alert. Measures of unresponsiveness correlated with each other across the five tests, and were associated with poor body condition, abnormal mucous membrane colour, faecal soiling, eye abnormalities, more severe wounds, and older age, depending on the equine species. This suggests that working equids in poor physical health show an unresponsive behavioural profile, consistent with sickness behaviour, exhaustion, chronic pain, or depression-like states.
Article
In the process of domestication, dogs (Canis familiaris) and cats (Felis catus) have undergone thousands of years of genetic changes that have adapted them to the human environment. Both species have acquired a global distribution and it has become quite common to find homes with the two living side by side. Nevertheless, there is widespread belief that interspecific communication between dogs and cats is problematic, stemming from their separate evolutionary development and different social structures. Consequently, many people considering possible adoption of both species are concerned about their ability to get along.
Article
Thirty four spraying cats, belonging to 24 households, had a complete physical examination, CBC, blood biochemistry panel, urinalysis, urine culture, urine cortisol:creatinine analysis and abdominal radiographs. Diagnostic procedures revealed some abnormalities and/or crystalluria in 13 patients (38%). Seven (20%) of these cats had medical conditions involving the urogenital system (renal calculi, renal failure, cystic calculi, bacterial urinary infection or cystitis associated with the presence of ammonium biurate crystalluria). The other six had crystalluria. A synthetic analogue of feline cheek gland pheromones (Feliway™, Sanofi Sante Nutrition Animale, Abbott Laboratories) was then evaluated as a treatment of urine spraying. The study was done on all 34 cats but complete data was obtained for only 22 cats belonging to 19 out of the 24 households. Nine of these cats had abnormalities and/or crystalluria. The results were highly significant: 14 households (74%; 95% confidence interval 49–91%) reported a decrease of spraying frequency.
Article
Social ties between free-ranging cats are largely confined to related females, yet multicat households often contain unrelated cats. We have investigated whether unrelated pairs of cats from the same household are less affiliative towards one another than pairs of littermates, by observing their behaviour while confined in catteries. We found that littermates spent more time in physical contact with one another, groomed one another more often, and were more likely to feed close to one another than unrelated cats. The most likely explanation for this difference is that ties are established between individual cats during the socialisation period (3–8 weeks), and persist throughout life if the cats continue to live together.
Article
Between March 1994 and April 1997 we determined the source-sink status of a population of Black Redstarts (Phoenicurus ochruros) in two adjacent mountain villages in Switzerland, and estimated mortality attributable to feral cats (Felis catus). The finite rate of increase of the population was 1.06 ± 0.09 (λ ± s.e.). Hence, during the three study years the local population had a source status (λ〉1). The ratio between the number of produced (103) and absorbed breeders (88) - another way to evaluate source-sink status-revealed a rate of increase of 1.17. In total, 307 young fledged during the study period. Survival rate between fledging and the next breeding season was estimated to be 0.336, so 103 new breeders were produced out of the 307 fledglings. This number is slightly higher than the 94 breeders the population lost through mortality. The finite rate of increase of the population without the observed losses from cat predation would be λ = 1.20, assuming that this would not affect fecundity and mortality from other sources. Therefore, predation by cats reduced the productivity of this population by at least 12% (from 1.20 to 1.06) but did not convert it into a sink population. A comparison of the mortality of eggs, nestlings and juveniles, in combination with direct observations, suggested that juveniles were most vulnerable to cat predation between fledging and their independence after eight days. Predation by cats caused 33% of egg fatalities, 20 % of nestling fatalities, 〉 10 % of fledgling fatalities and 〉 3% of adult fatalities.
Article
Feline interstitial cystitis (FIC) is a chronic pain syndrome of domestic cats. Cats with FIC have chronic, recurrent lower urinary tract signs (LUTS) and other comorbid disorders that are exacerbated by stressors. The aim of this study was to evaluate behavioral and physiological responses of healthy cats and cats diagnosed with FIC after exposure to a five day stressor. Ten healthy cats and 18 cats with FIC were housed at The Ohio State University Veterinary Medical Center (OSUVMC) vivarium. All cats were housed in enriched cages for at least one year prior to the experiment. Cats had daily play time and socialization outside of the cage, food treats and auditory enrichment. The daily husbandry schedule was maintained at a consistent time of day and cats were cared for by two familiar caretakers. During the test days, cats were exposed to multiple unpredictable stressors which included exposure to multiple unfamiliar caretakers, an inconsistent husbandry schedule, and discontinuation of play time, socialization, food treats, and auditory enrichment. Sickness behaviors (SB), including vomiting, diarrhea, anorexia or decreased food and water intake, fever, lethargy, somnolence, enhanced pain-like behaviors, decreased general activity, body care activities (grooming), and social interactions, were recorded daily. Blood samples were collected in the morning, before and after the stress period, for measurement of serum cortisol concentration, leukocytes, lymphocytes, neutrophils, neutrophil:lymphocyte (N:L) ratio and mRNA for the cytokines interleukin-1 beta (IL-1β), interleukin-6 (IL-6), and tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α). Overall, the short term stressors led to a significant increase in SB in both healthy cats and cats with FIC, whereas lymphopenia and N:L changes occurred only in FIC cats. Daily monitoring of cats for SB may be a noninvasive and reliable way to assess stress responses and overall welfare of cats housed in cages.
Article
Significant numbers of cats enter rescue and re-homing facilities each year, over half of which are relinquished directly by owners. Identifying the reasons why owners decide to give up their pet is an important step in the development of education strategies to encourage retention of cats by their owners. In addition, identifying why adopting owners fail to retain their new cats is important in the refinement of homing policies. Characteristics of 6,089 cats relinquished and returned to 11 rescue facilities in the UK were recorded over a year. In addition, information was collected on the reason why owners gave up, or brought back, their pet. Sixty percent of cats and kittens entering shelters were relinquished by owners, with 19% being due to owner circumstances, such as moving to rented accommodation or changes in family circumstances. Seven percent were for behavioral reasons, and 5% because of the occurrence of allergy or asthma in owners. Returned cats were significantly more likely to be older (Mann Whitney U, Z = -9.167, p < 0.001) and neutered (Pearson χ2 = 110.0, df = 2, p < 0.001) than the general relinquished population. The reasons for original relinquishment and return of owned cats were also significantly different (Pearson χ2 = 84.4, df = 6, p < 0.001), with 38% of cats being returned for behavioral reasons, and 18% because of allergy or asthma. The commonest behavioral reason for both relinquishment and return was aggression between cats in the household.
Article
A review of the archaeological and historical records reveals several lines of evidence that people have had close relationships with felids. Almost 40% of felid species have been tamed on all continents, excluding Europe and Oceania, but only one species was domesticated. However, taming occurred mostly in five felid lineages, mostly in South and Central America, and Southwest Asia and North Africa, which is consistent with the early development of permanent human settlements and agriculture in these regions. In the Old World, probably since the beginning of the Neolithic, the first farmers encouraged commensal small carnivorans, which had been attracted either by rodent pests or scavenging opportunities. Recent genetic evidence supports archaeological evidence for the domestic cat's origin in the Fertile Crescent of Mesopotamia. However, full domestication may have occurred only in ancient Egypt, where breeding of imported Mesopotamian wildcats may have been controlled, thereby allowing artificial selection, and suggesting that putative early domestic cats were most probably tamed wildcats. As there was no tameable, small felid in Europe, other indigenous carnivorans, such as mustelids, viverrids, and herpestids, were tamed instead. They were slowly replaced as the domestic cat spread gradually throughout Europe, principally with the Romans. The wildcat was fully domesticated, owing probably to a specific set of human cultural events and requirements, rather than as a consequence of a unique tendency to tameness in some populations of Felis silvestris. The global spread of the domestic cat probably obviated the need for domestication of other small felids elsewhere.
Article
We have determined the extent to which individual responses of domestic cats on being handled by an unfamiliar person are stable between 2 and 33 months of age. Twenty-nine household cats from nine litters were tested at 2, 4, 12, 24 and 33 months of age, by being held for 1 minute by a standard, unfamiliar person. Between 4 and 33 months of age, individual differences in the number of attempts made by the cat to escape, and in whether or not it showed signs of distress, were stable, with the partial exception of the test at 12 months. There was no consistency between tests in whether or not a particular cat purred. At 2 months of age, the number of escape attempts was highest in cats which had been handled the least in the second month of life, but this trend was reversed in the number of escape attempts made at 4 months. The lack of distress exhibited by all cats in the test at 2 months indicated that all had received at least adequate socialization to people, and that none were therefore comparable with the unsocialized cats used in several previous studies. We conclude that under normal domestic conditions, the behavior of a cat when handled by an unfamiliar person reflects a stable character trait, and that extensive handling during the socialization period may be subsequently associated with a reduction in inhibited behavior when interacting with an unfamiliar person.