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Recognition and Management of Stress in Housed Cats

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... A range of dimensions have been suggested for primary enclosures for dogs and cats, for instance (CFA, 2009;Griffin, 2006;New Zealand, 1993). Part of the consideration is provide spaces that will give them the ability to hold their tails erect when in a normal standing position and also allow each animal visual contact with other animals (Carlstead, 1993;Overall 1997;Wells 1998). ...
... Easy access, for some animals, to necessities like food and water can also be impeded. However, well planned group housing can encourage play which is healthy and acceptable, and even be desirable when tailored to individual animals (Griffin, 2002(Griffin, , 2006Gourkow et al, 2001). Other advantages of group housing include opportunities for positive interaction with other animals including play, companionship, physical connection, and socialization. ...
... Hence, in materials consideration, sound absorbent materials must be durable enough to permit repeated cleaning and should either be out of the animals reach or resistant to destruction by them (Hubrecht, 2002). Appropriate housing is that which meets the behavioral needs of the animals to minimize stress (Griffin et al, 2006). When animals must remain confined for health or behavioral reasons, positive social interaction is still necessary and possible without removing the animal from the enclosure. ...
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If a housing system for animal production is to be successful, it must provide for the spatial and behavioral needs of the animal. To achieve this, it is important to understand how an animal behaves when performing routine activities such as drinking, feeding, lying, rising and walking. Housing an animal in a confinement, rather than letting them roam freely, modifies its behavior, thereby, affecting the animal's health and comfort. An understanding of animal psychology combined with well-designed facilities has the capacity to reduce stress on both the animal and the minders, consequently enhancing health, comfort and productivity. Stress reduces the ability to fight diseases, gain weight and productive capacity. Facilities must be appropriate for the species, anticipated number of animals and the expected length of stay in order to ensure physical and psychological well-being of the animals. The design should also provide for proper sanitation, separation of animals by health status, age, gender, species, temperament, and predator-prey status integrating a relatively soft, clean, flat bed with good footing. This research has not been designed as a blueprint for all herd situations. Spaces for cattle rearing is used as a case study of this work and as a thought provoking instrument to allow for the design of the best-fit situation for individual farms taking into account existing waste management systems, type and availability of bedding materials in the area, cow and herd size and the potential for future changes. However, ventilation requirements in particular, need urgent consideration in all cattle buildings due to the direct and immediate impact on cow comfort and health, feed intake, cow cleanliness and overall production.
... As occurs in zoo, farm, and laboratory settings, shelter animals can be challenged by boredom, frustration, isolation, social deprivation and other stresses arising out of confinement (Griffin 2006;Stephen 2005). Length of stay has been clearly identified as a risk factor for animal illness in shelters (Dinnage, 2009;Edinboro 2004). ...
... Many facilities, which were historically designed for short-term handling of animals (e.g., for stray holding period), are poorly suited to meet the physical and behavioral needs of animals (Beerda 1997(Beerda , 1999a(Beerda , 1999b(Beerda , 2000Griffin 2006;Hennessy 1997;Holt 2010;Hubrecht 1992;Kessler 1997Kessler , 1999bMcCobb 2005;Ottway 2003;Tuber 1996). Various factors have contributed to increased length of stay. ...
... Less than 2 feet of triangulated distance between litterbox, resting place and feeding area has been shown to adversely affect food intake for cats ( Figure 1) (Bourgeois 2004). Cats housed in cages with 11 square feet of floor space were found to be significantly less stressed than those with only 5.3 square feet of space (Kessler 1999b Crouse 1995;De Monte 1997;Griffin 2002Griffin , 2006Griffin , 2009aHubrecht 2002;Rochlitz 1999Rochlitz , 2002Wells 2000). One study found that the ability to hide led to decreased stress hormones in cats ). ...
... [11][12][13] As both predator and prey animals, cats often show fear or defensiveness in unfamiliar environments or with unfamiliar people. 11,14 This behavior may be covert (not obvious) rather than overt (easily seen). ...
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Background The number of pet cats is increasing in most countries, often outnumbering pet dogs, yet cats receive less veterinary care than their canine counterparts. ¹ Clients state the difficulty of getting the cat into a carrier at home, driving to the clinic, and dealing with the fearful cat at the veterinary clinic as reasons for fewer visits. ² Educating and preparing the client and the veterinary team with regard to respectful feline handling is necessary in order to avoid stress and accomplish the goal of good health care. Without such preparation, feline stress may escalate into fear or fear-associated aggression. The resulting stress may alter results of the physical examination and laboratory tests, leading to incorrect diagnoses (eg, diabetes mellitus) and unnecessary treatments. 3 – 5 Without compassionate and respectful handling by the veterinary team, clients may feel the team lacks skills and compassion, or does not understand cats. Injury may occur to the cat, client and/or veterinary team. ⁶ Clients who want to avoid stress for their cat may avoid veterinary visits or choose another practice instead. Goals The use of feline-friendly handling techniques should reduce these problems. Handling is most successful when the veterinary team adapts the approach to each individual cat and situation. The goal of these guidelines is to provide useful information for handling cats that can lead to: Reduced fear and pain for the cat. Reinforced veterinarian—client—cat bond, trust and confidence, and thus better lifelong medical care for the cat. Improved efficiency, productivity and job satisfaction for the veterinary team. Increased client compliance. Timely reporting and early detection of medical and behavioral concerns. Fewer injuries to clients and the veterinary team. Reduced anxiety for the client.
... There is strong evidence that the stress of hospitalization inhibits normal behaviors in animals, including eating, grooming, sleeping and elimination. 117 Fear, anxiety, stress and distress lead to hyperalgesia in both humans and animals. [118][119][120][121] Strategies to mitigate hyperalgesia, therefore, include providing bedding, blankets or clothing from home with familiar scents; allowing visitation of hospitalized pets; separating the dogs from the cats; placing cages so that animals do not see each other; using species-specific synthetic pheromones; and proper handling, especially during procedures (see box on page 262). ...
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The robust advances in pain management for companion animals underlie the decision of the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) and American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) to expand on the information provided in the 2007 AAHA/AAFP Pain Management Guidelines. The 2015 Guidelines summarize and offer a discriminating review of much of this new knowledge. Pain management is central to veterinary practice, alleviating pain, improving patient outcomes, and enhancing both quality of life and the veterinarian-client-patient relationship. These Guidelines support veterinarians in incorporating pain management into practice, improving patient care. The management of pain requires a continuum of care that includes anticipation, early intervention, and evaluation of response on an individual patient basis. A team-oriented approach, including the owner, is essential for maximizing the recognition, prevention and treatment of pain in animals. The Guidelines include both pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic modalities to manage pain; they are evidence-based insofar as possible and otherwise represent a consensus of expert opinion. Behavioral changes are currently the principal indicator of pain and its course of improvement or progression, and the basis for recently validated pain scores. Post-surgical pain is eminently predictable but a strong body of evidence exists supporting strategies to mitigate adaptive as well as maladaptive forms. Chronic pain is dominated by degenerative joint disease (DJD), which is one of the most significant and under-diagnosed diseases of cats and dogs. DJD is ubiquitous, found in pets of all ages, and inevitably progresses over time; evidence-based strategies for management are established in dogs, and emerging in cats. © ISFM and AAFP 2015.
... Domestic cats (Felis catus) have a wide auditory range, with detection starting at approximately 55 Hz and extending into the ultrasonic range, peaking at 78 kHz (Heffner and Heffner, 1985;Milligan et al. 1993). Ultrasonic noise that is perceived by cats is outside of the human audible range (Griffin and Hume, 2006;Sales et al. 1988), which peaks at 18 kHz (Milligan et al. 1993). Given cats' sensitivity to both high and low frequency sounds, they have the potential to be negatively affected by excessive environmental noise, which often extends into this range. ...
Article
Many cats show signs of fear and stress during veterinary examinations and procedures, and environmental stimuli such as noise can contribute to these responses. The objective of this study was to investigate the effect of background noise commonly heard in veterinary clinics (people talking, kennel doors shutting, dogs barking) on behavioural and physiological responses in companion cats. In Experiment 1, owned cats underwent a mock physical examination in a veterinary clinic with (n=16) or without (n=16) a pre-recorded noise track. A second experiment was conducted to assess cat responses to noise outside of handling and a clinic environment. In Experiment 2, shelter cats were either exposed (n=15) or not exposed (n=15) to the same noise track while allowed free movement in a small enclosure. Physiological and behavioural responses previously validated as negative responses in cats (e.g., indicative of fear, stress and aversion) were recorded, and outcome variables were compared between treatments. For both experiments, cats exposed to the noise track showed higher heart and respiratory rates. Noise was not associated with behavioural changes during the physical examination; however, cats who were freely moving showed more behavioural signs of fear and/or stress during noise exposure compared to the no noise conditions. These results show that high levels of background noise elicit physiological stress responses in cats, while ceiling effects of the examination and exposure to the clinic environment likely prevented treatment-related behavioral differences from being detected during the physical examination. It is recommended that those working with cats in environments with high levels of background noise limit cat exposure to these noises to reduce cat fear and stress.
... Posteriormente, a influência do ser humano na domesticação dos gatos se deu de forma gradual e cada vez mais significativa (Price 1984). Por esses motivos, os gatos domésticos mantêm muitas características comportamentais de seus antecessores selvagens (Griffin & Hume 2006). ...
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Behavioral problems have importance not only in animal welfare and the quality of human- animal relationship, but also in public health. Behavior problems are a major reason of abandonment and subsequently the fate of these animals are shelters or even euthanasia. Furthermore, the aggressiveness is a risk factor for zoonoses transmission. In order to assess the frequency of factors related to behavior problems, information from 229 cats were collected through a questionnaire applied to tutors awaiting for care in clinics in Veterinary Hospital of the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (HCV-UFRGS). Among the behaviors scratch furniture was the most common problem (65.1% - CI95%: 58.5 to 71.4%), followed by aggressiveness (61.3% - CI95%: 54.2 to 67, 1%), inappropriate elimination (37.1% - 9 CI95%: 31.3 to 42.1%) and excessive vocalization (23.6% - CI95%: 20.1 to 29.8%). Data were analyzed by logistic regression with a logit link function. Univariate analysis identified the presence of scratching as significant protective factor, that may contribute to the reduction of scratching furniture (Relative risk [RR] = 0.31- CI95%: 0:19 to 0:53). Females and frightened cats were identified as having more difficulty were for friendly relationship with other cats RR = 3.56 (CI95%: 1.78-7.11), RR = 2.84 (95% CI: 1.60-5.04) respectively; also the higher the number of cats in a residence, the greater the chance for inappropriate elimination. Neutered cats before puberty had less chance of developing inappropriate elimination RR = 0:43 (CI95%: 0.21-0.88), and finally, excessive vocalization was related to obtain tutor attention RR = 2.62 (CI95%: 1:54 to 4:45). The results of this study may help prevent behavioral problems in domestic cats.
... Foster care programs are critical to animal shelters and rescues because they: help address capacity issues; collect information about behavioral traits of the animal, particularly involving child, dog, and cat compatibility; allow sick or injured animals time and a home environment in which to heal; nurture animals too young for adoption, including socialization; and provide needed shelter breaks to allow dogs to reduce stress levels [27,[31][32][33][34][35][36][37]. Living in a home setting can also lead dogs to become adoptable more quickly because they avoid the stress of the shelter [38]. ...
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There has been discussion in traditional and social media about increases in the numbers of people willing to foster animals in their homes during the pandemic. However, there is a lack of empirical data on whether that increase was a temporary response to the stress of COVID-19 or the ability to work from home, if it might have lasting effects, or indeed, whether an increase occurred at all. Using a national survey of over 600 animal shelter/rescue foster volunteers it appears that fostering did increase during the pandemic (x2 = 45.20, p = 0.00), particularly among volunteers working from home, those with higher education, those that were younger and male, and those that did not have their own dog. The study concludes that there was an increase in fostering but that the impact is likely to be ephemeral predicated on the ability to work from home. Organizations may be able to retain foster volunteers through support, particularly emotional support, directed at the human as opposed to focusing solely on the dog.
Article
This randomised, blinded, cross-over study investigated the ease of oral transmucosal administration of two formulations of buprenorphine using glucose as a control in 12 cats. The cats received three treatments: buprenorphine multi-dose, buprenorphine and the equivalent volume of glucose 5%. Ease of treatment administration, observation of swallowing, changes in pupil size, sedation, salivation, vomiting, behaviour and food intake were assessed. The data were analysed using MLwiN and multi-level modelling. Ease of administration of buprenorphine multi-dose was statistically different from glucose (P <0.001), and the administration of all treatments became easier over the study periods. Swallowing was not statistically different between groups (P >0.05). Mydriasis was evident after the administration of both formulations of buprenorphine. Sedation, salivation, vomiting, behavioural changes or in-appetence were not observed after any treatment. Cats tolerated oral transmucosal administration of glucose better than buprenorphine multi-dose, while buprenorphine administration was tolerated as well as glucose.
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Guidelines rationale A cat’s level of comfort with its environment is intrinsically linked to its physical health, emotional wellbeing and behavior. Having a basic understanding of the cat’s species-specific environmental needs and how cats interact with their environment will provide a foundation for addressing these fundamental requirements. Environmental needs Addressing environmental needs is essential (not optional) for optimum wellbeing of the cat. Environmental needs include those relating not only to the cat’s physical surroundings (indoors or outdoors; in the home environment or at the veterinary practice) but also those affecting social interaction, including responses to human contact. Five ‘pillars’ framework The authorship panel has organized the Guidelines around five primary concepts (‘pillars’) that provide the framework for a healthy feline environment. Understanding these principles and the unique environmental needs of the cat will help veterinarians, cat owners and care-givers to reduce stress, the incidence of stress-related disorders, and unwanted behavior in their feline patients and pets. The recommendations in the Guidelines apply to all pet cats, regardless of lifestyle.
Article
Animal shelters rescue and care for society's unwanted companion animals. Nonetheless, several studies have shown that ending up in a shelter can be stressful, and that shelter husbandry can amplify and spread certain diseases. The aim of the present study was to investigate and describe husbandry policy, practices and routines as well as occurrence and prevention of diseases in Swedish cat shelters. A survey was sent to 64 potential shelters of which 39 (61%) responded. Thirty-two shelters (82%) housed cats (Felis silvestris catus) in groups; one shelter provided only solitary housing. Thirty-one shelters provided single, pair and group housing. The most common group size was 3–5 cats (59%). Ninety-two percent of responding shelters had routines and/or protocol(s) for the management of the cats, 35 had healthcare routines and 30 shelters had routines for the admission of cats. All shelters with the exception of one had quarantine, and 22 shelters (58%) vaccinated cats prior to admittance. There was a significant positive correlation between shelter size and number of reported diseases. The most common reported disease was cat 'flu/cold, although altogether, shelters reported a low occurrence of disease. Practices differ between shelters relating to management, eg use of quarantine and vaccination routines. In Sweden, group housing is common and shelters provide cats with plenty of resources, eg hides and climbing structures, often providing outdoor access and a more 'home-like' environment. The possibility that providing a more 'enriched home-like' environment can help cats cope with the shelter environment is discussed, thereby decreasing the occurrence and transmission of infectious diseases.
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This analysis shows stray or ownerless, free- roaming animals, and particularly, cats, still be a social group challenge. additionally, to vital health and welfare issues of the animals themselves, there square measure public health and safety issues with free-roaming animals, and key environmental issues, as well as wild and animate being predation by ferine dogs and cats, and potential attraction of predators, like coyotes, into community and concrete areas by the prepared provide of ferine cats as food. There are not any correct total numbers for ferine, stray, or abandoned dogs and cats, solely a proportion of that enter animal shelters or pounds annually, however informal estimates for ownerless, stray animals square measure way more than that further because the protection of animals has been allotted for hundreds of years and is usually accepted because the most efficient and property methodology of dominant infectious veterinary diseases.
Chapter
Meeting the physical and emotional needs of a therapy animal requires knowledge of species-typical behaviors. Though to ensure optimal welfare, an awareness of perceptive abilities and signs of stress and fear is necessary to avoid negative emotional states. This information can help those utilizing AAI to select appropriate species for patients and with the implementation of management practices to ensure the welfare of therapy animals. In order to provide a biological perspective on behavior, a review of emotional processing and memory is provided. The intention was to serve as a reminder that every experience shapes perception and for therapy animals every AAI should be perceived as positive. Lastly, training of therapy animals and reinforcement of appropriate and desired behaviors should be positive as it is more effective and humane than punitive methods, such as positive punishment. Learning the behavioral and social needs of a species will undoubtedly provide useful information to safeguard the welfare of therapy animals.
Chapter
Environmental enrichment programs are necessary to fully meet the needs of cats in shelters and should be given the same priority as provision for their medical and physical needs While research examining the efficacy of environmental enrichment to improve the welfare of shelter cats is still sparse, clearly stress and deprivation can reduce a cat's quality of life and its chance of successful adoption. Human social interaction is particularly important for kittens 2-7 weeks of age. Control may be the single most important factor in maintaining quality of life, and enrichment is an important means by which it is provided. Stress in shelters is not limited to the animals alone as shelter staffs are likewise regularly exposed to stressors; high turnover and compassion fatigue are common. Behavioral responses are important for assessing quality of life of cats in shelters because behavior is a primary method by which animals cope with stressors.
Chapter
Safety and sanitation concerns in animal sheltering can interfere with the ability to provide optimal welfare and well‐being for cats. Because of the unique biology of cats, sheltering additionally presents a number of potential stressors that can adversely affect feline welfare, including unfamiliar people, altered routines, inconsistent husbandry, and the disruption of social bonds. The greatest stressor is the inability to control or escape from confinement. Appropriately designed feline housing is a critical tool and starting point in reducing the stress experienced by shelter cats and ensuring their medical and behavioral health. The quantity and quality of housing spaces should be enriched, functionally complex settings that allow for cats to not only cope with their environment but to encourage them to engage in a wide range of normal behaviors. Housing that upholds the Five Freedoms as well as the Five Pillars of a Healthy Feline Environment that allow cats to meet their physical and behavioral needs not only enhances feline welfare but also facilitates adoption potential. Shelters should provide a variety of housing and enrichment options to help each cat acclimate to the sheltering environment in their own way.
Article
This article describes a study of thirteen women who had lived with companion animals during a domestic violence relationship. The women were interviewed in order to investigate how animals were affected by the violence, as well as how veterinarians were involved. Most women reported that companion animals had been abused or neglected by their partners, and they had delayed leaving due to concerns for animals left in the home. Affected animals most commonly demonstrated protection of the woman, and avoidance or aggression towards the partner. Only one woman confided to a veterinarian that she and her animals were living with domestic violence, and in four cases women's partners had prevented them from accessing veterinary care. It is recommended that veterinarians are educated on issues regarding animal guardianship during domestic violence to enhance their ability to provide knowledgeable and compassionate support when confronted with these cases in practice.
Chapter
Environmental enrichment should be part of a comprehensive animal care plan that supports the physical, behavioral, and psychological well-being of all animals throughout their stay in an animal shelter. Enrichment is only implemented after an animal begins displaying aberrant behavior. However, effective enrichment provides both therapy and protection against past, present, and even future stressors if thoughtfully implemented and appropriately monitored. This chapter presents some enrichment ideas using repurposed/donated items that provide adequate information to start or expand a practical and effective enrichment program. Social interaction is generally one of the most highly effective enrichments for social species, providing physical and mental exercise, play opportunities, contact comfort, sensory stimulation, and novel experiences. A successful enrichment program will be readily individualized and sustained throughout animals' shelter stay. The provision of toys is probably the most common enrichment attempt in shelters.
Chapter
More cats than dogs enter most animal shelters in the United States. Providing care for them presents unique challenges for a variety of reasons. Proper husbandry of cats in the shelter requires an understanding of the wide spectrum of feline lifestyles and an approach tailored to the individual needs of each group. This chapter presents key aspects unique to the husbandry of cats. A holistic approach is essential to ensure delivery of proper cat care in the shelter. Handling and restraining cats of varying ages, personality types, social experiences, and stress levels requires skill, knowledge of normal feline behavior and signaling, finesse, and proper equipment. Identification of cats in the shelter by use of a neckband, collar, and tag and/or a microchip is essential for preventive healthcare and ongoing surveillance of individuals, particularly where animals are grouphoused. The chapter tabulates core vaccines for shelter cats, and common drugs for parasite treatment and control.
Chapter
This chapter provides an overview of the initial intake processes for cats arriving at a shelter, including paperwork, handling, and medical evaluations. It then focuses on the various stressors in a shelter and their impact on cats, and the processes for assessment of feline behavior in the shelter setting. From a practical point of view in most settings, particularly in animal shelters, assessment of a cat's stress level will be based on their behavior. Because behavior reflects internal states, the observation of cats for abnormal behaviors in conjunction with an assessment of body language can provide a means to quickly assess a cat's stress level without invasive or expensive measures. Cats handled by animal shelters vary significantly in their genetics, personalities, socialization levels, and prior experiences and have typically been housed for a short period of time prior to a behavioral assessment of their reactions.
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Feline handling in the veterinary hospital is important to protect both people and cats. Restraint has been used to enable us to perform our duties as veterinarians. With increased knowledge of feline behavior and how cats react to fear, newer information provides us with safer handling techniques. With safer and more respectful handling based on understanding the nature of cats and their communication, we can improve feline health care in our hospitals, the human-animal-veterinarian bond, and the welfare of both cats and people. This article explains important aspects of feline communication and how our actions affect cats. By understanding the cat, we can improve our handling techniques to prevent fear and pain for our feline patients, and thus make our veterinary practices more feline friendly and safer for our clients, their cats, and veterinary staff.
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A developmental study in domestic cats (Felis silvestris catus) examined the interaction of their early socialisation and the friendliness of their father and its consequences on their later friendliness to people. Kittens were either handled between 2 and 12 weeks of age (socialised) or received no handling (unsocialised) during this period. These kittens were the offspring of either a ‘friendly’ father or an ‘unfriendly’ father. When 1 year old, these cats went through a series of three experiments: (1) response to a familiar person; (2) response to a stranger; and (3) response to a novel object. Cats socialised or from the friendly father were quicker to approach, touch and rub a test person, were more vocal and spent a greater total time within 1 m of them. Differences in the cats' response to a novel object could not be accounted for by differences in early socialisation. However, cats from the friendly father were quicker to approach, touch, explore and remain in close contact with the novel object than were cats from the unfriendly father. The genetic contribution to friendliness towards people in cats was reinterpreted as boldness; a general response to unfamiliar or novel objects irrespective of whether or not the objects are people. The socialisation effect was specific to the cats' response to people. Socialised cats and friendly-fathered cats were not only friendlier to unfamiliar people but less distressed when approached and handled by them.
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The welfare of seven domestic cats housed singly in a quarantine cattery was studied for six months. Behavioural data were obtained with cameras and by time-lapse video recording, and cortisol to creatinine ratios were measured in urine samples collected from litter trays. It took five weeks for the cats to show evidence of adaptation to their new environment. They spent most of the first two weeks concealed in a house on the floor of their cage. As they adapted, they spent less time hiding and more time higher in the cage. The cats were inactive for approximately 90 per cent of the time observed, and they received little human contact. Compared with the first day, the cats' cortisol to creatinine ratios were significantly lower from their second month in quarantine.
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TO evaluate the effects of a synthetic feline facial pheromone (FFP) on behavior and food intake of healthy versus clinically ill cats. Original study. 20 cats were used in each of 2 studies. In each study, 7 cats were considered healthy, and 13 cats were determined to be clinically ill. In study 1, cats were assigned either to exposure to FFP (treated group; 4 healthy, 6 ill cats) or to exposure to the vehicle (70% ethanol solution; control group; 3 healthy, 7 ill cats). Cats were placed in a cage containing a small cotton towel that had been sprayed with FFP or vehicle 30 minutes previously. Cats were then videotaped for 125 minutes, and food intake was measured during this period. Videotapes were scored at 5-minute intervals for various behaviors. In study 2, cats were categorized in 1 of 2 groups; group 1 (2 healthy, 8 ill cats) had a cat carrier placed in their cages, and group 2 (5 healthy, 5 ill cats) did not. All cats were exposed to FFP, and 24-hour food intake was measured. Differences between behaviors of healthy versus clinically ill cats were not identified. In the first study, significant increases in grooming and interest in food were found in cats exposed to FFP compared with vehicle. For all cats, significant positive correlations were detected between grooming and facial rubbing, walking and facial rubbing, interest in food and facial rubbing, eating and facial rubbing, grooming and interest in food, and grooming and eating. In the second study, 24-hour food intake was significantly greater in cats exposed to FFP and the cat carrier, compared with cats exposed to FFP alone. Results suggest that exposure to FFP may be useful to increase food intake of hospitalized cats.
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IA soft surface in the form of pillows was added to the environment of laboratory cats. Pillows (2/room) were added to a room housing nine cats and to another housing ten cats. The cats spent 25.3 ± 2.5% of their time on the pillows. Lying in the litter pan decreased from 29.7 ±5.5% to 11.7 ± 2.5%. Time spent lying in the curled position increased from 35.7 ± 2.7% before the pillows were added to 52.7 ±2% after the pillows were added. In a second experiment, a pillow was added to the cage of 5 individually housed cats. The cats spent 47.6 ±7% of their time on the pillows, and treading behavior was exhibited only when the pillow was present (4.7 ± 1.1 %). These results indicate that cats have a strong preference for resting on a soft surface. Provision of soft resting areas would be an important contribution to the welfare of laboratory cats.
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Domestic cats are highly precocious and prolific breeders. Uncontrolled reproduction and lack of consistent public attitudes regarding responsible cat ownership have led to serious welfare issues for the species, including overpopulation, orphan kittens, and free-roaming/feral cats. To date, public policy has focused on mass euthanasia as a means of population control. Promoting the value of sterility and veterinary care for cats and developing and implementing inexpensive nonsurgical means of sterilization are critical to improving the welfare of the species.
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The estrous cycle of the female cat (queen) is unique among domestic species and consists of five phases: proestrus, estrus, interestrus, diestrus, and anestrus. A broad range of individual variation in cycle length exists among queens. Female cats are seasonally polyestrous, extremely fertile, and precocious. Ovulation may be induced by both copulatory and noncopulatory stimulation. Pregnancy may be diagnosed by physical examination, radiography, ultrasonography, and measurement of plasma relaxin concentrations.
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Sixteen domestic cats were used to investigate the pituitary-adrenal, pituitary-gonadal and behavioral consequences of an unpredictable handling and husbandry routine. After a 10-day baseline period of standard laboratory procedures, eight cats (‘stressed cats’, STR) were subjected to a 21-day period of altered caretaking characterized by irregular feeding and cleaning times, absence of talking and petting by humans, and daily unpredictable manipulations. Eight control cats (CON group) were maintained for 21 days on the standard caretaking schedule. Behavior was recorded on time-lapse video 24 h day−1, urine was collected daily for cortisol analyses, and hormone stimulation tests with synthetic adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) and luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LHRH) were conducted before and after the 3-week treatment period. Results indicate that the STR cats were chronically stressed by the altered caretaking routine. Urinary cortisol concentrations were consistently elevated throughout the 3-week period, adrenal sensitivity to ACTH was enhanced and pituitary sensitivity to LHRH was reduced. Active exploratory and play behavior was suppressed, and STR cats spent more time awake/alert and attempting to hide. Hiding was negatively correlated with cortisol concentration and, therefore, may be an important behavior for coping with uncontrollable and unpredictable captive environments. These results indicate that qualitatively poor caretaking is a potent psychological stressor for confined cats that may eventually compromise reproduction through behavioral or physiological mechanisms. To promote well-being, caged cats should be provided with appropriate places for concealment.
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The potential of assessing adrenal responses to psychological stressors through the radioimmunoassay of free cortisol in urine was examined in the domestic cat (Felis catus) and in three nondomestic felid species (Felis geoffroyi, Felis bengalensis, and Felis concolor). To determine the approximate clearance rate of an acute increase in glucocorticoid secretion, serial plasma and bladder urine samples were collected from eight domestic cats after a 0.125 mg adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) challenge. Within 30 min of administration, mean serum cortisol concentrations increased tenfold. Urinary cortisol concentrations increased twofold by 2 hr post-ACTH and were correlated with the serum responses. Also, 16 domestic cats were anesthetized, injected with 0.125 mg ACTH, and serially bled for 3 hr. All urine was collected for 24 hr post-ACTH. Urinary cortisol concentrations were significantly elevated compared to pretreatment concentrations and were correlated to the serum cortisol response (net area under the response curve). In another experiment, urine was collected daily for a 7-day baseline period from 16 domestic cats housed in standard laboratory cages. Subsequently, 8 cats were subjected to 8 consecutive days of “stress,” consisting of relocation, physical restraint, and jugular venipuncture. The other 8 cats were-neither moved, nor handled, nor bled for the same period of time. Two patterns of response were observed among the “stressed” cats: urinary cortisol concentrations either increased or decreased between baseline and treatment periods. These response profiles differed from those of controls, which remained basal and unchanged over time. A fourth experiment involved relocating a female Geoffroy's cat, 4 leopard cats, and 2 pumas to a novel environment for 8–10 days. Urinary cortisol concentrations rose on the first day of relocation and remained elevated above baseline for 5–7 days. Overall, these data suggest that adrenal responsiveness to psychological stressors in these four felid species can be assessed noninvasively by measuring coritsol in 24-hr urine samples. This research strategy may be useful for optimizing captive habitats to improve overall animal welfare and/or reproductive performance. © 1992 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
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Captive small felids frequently pace repetitively and/or spend large amounts of time inactive. Presenting a fishing cat with live-fish resulted in more activity (60% less sleeping), increased behavioral diversity, including previously unobserved hunting behaviors, and greater enclosure utilization. Effects persisted for at least 48 h after presentation of live fish, and up to 8 days. In a second study, four leopard cats were fed: (1) once per day, (2) four times per day and, (3) four times per day with food hidden in small piles of brush. Multiple feedings of hidden food increased daily exploratory behavior from 5.5% to over 14%, and increased the diversity of behaviors observed. It also reduced the total duration, and bout length of stereotyped pacing. These studies suggest that providing food to small cats in a way that minimizes predictability of food availability, while maximizing the functional consequences of foraging behavior, can be an effective enrichment technique. These results are discussed in relation to two models of behavioral motivation, one that focuses on the issue of behavioral needs, and the other that emphasizes the importance of information acquisition. © 1993 Wiley-Liss, Inc
Article
For cats, appropriate housing conditions and a quick adjustment to new surroundings should be promoted during temporary stays in animal shelters and boarding catteries. In this study the development of stress in 140 boarding cats during a two-week stay under single-, pair- and group-housing conditions in a boarding cattery was investigated and compared with the stress levels of 45 control cats which had been at the animal shelter for several weeks. Signs of stress were recorded by a non-invasive Cat-Stress-Score.Overall, the levels of stress in boarding cats declined during the two weeks of boarding, with a pronounced decline in the first days, but did not reach the stress levels of the control group by the end of the second week of housing. In the second week, the average stress level of about one third of all boarding cats was rated higher than 'weakly tense' with 4 per cent of cats rated even higher than 'very tense'. Neither housing style (single, paired or grouped) nor age had an influence on stress levels.It was concluded that about two thirds of the boarding cats adjusted well to the boarding cattery during a two-week stay, while for the other third, temporary boarding was more stressful. For 4 per cent of the animals the two-week stay in a boarding cattery was classified as inappropriate because no reduction of their high stress levels occurred.
Article
It is generally accepted that to carry out certain trials or procedures, particularly metabolism or digestibility studies, it is necessary to house animals singly, often in sterile metal cages which differ greatly from the animal's normal living accommodation. The lack of choice, mental and physical stimulation and general 'creature comforts' increases the stress of isolation.The design of the buildings at the Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition aim to ameliorate these unsatisfactory conditions and provide environmental enrichment, freedom of choice and mental and physical stimulation, in housing as similar as possible to the normal housing of domestic pets.
Article
Cats living long-term (over one month) in shelters were assessed for behavioural indicators of stress, using a stress scoring method in combination with behavioural observation. It is hypothesised that because of the inappropriate social grouping of unrelated adult cats and group instability, communal housing creates more stress than discrete-unit housing. Seventy-two cats were observed: 36 were housed communally with unfamiliar conspecifics, and 36 were housed in discrete units, either alone or with other previously familiar conspecifics. The mean stress score was greater in communal housing than in discrete-unit housing. Stress scores range from 1 to 7, with 1 indicating no stress experienced, and 7 indicating extreme stress. Individual scores showed that cats in discrete units, in comparison to those in communal housing, gained a significantly higher percentage of observations in the score 2 category, indicating that no stress was being experienced. Cats in communal housing gained a significantly higher percentage in the score 4 category (stressed). Score 5 was found exclusively in communal housing, but only in 2% of instances. Extreme stress was not found in cats housed under either condition. Cats in the different types of housing differed in their frequencies of hiding, play, sleeping/resting in close contact with one another, and agonistic behaviour. There was no difference between housing types in frequency of eating, drinking, grooming, and toilet use. In this study, cats housed communally experienced moderately higher levels of stress than cats housed in discrete units. Further research is recommended to determine the effect on stress levels of longer shelter residence time and of changes in group size and/or density.
Article
This study investigated the influence of density and floor area on stress and the adaptation process of cats in animal shelters and boarding catteries. Sixty-three rescued cats were observed on 113 days in a shelter at group densities of 0.3-0.9 animals m−2. In addition, 49 rescued cats were observed during their first week after being admitted to a control group housed at a density of 0.5 or 0.8 animals m−2, and 44 boarding cats were observed in single cages of either 0.7 or 1.0 m−2 floor area during their first week in a cattery.Group density was highly correlated with the stress level of animals housed in groups. A stress level of 'weakly tense' was reached when the group density reached 0.6 animals m−2. During the first week of their stay, stress levels among cats which had been newly admitted to groups housed at 0.5 or 0.8 animals m−2 did not differ significantly. On days 1, 2 and 6 after admission, boarding cats housed in single cages with a floor area of 1.0m2 had significantly lower stress levels than animals in cages with a floor area of 0.7m2.Group density was clearly shown to influence the adaptation process of cats which were housed for several weeks in groups. In order to avoid high stress levels, a group density of 0.6 animals m−2 should not be exceeded. However, the minimum spatial requirement for singly housed cats remains unknown.
Article
The behaviour of 10 adult individually-caged male cats was measured either in their normal cage or with additional objects, a log and a ball. Each cat was observed during five days in each condition. Results show an important novelty effect at the beginning of observations, especially for rubbing and paddling behaviour. Introduction of objects in the cages resulted in a decrease in inactivity and self-play activities, and an increase in sniffing objects and play behaviours with objects. This was particularly important with the ball. Whereas these modifications decreased over days with the log, a high level of activity was maintained with the ball, The importance of the movement and of the function of the object is discussed. An improved way of rearing isolated cats is suggested.
Article
Used ratings of friendliness toward and by familiar persons to differentiate adult female cats and their 3–4 mo old offspring at 2 separate cat colonies. Results show that male cats exerted some influence over the behavioral trait of friendliness toward humans among their offspring, without ever coming into social contact with them. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Investigated whether socialization of the cat towards conspecifics and people influenced adaptation to 2 types of housing. Socialization in 169 rescued neutered 1–8 yr old cats was determined by 2 behavioral tests and a socialization questionnaire. Stress levels of the cats in the animal shelter single- and group-housing conditions were recorded by the non-invasive Cat-Stress-Score (M. R. Kessler and D. C. Turner, 1997). Cats non-socialized toward conspecifics (n-SC) were more stressed than cats socialized toward conspecifics (SC) in the group enclosure. During the 1st hr and on Days 6 and 7, n-SC cats were significantly less stressed under the single-housing condition. Other members of the group had a higher stress level when an n-SC cat entered the group. Among SC cats there was no difference in stress between housing conditions. Cats non-socialized toward people were more stressed than cats socialized toward people during the whole stay under both housing conditions. It was concluded that n-SC cats should be held under single-housing conditions. For SC cats, both conditions are equally recommended for stays of a few weeks. Shelter stays for cats not socialized toward people should be avoided. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Three domestic cats were given i.m. injections of 3H-cortisol to determine the time course and relative proportion of excreted 3H-cortisol metabolites into urine and feces. Most urinary radioactivity was detected in the first sample collected at 3.9 ± 2.5 hr postinjection and accounted for 13.9 ± 2.1% of the total radioactivity recovered. High performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) detected four urinary metabolites, one of which (13.7% urinary radioactivity) eluted with the 3H-cortisol reference tracer and was quantifiable using a commercial cortisol radioimmunoassay (RIA). The majority of cortisol metabolites in feces (85.9 ± 2.1%) was excreted at 22.3 ± 6.2 hr. HPLC analysis detected several fecal metabolites consisting primarily of nonhydolyzable water-soluble forms, none of which eluted with 3H-cortisol or 3H-corticosterone reference tracers. No immunoreactivity was detected in HPLC-separated fecal eluates using the cortisol RIA; however, two of the more polar metabolites were quantifiable using a commerical cortisosterone RIA. The physiological relevance of the immunoreactive fecal metabolites was determined in four domestic cats given an adrenocorticotropin (ACTH) challenge. Increased serum cortisol concentrations were detected within 30 min of ACTH injection, which was maintained for at least 6 hr. A corresponding increase in fecal cortisol metabolite concentrations (ranging from 238% to 826% over individual baseline values) was observed 24–48 hr later. These data indicate that adrenocortical activity can be monitored nonivasively in the cat by measuring cortisol metabolites excreted in feces. This procedure is a potentially valuable tool for endangered felid management to help evaluate responses to physiological and psychological stressors associated with environmental conditions and husbandry practices. (This article is a US Government work and, as such, is in the public domain in the United States of America.) © 1996 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
Article
This study was undertaken to examine and reduce the stress and aggressiveness associated with fear of handling in laboratory cats (Felis sylvestris catus). Thirteen litters of kittens from a specific pathogen-free breeding colony were divided into three treatment groups: two were early weaned, removed from the colony and caged individually with or without handling up to 8 weeks of age, and the third served as a control group, removed from the colony just before testing. Behavior tests measuring degree of friendliness to humans and response to physical restraint were performed at ages 8, 12, 16, and 20 weeks. Serum cortisol concentrations were measured after each test. Results indicate that litter and sire influenced tractability but that handling or individual caging of kittens did not. Posttest serum cortisol concentrations were below normal adult levels in most kittens, including those reacting fearfully during testing and aggressively during restraint, and, therefore, are not a reliable indicator of stress in juvenile cats.
Article
The re-excretion of feline viral rhinotracheitis (FVR) virus (feline herpesvirus I) by FVR-recovered cats is recorded both spontaneously and following a variety of stimuli, namely, corticosteroid administration, change of housing, and parturition and lactation. At least 27 of 33 (82%) FVR-recovered cats studied were shown to be viral carriers. The carrier state was characterised by periods of viral latency interspersed with episodes of viral shedding. Administration of 0-75 mg dexamethasone trimethylacetate and 2-25 mg prednisolone on days 0,2 and 4 resulted in re-excretion after a mean lag period of 7-2 days in 22 of 32 (69%) FVR-recovered cats on a total of 31 of 57 (54%) occasions. Rehousing resulted in virus re-excretion after a mean lag period of 7-2 days in four of 22 (18%) cats tested on a total of six of 40 (15%) occasions. Apparently spontaneous shedding occurred on a total of 10 occasions in nine of 31 (29%) cats during a mean observation period of 8-8 months. Four of six FVR-recovered queens in a total of four of 10 litters (40%) shed virus within two to 10 weeks of parturition. Serum neutralising antibody titres were generally boosted at the time of first re-infection but afterwards remained essentially constant. Although 82% of cats in these studies were shown to be viral carriers, only 45% of cats shed virus spontaneously or as a result of the natural stress situations and it is postulted that these naturally excreting cats are of most significance epidemiologically.
Article
Sound, active programs for management and disease control are crucial to the long-term viability of a feline reproduction colony. The guidelines provided here may be individually tailored for management programs in catteries of all sizes. The clinician involved with the health care of reproducing cats incurs a broad range of responsibility, and the impact of incomplete application of basic principles must be appreciated.
Article
The process of domestication, which began 12,000 years ago, before the beginnings of agriculture, continues as humans and domestic animals coexist, interact, and profoundly influence the shape of each other's social spaces. Although its beginnings were simple, this process has become increasingly complex. Attention to relationships between humans and companion animals commonly focuses on dogs and cats; however, companion animals and pets take various shapes in numerous places with and have diverse, overlapping functions and specializations.
Article
Cats form social groups in which individuals recognize each other, and the cohesiveness of the group is maintained by a variety of amicable behaviors. Agonistic behavior may occur between group members and between group members and nongroup members. Within the domestic environment, agonistic behavior may become a problem when it is directed at housemates or humans. Differential diagnosis and treatment of various problems of aggressive behavior are discussed.
Article
To determine whether a diurnal pattern exists in cardiovascular variables and motor activity, and whether pharmacologic agents that decrease (angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitor) or increase (N omega-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester [L-NAME]) blood pressure alter the pattern. 6 clinically normal cats. Radiotelemetric implants were used to measure systemic arterial pressure, heart rate, and motor activity in conscious cats maintained in cages. Measurements were obtained during absence of treatment (control), treatment with dietary salt restriction plus an inhibitor of angiotensin converting enzyme (2.5 mg of lisinopril, PO, daily) and treatment with an inhibitor of nitric oxide production (0.1% L-NAME in the drinking water). A diurnal pattern in arterial pressure and motor activity was observed, with highest values obtained during presence of laboratory personnel. Mean values of arterial pressure obtained during light hours varied from those obtained during darkness (P < 0.05), but by < 3 mm of Hg. Dietary sodium restriction did not have an appreciable effect on arterial pressure, but the combined administration of a low sodium diet plus lisinopril decreased (P < 0.05) measured indices of arterial pressure. Administration of L-NAME increased arterial pressure (P < 0.05) and altered its diurnal pattern. Although a diurnal pattern of arterial pressure was observed, variations were mostly associated with presence of human beings. Administration of L-NAME, but not lisinopril, altered this diurnal pattern. Factors that modify arterial pressure may alter the diurnal pattern of cardiovascular variables. In measuring arterial pressure in cats, the effects of human contact may artifactually increase such variables.
Article
Cat owners commonly consider their pets to be members of their families, and many factors contribute to a high level of owner attachment to their cats. Suppression of a cat's emotional needs in favour of the emotional requirements of the owner may produce a less satisfactory relationship for the owner, and usually for the cat as well. Owners' failure to comprehend their cat's true demands of life, and their false expectation of their ability to fulfil human psychological demands lies at the heart of many feline behaviour problems.
Article
An increasing body of research work has made it clear that, while Felis catus can survive in the solitary state, social groups with an internal structure, are formed whenever there are sufficient food resources to support them. Most people who have cats have two or more cats. Failure to understand what will promote either friendly or aggressive behavior can lead to various behavior problems, including aggression and conflict over resources, such as food, resting sites and litterboxes. An understanding of the natural social organization, relationships and communication between cats is therefore essential, and is the subject of this paper.
Article
Despite variation in terminology it is clear that the context in which feline aggression occurs is important for classification, prevention and treatment. Many of the aggressions discussed can be considered variants of normal feline behavior, so client education is particularly important. Educated clients will know when their cat can benefit from veterinary intervention, and when closing a door may be sufficient. The goals of treating all feline aggressions should be safety for all concerned, and quality of their living environment for the cats. The greater our knowledge, the more likely we are to achieve these goals.
Article
Americans profess a great love for their companion animals, and, indeed, their expenditures on food and other products for their dogs and cats would seem to confirm this. However, each year, many millions of dogs and cats are brought to animal shelters, where the majority are euthanized. Our inability to provide reasonably valid statistics related to this concern makes it difficult to offer a credible presentation on the need for a concerted effort to deal with the issue, design initiatives to ameliorate the problem, or evaluate progress and performance of these efforts. In this article we review some of the past efforts to document the scale of the "pet overpopulation" problem. We reexamine long-term shelter statistics from a single shelter system and present new data that reflect a recent cooperative effort to understand the origins and disposition of dogs and cats received by animal shelters.