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Practical Physical and Behavioral Measures to Assess the Socialization Spectrum of Cats in a Shelter-Like Setting during a Three Day Period.

Slater M, Garrison L, Miller K, Weiss E, Makolinski K, Drain N, Mirontshuk A - Animals (Basel) (2013)

Bottom Line: Agencies are challenged with making the determination of socialization level in a highly stressful environment where cats are often too frightened to show typical behaviors.Our results show that certain behaviors such as rubbing, playing, chirping, having the tail up or being at the front of the cage were found to be unique to More Socialized cats.These results will be used in future work to develop an assessment tool to identify the socialization status of cats as a standardized guide for transparent and reliable disposition decisions and higher live release rates for cats in animal shelters.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Shelter Research and Development, Community Outreach, American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA®), 50 Stone Ridge Drive, Florence, MA 01062, USA. margaret.slater@aspca.org.

ABSTRACT
Animal welfare organizations routinely accept large numbers of cats with unknown histories, and whose backgrounds vary from well-socialized pets to cats that have had little or no contact with humans. Agencies are challenged with making the determination of socialization level in a highly stressful environment where cats are often too frightened to show typical behaviors. A variety of structured behavioral assessments were conducted in a shelter-like environment, from intake through a three day holding period, on cats from the full range of socialization as reported by their caregivers. Our results show that certain behaviors such as rubbing, playing, chirping, having the tail up or being at the front of the cage were found to be unique to More Socialized cats. While not all more socialized cats showed these behaviors, cats that did were socialized. Assessing the cats throughout the three day period was beneficial in eliciting key behaviors from shyer and more frightened cats. These results will be used in future work to develop an assessment tool to identify the socialization status of cats as a standardized guide for transparent and reliable disposition decisions and higher live release rates for cats in animal shelters.

No MeSH data available.


Percentage of More Socialized cats that played during different assessments and across different time periods.
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animals-03-01162-f002: Percentage of More Socialized cats that played during different assessments and across different time periods.

Mentions: As shown in Table 3, Strong behaviors were chirp, rub, knead, touch, play, being at the front of the cage and tail up. The incidence of chirping in More Socialized cats increased with time, especially during the Greet assessment. Cats that rubbed, kneaded or touched tended to do more of those behaviors with time. However, the assessments which evoked the most responses for Strong or Weak behaviors varied by behavior. For example, Crack Cage Door resulted in more rub and knead responses, and Interactive Toy evoked more touch and play. Being at the front of the cage was most common with Crack Cage Door, Novel Object and Interactive Toy and tended to increase through AM-Day 3 (Figure 1). Play was most common during Interactive Toy (Figure 2). More Socialized cats tended to gradually decrease the frequency of tightly wrapped tails (Figure 3) and crouched body position with time while Less Socialized cats continue to frequently display these behaviors. Tail up was most common during the Crack Door assessment, tended to increase with time and was almost exclusively shown by More Socialized cats (Figure 4).


Practical Physical and Behavioral Measures to Assess the Socialization Spectrum of Cats in a Shelter-Like Setting during a Three Day Period.

Slater M, Garrison L, Miller K, Weiss E, Makolinski K, Drain N, Mirontshuk A - Animals (Basel) (2013)

Percentage of More Socialized cats that played during different assessments and across different time periods.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4494365&req=5

animals-03-01162-f002: Percentage of More Socialized cats that played during different assessments and across different time periods.
Mentions: As shown in Table 3, Strong behaviors were chirp, rub, knead, touch, play, being at the front of the cage and tail up. The incidence of chirping in More Socialized cats increased with time, especially during the Greet assessment. Cats that rubbed, kneaded or touched tended to do more of those behaviors with time. However, the assessments which evoked the most responses for Strong or Weak behaviors varied by behavior. For example, Crack Cage Door resulted in more rub and knead responses, and Interactive Toy evoked more touch and play. Being at the front of the cage was most common with Crack Cage Door, Novel Object and Interactive Toy and tended to increase through AM-Day 3 (Figure 1). Play was most common during Interactive Toy (Figure 2). More Socialized cats tended to gradually decrease the frequency of tightly wrapped tails (Figure 3) and crouched body position with time while Less Socialized cats continue to frequently display these behaviors. Tail up was most common during the Crack Door assessment, tended to increase with time and was almost exclusively shown by More Socialized cats (Figure 4).

Bottom Line: Agencies are challenged with making the determination of socialization level in a highly stressful environment where cats are often too frightened to show typical behaviors.Our results show that certain behaviors such as rubbing, playing, chirping, having the tail up or being at the front of the cage were found to be unique to More Socialized cats.These results will be used in future work to develop an assessment tool to identify the socialization status of cats as a standardized guide for transparent and reliable disposition decisions and higher live release rates for cats in animal shelters.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Shelter Research and Development, Community Outreach, American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA®), 50 Stone Ridge Drive, Florence, MA 01062, USA. margaret.slater@aspca.org.

ABSTRACT
Animal welfare organizations routinely accept large numbers of cats with unknown histories, and whose backgrounds vary from well-socialized pets to cats that have had little or no contact with humans. Agencies are challenged with making the determination of socialization level in a highly stressful environment where cats are often too frightened to show typical behaviors. A variety of structured behavioral assessments were conducted in a shelter-like environment, from intake through a three day holding period, on cats from the full range of socialization as reported by their caregivers. Our results show that certain behaviors such as rubbing, playing, chirping, having the tail up or being at the front of the cage were found to be unique to More Socialized cats. While not all more socialized cats showed these behaviors, cats that did were socialized. Assessing the cats throughout the three day period was beneficial in eliciting key behaviors from shyer and more frightened cats. These results will be used in future work to develop an assessment tool to identify the socialization status of cats as a standardized guide for transparent and reliable disposition decisions and higher live release rates for cats in animal shelters.

No MeSH data available.