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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 and Less Socialized cats that sniffed during the Greet assessment across different time periods.
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animals-03-01162-f005: Percentage of More Socialized and Less Socialized cats that sniffed during the Greet assessment across different time periods.

Mentions: Among the Weak behaviors (sniff, roll, reach, approach front of cage, yawn, groom, standing or moving and still moving at the end of the assessment), there were a variety of patterns across time periods and assessments. Sniff by More Socialized cats was common in all assessments but no consistent pattern of change across time periods was apparent (Figure 5). Rolling was most common during the first two assessments (Greet and Crack Cage Door) and tended to become more frequent across time periods. Reach toward observer or toy was most common by far with Interactive Toy and tended to peak in frequency during the AM-Day 3 time period. Approach and Body Standing or Moving (from Body Position at end of assessment) were most common for the Greet assessment and peaked at AM-Day 3. Yawning was most common in the Crack Cage Door assessment and the PM time periods. The pattern for Groom was unclear except for being much more common among More Socialized cats. Very few cats were Still Moving at the end of assessment but it was seen primarily in More Socialized cats during the Crack Cage Door assessment.


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 and Less Socialized cats that sniffed during the Greet assessment 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-f005: Percentage of More Socialized and Less Socialized cats that sniffed during the Greet assessment across different time periods.
Mentions: Among the Weak behaviors (sniff, roll, reach, approach front of cage, yawn, groom, standing or moving and still moving at the end of the assessment), there were a variety of patterns across time periods and assessments. Sniff by More Socialized cats was common in all assessments but no consistent pattern of change across time periods was apparent (Figure 5). Rolling was most common during the first two assessments (Greet and Crack Cage Door) and tended to become more frequent across time periods. Reach toward observer or toy was most common by far with Interactive Toy and tended to peak in frequency during the AM-Day 3 time period. Approach and Body Standing or Moving (from Body Position at end of assessment) were most common for the Greet assessment and peaked at AM-Day 3. Yawning was most common in the Crack Cage Door assessment and the PM time periods. The pattern for Groom was unclear except for being much more common among More Socialized cats. Very few cats were Still Moving at the end of assessment but it was seen primarily in More Socialized cats during the Crack Cage Door assessment.

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.