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Wolf, Aida, 2022. Human’s Attitude toward Cats and their Behavior : a survey study. Second cycle, A2E. Uppsala: SLU, Dept. of Animal Environment and Health

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Abstract

The domestic cat has many environmental needs that mirror those of their ancestor, the North
African Wildcat. To ensure the wellbeing of domestic cats, these environmental needs should be
met. If they are not met it can result in stress/fear/anxiety/frustration that can be expressed through
behavioral problems. The owner’s actions toward such problems can potentially lead to an even
greater decrease in the quality of life for the cat.
Using an online survey, this study examined the frequency of certain behavioral problems in cats in
Sweden and how the owners experience and choose to react to them. It also surveyed the general
attitude of the respondents toward cats and examined if there was a correlation between coming
from a cat shelter and expressing certain behavioral problems. Data was analyzed through descripttive statistics with a calculation of percentages. Some data were analyzed with chi-square test.
The specific behaviors investigated were presented through seven case studies and included: the cat
urinating outside of the litterbox, biting and/or scratching the owner, meowing loudly and/or hiding
in the cage during a veterinary visit, staying in the cage once home from the veterinarian, scratching
the owner’s furniture, stealing from the owner’s plate of food and scratching a child after being
provoked. The frequency of these behaviors was much higher compared to the literature, possibly
due to differences in how survey questions are phrased. However, it might also indicate a large
proportion of cats living in less-than-ideal environments in Sweden. The behaviors with the highest
prevalence included biting and/or scratching the owner (82%) and scratching the owner’s furniture
(82%), followed by stealing from the owner’s plate of food (67%). Respondents were split into two
groups, those who had experienced the behavior previously and those who had not. The behavior
that caused the most negative response among both groups of respondents was scratching the
owner’s furniture. By evaluating owner’s emotional reaction and response to an initial and repeated
behavior, it could be speculated that inappropriate urination, biting and/or scratching the owner and
scratching the owner’s furniture were most likely to cause a breakdown of the cat-owner bond.
The likelihood of seeking help from animal healthcare professionals increased in all case studies
among both groups if the behavior was repeating itself. These behaviors and how they affect the catowner bond are important for a veterinarian to understand in order to educate owners on ways to
enrich the cat’s environment and thus improve such behavior. If objectionable behavior is properly
addressed, there can be an improved quality of life for the companion cat, a strengthening of the cathuman bond, an increased utilization of veterinary services and a decreased number of relinquishments and euthanasia.

Main title:Human’s Attitude toward Cats and their Behavior
Subtitle:a survey study
Authors:Wolf, Aida
Supervisor:Andersson, Maria and Hirsch, Elin
Examiner:Yngvesson, Jenny
Series:UNSPECIFIED
Volume/Sequential designation:UNSPECIFIED
Year of Publication:2022
Level and depth descriptor:Second cycle, A2E
Student's programme affiliation:VY002 Veterinary Medicine Programme 330 HEC
Supervising department:(VH) > Dept. of Animal Environment and Health
Keywords:cats, felines, behavioral problems, environmental needs, cat demographics, Sweden, attitude toward cats
URN:NBN:urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-s-17547
Permanent URL:
http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-s-17547
Subjects:Animal ecology
Language:English
Deposited On:21 Feb 2022 07:35
Metadata Last Modified:22 Feb 2022 02:01

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