Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Cats and Behavioral Problems -- what you need to know to be a serious caretaker for your loved one

Title: The elimination behavior patterns of domestic cats (Felis catus) with and without elimination behavior problems
Author(s): Sung, Wailani
Degree: Ph.D.
Year: 2001
Pages: 00025
Institution: University of Georgia; 0077
Advisor: Director Sharon Crowell-Davis
Source: DAI, 62, no. 09B (2001): p. 4206
Standard No: ISBN: 0-493-37413-2
Abstract: The elimination patterns of single housed domestic cats were studied to test three hypotheses regarding the relationship between litterbox location and the cats' use of space in the house: (1) The litterbox location was predicted to differ between cats that eliminate in the litterbox (control) and cats that eliminate outside the litterbox. Specifically, the control cats would have the litterboxes located within the core area, whereas problem cats would be more likely to have the litterboxes located outside the core area; (2) There would be an inverse correlation between the time any cat spends digging, sniffing, covering and pawing within the litterbox and the distance of the litterbox from the central core area; (3) There would be a difference in elimination behavior at the litterbox between control cats and problem cats. Specifically, when they do use the litterbox, the problem cats would spend less time digging prior to elimination and covering after elimination than control cats. A total of forty cats in single cat households were observed, twenty cats without any elimination behavior problem and twenty cats with elimination behavior problems. A camcorder was positioned outside of the litterbox to record the sequence of behaviors of each cat prior to and during elimination and the behavior exhibited afterwards. In households with problem cats, one camcorder was focused on the litterbox and a second (and, if necessary, a third) camera was used to record the pattern of behavior at the areas in which the cats preferred to eliminate. The camcorders were used to record the elimination behavior for 72 hours. Use of space in the house was recorded by direct observation during 400 minutes of these 72 hours. This study found that litterbox location did not differ between cats with and without elimination behavior problems. An inverse correlation was found between time spent sniffing and the distance of the litterbox from the central core area. Problem cats spent significantly less time digging at the litterbox than control cats. There was no significant difference in the time the two groups of cats spent covering after elimination.

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