Cat Social Behavior

Cat Behavior Ethogram

Definitions of some of the social behaviors displayed between domestic cats. Affiliative behaviors are those used during interactions with preferred associates- including other cats and humans! They often indicate a social bond between the individuals exists. Aggressive behaviors are displayed during conflicts. Sometimes aggressive behaviors are modified for use during play- like cuffing and chasing. Always watch the full interaction to better understand the behavior’s function.

 

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Upcoming talk! Improving the human-cat bond through a better understanding of cat behavior, training, and enrichment

KristynHeadshotSpeaker: Kristyn Vitale 
When:
Thursday 9/22/2016 @ 6:00 PM
Where: SafeHaven Training Center, Tangent, OR
Cost: Suggested donation of $5 at the door per guest.

Click here and select “Improving the human-cat bond…”  below “Guest Speaker” to register for the lecture! 

Although domestic cats are one of the most popular companion animals, outnumbering even dogs by almost 10 million in the US alone, relatively little scientific research has been conducted with cats. Many questions regarding cat behavior, especially their social behavior with humans, remain unanswered. With over 3.4 million cats entering already crowded shelters each year, many applied benefits exist from research into the human-cat bond. This talk will cover our scientific understanding of cat behavior and provide enrichment and training tips to help improve cat welfare and strengthen the human-cat bond.

Oregon State researcher proves cats can be trained

New Media Mention: OSU Stories, June 2016
Link to full story

kristynkitten1It’s a Friday evening in the Oldfield Animal Teaching hospital, and while most of the faculty has checked out for the weekend, Ph.D. research fellow Kristyn Vitale Shreve finds herself in the classroom with a few students. Some are sitting nicely in chairs, but others are jumping on desks, wandering the room or sniffing each other. These “students” are kittens between four and eight months old, accompanied by their owners to Shreve’s six-week training and socialization course….

To read the rest of the article click here!

 

Building the Bond Between Cats and People

New Media Mention: Kym Pokorny, Oregon’s Agricultural Progress, Summer 2016
Link to full story

hatcatsShreve is a National Science Foundation graduate fellow pursuing a Ph.D. in animal sciences at Oregon State University. As part of Monique Udell’s Human-Animal Interaction lab, Shreve’s research focuses on cat behavior, cognition, and human-cat interactions. She’s had her share of people wonder why—or even if—cats can be trained and socialized……

To read the rest of the article click here!

 

Kitten Training Classes? New Research Suggests Cat Stereotypes Are Just That

New Media Mention: Kyle Bunnell, The Corvallis Advocate June 22, 2016
Link to full story

CA_June-23_cover2Kristyn Shreve, a graduate research fellow in OSU’s Human-Animal Interaction Lab, or HAI Lab, loves cats. She plays with them, talks to them, and, most importantly, studies them. It turns out we know rather little about cat cognition. Science has a lot left to tell us about the best way to communicate with our feline friends, including whether or not they even consider us friends at all. And this is where the research at the HAI Lab comes in. A study they are currently conducting aims to shed some light on the ways in which cats and humans socialize with one another. Not only that, but as part of the study, free kitten-training classes are given, providing a foundation for communication between owners and cats. This is research that has not been done before, and, looking at the numbers, is sorely needed…….

To read the rest of the article click here!

 

Socializing cats to aid adoptability

New Media Mention: Susan C. Kahler, JAVMA news April 15, 2016
Link to full news bulletin 

5b8c2-10747749_837752042921925_1954829831_nKristyn Vitale Shreve, a doctoral student and National Science Foundation graduate fellow in the Human-Animal Interaction Laboratory at Oregon State University, said that behavioral issues or cat-owner incompatibility account for at least 27 percent of the cats surrendered to shelters by owners.

Once in a shelter, dogs and cats spend more time in close proximity to an inattentive human than pets do, Vitale Shreve noted. She conducted a sociability test of 23 cats in a shelter, comprising an inattentive phase and an attentive phase of human interaction. The cats were aware of the attention or lack of attention. Meowing vocalization sometimes served as a cue that a cat was seeking human attention.

 “Cats are facultatively social and display various levels of social behavior, depending on their environment and upbringing,” she said.

She said that human interaction through touch and vocalization can increase a cat’s affiliative behaviors and activity levels, cause it to seek close proximity with humans, and potentially decrease stereotypic behaviors, cortisol levels, and stress behavior.

“Cats in shelters that were given up were more stressed than strays,” she said. “You might want to focus (your efforts) first in the shelter on them.”

Vitale Shreve suggested implementing a shelter interaction protocol and enrichment activities such as providing food balls filled with treats to increase adoption rates, reduce return rates, and reduce stress-related behaviors.