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If you belong to a cat, scientists want to hear from you

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Scientists in California are asking about it US Volunteers who live with cats participate in a new one research project. That The study will ask owners about their pet’s behavior and their knowledge of training methods. The team’s overall goal is to help cats – especially kittens – and humans form healthy relationships with one another.

The work is being conducted by scientists at the Animal Welfare Epidemiology Lab at the University of California Davis. Last fall, the team recruited Volunteers who owned exactly two cats Watching cat videos online as part of a project to study how well owners can read cat body language. They were particularly interested in knowing if owners could know when cats were about to lash out at her furry roommates.

That project is still ongoing, but the lab is now beginning work on a new study. This timethey want to explore cat socialization from the perspective of their owners and how much meaning owner place on various aspects of cat socialization.

‚ÄúSocialization here refers to the introduction of the animal to new people, places, and objects. This includes everything from kitten socialization programs (often referred to as “kitten nursery”) to adult cats adventuring with their owner,” project researcher Jennifer Link, a graduate student in the lab, told Gizmodo.

Link notes that newly adopted dogs and their owners routinely participate in special socialization programs. But the same is not true for families who own cats. Some reasons for this discrepancy could be that cat owners are not interested in these programs; that you cannot afford or access them; or that they just don’t know them exist at all. Another focus of the project will be to find out why so few families attend kitten daycare.

“Once we’ve collected all the answers, we can share our findings with animal shelters, cat behaviorists and the public. hopefully to make cat and kitten socialization more accessible to all who want to achieve it,” she said.


Cheddar “Chiz” Cara, the worst possible lab object in the world.
photo: EdCara

Perhaps unsurprisingly, studying cats and their interactions with humans isn’t as easy as studying dogs. For example, cats can become very anxious when outside of their normal environment, meaning their behavior in a lab is likely to be significantly different than usual. So polls and Citizen Science Projects that can be performed at home can bridge these research gaps. And this study in particular could help scientists like Link figure out the best ways to improve cat-human bonds from an early age.

“In short: a good onesocialized kitten will be a goodadapted adult and we want to do everything in our power to create better onessocialized kittens. We hope that our study will be a good first step in this process,” said Link.

The team aims to collect around 2,500 survey responses in total, with the goal of showing something to the public within the next 12 to 18 months. Eligible volunteers (current cat owners in the US) are eligible to register hereand completing the survey should take no more than 10 to 15 minutes.