Objective—To investigate the relationship of litter box location as it relates to cats' use of space in the house, elimination problems, and certain behaviors associated with elimination.
Sample Population—40 cats in single-cat house-holds with or without elimination behavior problems (20 cats/group).
Procedures—Camcorders were used to record the cats' behaviors at the litter box and other areas in which they eliminated during a 72-hour period. Use of space in the house was recorded by direct observation during 400 minutes of the 72-hour period. Elimination behaviors and other cat- and litter box–associated variables were compared between groups; litter box location with respect to inappropriate elimination was assessed.
Results—Litter box 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 litter box from the central core area. Cats with elimination problems spent significantly less time digging at the litter box than cats without elimination problems. There was no significant difference in the time spent pawing in litter box, sniffing, or covering excreta after elimination between the 2 groups of cats.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Times spent digging in litter boxes by cats with and without elimination problems have been determined, and data suggest that actual digging times could be used as a means to test for litter preference and litter aversion. This information may also be used to identify cats with litter aversion prior to the development of an elimination problem.
Objective—To determine whether the direction of
dominance as determined by agonistic interactions
away from food was different from the direction of
dominance as determined by access to a resource in
Procedure—Dyadic relationships and hierarchy
formed from observation of agonistic interactions
away from food were compared with those formed
from interactions at the food bowl. A cat was scored
as subordinate to another cat if it lost 3 of 3 interactions
or lost ≥ 75% of the interactions when > 3 interactions
Results—Cats were observed for 449.4 hours.
Hierarchy rank determined by agonistic interactions
away from food was significantly correlated with rank
determined by interactions at the food bowl. In 27 of
31 dyads, the direction of dominance was the same
for food bowl and agonistic relationships, which was
significant. In post hoc analyses, when considering
the relationship between 2 cats, the heavier cat most
likely ranked higher in each hierarchy; however, age
was not significantly correlated with either hierarchy.
On the basis of dyadic information, the older cat in a
dyad was more often dominant in agonistic interactions.
Males had a higher mean dominance rank than
females; however, sex had no effect on rank determined
by interactions at the food bowl.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Factors influencing
dominant-subordinate relationships are of interest
for understanding and treating behavior problems
such as aggression and resource control. The outcome
of agonistic interactions away from food was related
to, but not perfectly correlated with, the outcome of
interactions at the food bowl, although winners of
those agonistic interactions tended to have control of
food. (Am J Vet Res 2004;65:1548–1556)
Objective—To evaluate associations between relatedness
and familiarity with the affiliative behaviors of
maintaining proximity and allogrooming in cats.
Animals—28 privately owned cats in 1 colony.
Procedure—15 of the cats had 1 or more relatives present
representing 5 genealogies. Each cat was observed
in 15-minute intervals for 3.5 hours during the study. All
occurrences of allogrooming behavior were recorded. At
the onset of each 15-minute observation period and at 2-
minute intervals thereafter, the identity and location of all
cats within 1 m of the observed cat were recorded.
Results—Relatedness and familiarity was significantly
associated with the number of times a cat was within
1 m of another cat and how often a cat was groomed.
For relatives and nonrelatives that were equally familiar
to a given cat, relatives were significantly more likely to
be within 1 m and to be groomed.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Familiarity
and relatedness are significantly associated with
allogrooming and proximity of another cat. This may
be important when considering adoption of 1 or more
kittens and when adding a new cat to a household in
which other cats are present. Adopting small family
groups may result in higher rates of affiliative behavior,
stronger bonding, and lower incidence of conflict
than periodically adopting single unrelated adult cats.
(Am J Vet Res 2003;64:1151–1154)
Objective—To identify factors (eg, familiarity, sex, neutering
status, and time of year) associated with aggression
between domestic ferrets and test a method for
reducing aggression when introducing ferrets.
Animals—56 healthy domestic ferrets.
Procedure—To identify variables associated with
aggression, pairs were placed in an enclosed area and
observed. To test whether increasing familiarity would
decrease aggression when introducing ferrets, pairs
of ferrets were housed in separate cages next to each
other or in separate rooms for 2 weeks prior to introduction.
Results—49 of 82 pairs of strangers fought, but 31
cage mate pairs did not. Time of year had no apparent
effect. Pairs consisting of 2 neutered females or 2
sexually intact males were significantly more likely to
fight than were pairs consisting of a neutered female
and a sexually intact male. Pairs caged next to each
other for 2 weeks prior to introduction were no less
likely to fight than were control pairs.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggest
that familiarity, sex, and neutering status are important
determinants of aggression between ferrets. If
unfamiliar neutered ferrets are introduced, then pairing
2 males or a male and female would likely result in the
lowest levels of aggression. However, neutered
females and sexually intact males are not indiscriminately
aggressive, as a neutered female can be paired
with a sexually intact male without resulting in aggression.
Caging ferrets next to each other for 2 weeks does
not decrease aggression when the ferrets are introduced.
(J Am Vet Med Assoc 2003;222:1709–1712)
Objective—To evaluate use of clomipramine, alprazolam,
and behavior modification for treatment of storm
phobia in dogs.
Design—Prospective open clinical trial.
Animals—40 dogs with storm phobia.
Procedure—Dogs received clomipramine at a
dosage of 2 mg/kg (0.9 mg/lb), PO, every 12 hours for
3 months; then 1 mg/kg (0.45 mg/lb), PO, every 12
hours for 2 weeks; then 0.5 mg/kg (0.23 mg/lb), PO,
every 12 hours for 2 weeks. Alprazolam was given at
a dosage of 0.02 mg/kg (0.009 mg/lb), PO, as needed
1 hour before anticipated storms and every 4 hours as
needed. Desensitization and counter-conditioning
were conducted at home by the caregiver with an
audio simulation of storm sounds that had induced a
fear response during evaluation.
Results—30 of the 32 dogs that completed the study
had a degree of improvement, as measured by caregivers'
global assessment. Two caregivers considered
the storm phobia to be resolved. Panting, pacing, trembling,
remaining near the caregiver, hiding, excessive
salivation, destructiveness, excessive vocalization,
self-trauma, and inappropriate elimination all decreased
significantly during treatment. Improvement was
greater during true storms (rain, thunder, and lightning)
than during rain only. Response to audio simulation did
not change during treatment. Four months after the
study, improvement was maintained.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—The combination
of clomipramine, alprazolam, and behavior modification
can be effective in decreasing or eliminating storm
phobia. Improvement could not be evaluated by use of
audio simulation of a storm. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2003;
Objective—To evaluate the presence of a dominance rank in a group of cats and the relation between agonistic behavior and the use of resources, including environmental enrichment, in these cats.
Design—Observational analytic study.
Animals—27 neutered cats in a shelter in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Procedures—The cats were video recorded for 4 consecutive days to obtain baseline data. Subsequently, a puzzle feeder was added as an enrichment device every other day over 8 days, for a total of 4 days with enrichment. Cats were also video recorded on these days. All pretreatment and posttreatment agonistic behaviors and interactions with the puzzle feeder were recorded by reviewing the videotapes.
Results—143 agonistic encounters were recorded, of which 44 were related to resources and 99 were not. There were insufficient agonistic interactions to determine a dominance rank. Presence or absence of the puzzle feeder did not affect the rate of aggression. There was no significant effect of weight, sex, or coat color on the rate of aggression, and aggressive behavior did not correlate with time spent with the puzzle feeder. Twenty-three of the 27 cats interacted with the puzzle feeder.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—In a stable group of communally housed cats, environmental enrichment did not cause increased aggression as a result of competition for the source of enrichment. Because environmental enrichment increases the opportunity to perform exploratory behaviors, it may improve the welfare of groups of cats maintained long-term in shelters, sanctuaries, or multicat households.
Procedure—Cats with a minimum 1-month history of
spraying urine against vertical surfaces at least twice
per week were randomly assigned to be treated with
a placebo or with clomipramine at a dosage of 0.125
to 0.25 mg/kg (0.057 to 0.11 mg/lb), 0.25 to 0.5 mg/kg
(0.11 to 0.23 mg/lb), or 0.5 to 1 mg/kg (0.23 to 0.45
mg/lb), PO, every 24 hours for up to 12 weeks.
Owners of all cats were given information on behavioral
treatment and environmental modification.
Results—Prior to treatment, mean number of urine
spraying events ranged from 0.9 to 1.3 urine spraying
events/d for the 4 groups, and mean percentage of
days with urine spraying events ranged from 62% to
69%. All 3 dosages of clomipramine were associated
with significant reductions in frequency of urine
spraying. Sedation was the most common adverse
effect and was identified in 27 of the 50 cats treated
with clomipramine; however, treatment was not discontinued
in any cat because of sedation.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results of the
present study suggest that compared with a placebo,
clomipramine significantly reduces the frequency of
urine spraying in cats in terms of the number of urine
spraying events per day and the number of days with
urine spraying events. For cats with urine spraying,
the recommended initial dosage of clomipramine is
0.25 to 0.5 mg/kg, PO, every 24 hours. (J Am Vet Med