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TDK conference 2015

Human-cat interactions: Relationship between cat behaviour at home and in a veterinary hospital
Szénási Kitti - year 6
SzIU, Faculty of Veterinary Science, Department of State Veterinary Medicine and Agricultural Economics
Supervisor: Ágnes Sátori DVM


Since it’s domestication as a mouser, the cat has gradually become a companion animal, so much so that nowadays this role is the dominant one. The primary aim of this study was to determine if cats kept as pets can develop a close bond with their owners, and how this connection can influence the behaviour of cats during veterinary examination.

To brighten this up we made a questionnaire in December 2013 for cat owners and another one for veterinarians, which were available for six months on the Internet. The owners were asked about their cat keeping habits, the relationship with their cats and the behaviour of the cats in different situations. With the help of the questionnaire made for veterinarians we wanted to explore the attitude of vets to cat patients, what breeds they know, what their opininons are about the behaviour of cats depending on the person who treats them and the presence of the owner, and what the most common behavioural problems are. All data were analysed by Microsoft Office Excel and R statistics. For the calculation of statistical independence Fisher’s exact test and chi-square test were used. The level of significance was defined at p≤0,05.

Based on 250 completed questionnaires 58,54% of cats wait for their owners in the window or at the door and 71,95% of them show spectacular greeting behaviour. When a stranger arrives 41,74% of the cats don’t react, go to the other room, hide, hiss, growl or attack, in contrast to 5,28% of cases where cats behave the same way with their owners. The response of cats when the owner is calling and the behaviour during the preparation of a veterinary visit correlates significantly (p<0,001). There is significant correlation between calling response and calm (p=0,009703) or unmanageable behaviour (p<0,001) during examination, as well. Furthermore we found that cats waiting for their owners and showing spectacular greeting behaviour can be taken out of the carrier easily most of the time and stay calm during examination (p<0,001). 75,81% of the 62 veterinarians who filled in the questionnaire are cat owners and 95,16% of them know different cat breeds. It’s important to mention that not only the owners but 85,48% of the interviewed veterinarians also has the opinion that the owner’s psychical status affects the manageability of their animals in the veterinary hospital.

According to these results it seems that cats are capable of being attached to their owners and this relationship can influence their behaviour and manageability during examination.

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