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Feline stress

methodological considerations for non-invasive assessment of cats housed in groups and singly

Hirsch, Elin Netti (2016). Feline stress. Diss. (sammanfattning/summary) Uppsala : Sveriges lantbruksuniv., Acta Universitatis Agriculturae Sueciae, 1652-6880 ; 2016:91
ISBN 978-91-576-8684-8
eISBN 978-91-576-8685-5
[Doctoral thesis]

[img] PDF (Summary part of the thesis - "kappan")
[img] PDF (Errata)


Group-housing of domestic cats (Felis silvestris lybica) may induce a stress response with consequences such as cats developing infectious disease or problem behaviours. Still, there is no validated behavioural protocol to assess stress in cats. The aim of this thesis was to investigate the effect of group-housing of cats, and how this can be assessed non-invasively, by advancing a behavioural assessment tool.

In Study I, frequency of group-housing and related issues such as management was investigated using a survey sent to Swedish shelters. The majority of shelters practised group-housing and had routines and/or protocols for management and care. Despite a high rate of group-housing, many shelters reported low occurrence of disease.

In Study II suitability of saliva sampling as a non-invasive method to assay cortisol in naïve awake shelter cats was investigated by association with plasma cortisol levels and prevalence of respiratory disease. Few samples yielded enough saliva for analysis and there was no correlation with plasma cortisol levels. Few cats tested positive for respiratory agents.

In Study III cats housed in groups or singly were observed to investigate which stress related behavioural elements (BEs) can predict time from available for adoption until adoption (Time at Shelter). Fourteen BEs could predict short and nine long time until adoption. Significantly fewer BEs were recorded in single-housed cats, so housing in itself seems to have an effect on the possibility to use the BEs to assess cats.

In Study IV research cats kept under stable conditions, in stable groups, were observed using repeated measures to investigate stability of the BEs found to predict Time at Shelter. Close to 80% were stable in 75% of the cats.

Group-housing is common in Swedish shelters, but does not necessary result in negative consequences. Salivary cortisol was not suitable for studies on cats not trained for sample collection. The majority of the BEs associated with Time at Shelter were stable within an individual and were used to develop a first version of the further advanced assessment tool to determine coping in group-housed cats.

Authors/Creators:Hirsch, Elin Netti
Title:Feline stress
Subtitle:methodological considerations for non-invasive assessment of cats housed in groups and singly
Series Name/Journal:Acta Universitatis Agriculturae Sueciae
Year of publishing :2016
Depositing date:27 October 2016
Number of Pages:101
IHirsch EN, Andersson M, and Loberg J (2014). Swedish cat shelters: a descriptive survey of husbandry practices, routines and management. Animal Welfare 23, 411-421.
IIHirsch EN, Loberg J, Hydbring-Sandberg E, Lidfors L, Berg C, and Andersson M. Cortisol Measurements and Investigation of Upper Respiratory Disease in Shelter Cats: methodological considerations (manuscript).
IIIHirsch EN, Andersson M, and Loberg J. A Further Development of a Scoring System to Assess Behavioural Stress in the Cat (manuscript).
IVHirsch EN, Loberg J and Andersson M. Stability of Behavioural Elements in Cats Housed in Stable Groups (manuscript).
Place of Publication:Uppsala
Publisher:Department of Animal Environment and Health, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
ISBN for printed version:978-91-576-8684-8
ISBN for electronic version:978-91-576-8685-5
Additional Information:Errata: Page 3 Abstract: Reads: Fourteen BEs could predict short and nine long time … Should read: Fourteen BEs could predict short and seven long time … ; Page 43 Chapter 4.5.4, last line: Reads: Normal distribution on In-Contact was confirmed using the Probability Plots (p = 0.04)… Should read: In-Contact was non-normally distributed and was therefore transformed by squaring the data … ; Page 47 Chapter 5.3, line 21: Reads: …, there were 14 additional unique… Should read: …, there were 14 unique… ; Page 51 Chapter 5.3, line 4: Reads: …3 (0-10)… Should read: …3 (0-10, 40)… ; Page 51 Chapter 5.4, line 13: Reads: In-Contact was confirmed as normally distributed using the Probability Plot (p = 0.04), and there was a significant difference between groups for In-Contact (F = 7.02, p < 0.00). Should read: There was a significant difference between groups for In-Contact (F = 7.20, p < 0.01).
Publication Type:Doctoral thesis
Full Text Status:Public
Agris subject categories.:L Animal production > L01 Animal husbandry
L Animal production > L20 Animal ecology
Subjects:(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 4 Agricultural Sciences > 402 Animal and Dairy Science > Animal and Dairy Science.
Agrovoc terms:cats, pet animals, animal behaviour, animal housing, stress, assessment, methods
Keywords:Assessment, Behaviour, Domestic Cat, Group-Housing, Shelter, Stress
Permanent URL:
ID Code:13682
Faculty:VH - Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science
Department:(VH) > Dept. of Animal Environment and Health
Deposited By: Elin N Hirsch
Deposited On:27 Sep 2016 08:44
Metadata Last Modified:10 Sep 2020 13:41

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