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Influence of familiarity and relatedness on proximity and allogrooming in domestic cats (Felis catus)

Terry Marie Curtis, MS Rebecca J. Knowles, Sharon L. Crowell-Davis

Revue : American Journal of Veterinary Research

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.

Citing Articles

Karen L. Overall , Ilona Rodan , Bonnie V. Beaver , Hazel Carney , Sharon Crowell-Davis , Nicole Hird , Sandra Kudrak , Elaine Wexler-Mitchel . (2005) Feline behavior guidelines from the American Association of Feline Practitioners. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 227:1, 70-84

Rebecca J. Knowles , Terry Marie Curtis , Sharon L. Crowell-Davis . (2004) Correlation of dominance as determined by agonistic interactions with feeding order in cats. American Journal of Veterinary Research 65:11, 1548-1556

American Journal of Veterinary Research Sept 2003, Vol. 64, No. 9, Pages 1151-1154

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