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Intercat aggression in households following the introduction of a new cat

E. Levine, P. Perry, J. Scarlett and K.A. Houpt

Revue : Applied Animal Behaviour Science

Cornell University Hospital for Animals, Ithaca, NY 14850, USA

A 62 question survey was mailed to 375 individuals who adopted a cat from a local animal shelter. The goals of the survey were to identify the incidence of intercat aggression when a new cat was introduced into a household, identify potential risk factors associated with intercat aggression within a household and obtain various descriptive information on methods used to introduce a new cat into a home. The response rate was 72% (n = 252) with 128 of the households containing multiple cats and 124 of the households containing only the adopted cat. For this survey, fighting was defined as scratching and/or biting.
Among households with multiple cats, half reported fighting between cats when the new cat was introduced. Approximately half of the people introduced the cats into the home by simply putting the cats together immediately. Neither age, sex, nor number of cats in the household was associated with current fighting (i.e. fighting that was occurring 2?12 months after the new cat was brought into the household); however, current fighting was associated with individual behaviors (i.e. scratching and biting) during the cats first meeting, outdoor access, and the owner's perception of the first meeting as unfriendly or aggressive.

Keywords: Cats; Aggression; Adoption; Gender; Behavior

Corresponding author. Present address: Cornell University Hospital for Animals, Animal Behavior Clinic, College of Veterinary Medicine, Room C2 509 CPC, Box 25, Ithaca, NY, 14853-6401. Tel.: +1 607 253 4350; fax: +1 607 253 3846

Applied Animal Behaviour Science. 3.2005

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