Veterinary Professionals’ Understanding of Common Feline Behavioural Problems and the Availability of “Cat Friendly” Practices in Ireland
School of Veterinary Medicine, University College Dublin, D04W6F6 Dublin, Ireland
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Received: 18 November 2019 / Accepted: 5 December 2019 / Published: 10 December 2019
Veterinary behavioural medicine, which includes being able to understand animal behaviour and treat behaviour problems, is an important part of veterinary practice. However, many veterinary practitioners and veterinary nurses in Ireland and elsewhere feel that they have received inadequate training in this subject. The purpose of this study was to survey veterinary practitioners and veterinary nurses in Ireland about treating common behavioural problems in cats and the availability of “cat friendly” practices. An online survey was developed, consisting of 21 questions on professional roles and experience, scenarios presenting advice given on common cat behaviour problems, and “cat friendly” practice management options. For each piece of advice participants were asked to score how likely it would be to solve the behavioural problem in a kind way. The online survey was shared via professional organisations, social media and at the University College Dublin Hospital Conference. The survey was completed by 42 veterinary practitioners and 53 veterinary nurses. Most of these correctly recognised both good and bad advice, but some mistakes and uncertainties were found. The scores of veterinary practitioners and veterinary nurses differed for the advice on urine spraying, self-mutilation (self-injury), and resource-based aggression (aggression related to sharing items), and we found that relatively few “cat friendly” measures were available in respondents’ clinics. Our findings could be used to improve training in veterinary behavioural medicine.