Special Issue "Cat Behavioural Ecology"

A special issue of Animals (ISSN 2076-2615). This special issue belongs to the section "Companion Animals".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 November 2022 | Viewed by 3120

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Marie-Amélie Forin-Wiart
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Ecology, Physiology and Ethology, University of Strasbourg, CNRS, IPHC UMR 7178, F-67000 Strasbourg, France
Interests: free-ranging cats;behavioural ecology;foraging behaviour;behavioural plasticity;behavioural landscape

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Cats have lived in close proximity to humans for thousands of years and are now the most common pets in homes around the world. Their propensity to hunt wildlife and live independently of humans reminds us, however, that the domestic cat (Felis silvestris catus) is the result of a taming process more than of domestication. The domestic cat is one of the most widely distributed terrestrial carnivores due to its great behavioural plasticity, and individuals evolve along a continuum depending on their association with humans, e.g., in terms of degree of feeding and freedom of movement. Between the indoor-only cats and the feral cats, there are free-ranging cats. Some may be fed ad libitum and free to leave and/or enter the home (free-ranging house cats). Others may not be attached to a particular dwelling, though being fed by humans (semi-feral or semi-owned cats). Finally, some individuals may be attached to farm buildings where they are fed only occasionally (farm cats).

Both the observed complexity of domestic cat populations and the inter-individual behavioural variations explain to a large extent the difficulty of studies trying to highlight consistent patterns. However, methodological (e.g., citizen science) and technological (e.g., bio-loggers, environmental DNA) advances may provide some answers. This Special Issue aims to bring together the latest research on the behavioural ecology of domestic cats. Studies on other species are invited, if they may improve knowledge about cats .

Dr. Marie-Amélie Forin-Wiart
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • free-ranging cats
  • behavioural ecology
  • behavioural plasticity
  • bio-loggers
  • citizen science
  • conservation
  • DNA
  • human-cat relationship
  • foraging behaviour
  • sociobiology
  • space use
  • temperament
  • wildlife
  • zoonoses

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

Article
Comparison of Locomotor and Feeding Rhythms between Indoor and Outdoor Cats Living in Captivity
Animals 2022, 12(18), 2440; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12182440 - 15 Sep 2022
Viewed by 399
Abstract
The plastic nature of cat behaviour allows this “friendly symbiont” of humans to adapt to various housing conditions. Beyond daylight, one could wonder if other environmental factors affect its patterns. Yet, how its activity and feeding rhythms are impacted by its environment is [...] Read more.
The plastic nature of cat behaviour allows this “friendly symbiont” of humans to adapt to various housing conditions. Beyond daylight, one could wonder if other environmental factors affect its patterns. Yet, how its activity and feeding rhythms are impacted by its environment is rarely studied in standardised conditions between populations. We compared the behaviour of cats living in a 29 m2 indoor room and cats living in a 1145 m2 outdoor enclosure, tracking them simultaneously in summer for 21 days, with advanced technologies. Both populations received daylight but weather fluctuations only occurred outdoors. Bimodality was detected in the activity and feeding rhythms of both groups, while twilight triggered crepuscular peaks. Daily, the outdoor population covered more distance (4.29 ± 0.27 km; p < 0.001) and consumed more food (67.44 ± 2.65 g; p < 0.05) than the indoor population (2.33 ± 0.17 km, 57.75 ± 2.85 g, respectively), but displayed less rhythmic behaviours, assumedly because of rhythm disruptors met only in outdoor conditions. Finally, outdoor housing seemed to promote the exploratory behaviour of the cats at night, while indoor housing increased both meal frequency (p = 0.063) and the impact of human interactions on the feeding rhythms of the cats. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cat Behavioural Ecology)
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Article
A Feline Semiochemical Composition Influences the Cat’s Toileting Location Choice
Animals 2022, 12(7), 938; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12070938 - 06 Apr 2022
Viewed by 967
Abstract
Unwanted toileting is amongst the most undesirable behaviors in domestic cats and can lead to conflicts between cats and the communities they are living in. This study aimed to confirm the effect of a semiochemical composition, reconstituted volatile fraction derived from cat anal [...] Read more.
Unwanted toileting is amongst the most undesirable behaviors in domestic cats and can lead to conflicts between cats and the communities they are living in. This study aimed to confirm the effect of a semiochemical composition, reconstituted volatile fraction derived from cat anal glands, on the elimination behavior of domestic cats. A total of 31 cats were tested individually, for 23 h, in a blinded randomized choice test, with two litter trays, one sprayed with the treatment and the other with the control. Parameters included elimination weight, urine only weight, the record of the elimination type and counting of urine spots and stools, exploration duration of each litter tray, and first and second choice of litter tray to eliminate. Across all parameters, cats urinated and defecated significantly less in the litter tray where the semiochemical composition was sprayed than in the litter tray where the control was sprayed (for example: elimination weight p < 0.0001; urine only weight p < 0.0001; exploration duration p < 0.0001, and first elimination choice p < 0.0001). These results demonstrate that a semiochemical composition-derived from cat anal glands significantly decreases elimination at the location where it is sprayed. Future research is warranted to explore the possibility to manage unwanted toileting using this semiochemical composition. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cat Behavioural Ecology)
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Article
Influencing Elimination Location in the Domestic Cat: A Semiochemical Approach
Animals 2022, 12(7), 896; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12070896 - 31 Mar 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 956
Abstract
In the domestic cat, elimination at an inappropriate location is considered by cat owners and non-cat owners as an undesirable behaviour. The aim of the study was to assess the effect of a semiochemical formulation, reconstituted volatile fraction of cat anal gland secretions [...] Read more.
In the domestic cat, elimination at an inappropriate location is considered by cat owners and non-cat owners as an undesirable behaviour. The aim of the study was to assess the effect of a semiochemical formulation, reconstituted volatile fraction of cat anal gland secretions on the elimination behaviour of domestic cats. The study was conducted in four catteries, which housed 33 cats, using 37 litter trays and followed a randomised crossover design using the litter tray as the experimental unit. The parameters studied included daily elimination (urine plus stools) weight, urine weight, stool weight, elimination type and urine/stool quantity scoring. The parameters were analysed using GLMM with SAS 9.4 software. Four out of the six parameters studied showed a treatment effect, consistently in favour of cats defecating significantly less in the litter trays sprayed with the treatment versus litter trays sprayed with the control (elimination weight p = 0.0199; elimination type p = 0.0251; stool weight p = 0.0005 and stool quantity p = 0.003). These results demonstrate that an intraspecific semiochemical message originating from cat anal glands influences cats’ defecation location. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cat Behavioural Ecology)
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