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Basic requirements for good behavioural health and welfare in cats

image of Basic requirements for good behavioural health and welfare in cats
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Abstract

A sound understanding of normal behaviour is a prerequisite for ensuring good behavioural health and welfare in cats. Based on this sound knowledge, inventive and effective ways of enriching a cat’s environment can be devised so as to minimize stress, promote good behavioural health and strengthen the relationship between owners and their cats. This chapter looks at feeding behaviour, drinking behaviour, elimination behaviour, social behaviour and organization, creating harmony in multi-cat households, kittens, territory and home range, communication, marking behaviours, activity and play, environmental enrichment, assessment and welfare in cats, travel and visits to the veterinary surgery, indoor outdoor housing.

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Figures

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4.1 An automated feeder can be used to offer the cat small meals during the day when the owner is absent. When rolled, the white plastic container delivers the daily dry-food ration through cut-out holes.
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4.2 Allorubbing probably serves to strengthen bonds within a group. Head rub: one cat rubs its head on another. (Courtesy of T. De Keuster.) Body rub: one cat rubs its body on another cat. (Illustration reproduced by permission of the .)
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4.3 This cat activity centre has several platforms and a rest area covered in soft material, with scratching posts and toys.
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4.4 The defensive cat is crouched down, with its ears flattened and its head drawn into its shoulders. The offensive cat is rearing up with its ears pricked forwards. (Courtesy of A. Lummerzheim.)
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4.5 The cat’s tail is held almost perpendicular to the ground in the ‘tail-up’ position, indicating its friendly intentions towards another cat or person.
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4.6 This cat is communicating by touch, as well as depositing scent by rubbing its body and tail against the person’s legs.
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4.7 A free-living entire male spraying urine backwards on to grass at the ege of a field in which he hunts. (Courtesy of S. Crowell-Davis.)
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4.8 Scratching has a marking function, as well as enabling the cat to condition its claws and stretch. This cardboard scratching post is impregnated with catnip; behind it is a toy on a spring with a cardboard centre.
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4.9 Cats are finely attuned to respond to the acoustic and visual cues of their prey. Crouching low while watching prey. With prey in mouth. (Courtesy of A. Lummerzheim.)
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4.11 Toys on a string are suitable for interactive play between a cat and its owner.

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