Now, feline lovers who have furry children can put their communication skills to test. California scientists are looking for volunteers with two cats to participate in their experiment. This will mostly consist of watching videos of cats. This research is intended to reveal how owners can understand cat-to-cat interactions and help owners better understand their cats.
Scientists from the University of California Davis, and The University of British Columbia are looking for people over 18 who live in the United States or Canada and are primary owners of two adult cats.
According to the outline of the study's design, the volunteers will be shown a series of 10 videos that show different types of cat-cat interactions. They will then be asked to rate the behavior on a scale of extremely positive to very negative. The volunteers will then be asked about their cats and asked how often similar behaviors they see. The researchers will then compare the responses to the questionnaires from volunteers with those from cat behaviorists who have PhDs. Researchers will use the baseline responses of experts to determine if owners have difficulty understanding cat body language.
Multiple cats are a good idea as they form strong social bonds and can avoid boredom while the owners are away. However, not all cats get along well, especially if they are not from the same litter. To spot potential problems between cats and their owners, vets look at the accounts of their owners. This includes aggression that is so extreme that cats are hurt or given up for adoption.
Sherry Khodami, a study researcher at British Columbias Applied Animal Biology Program, said that the welfare of cats in their homes is an area that has not been well researched. She sent Gizmodo an email. Accessing resources such as food, water and litter is essential for cats. Owners must also recognize problem behavior and intervene when necessary. We would like to see how well-informed owners are about the resources available to their cats and how they recognize positive and unacceptable behaviours.
Khoddami says that while there is no compensation for the study, it could be of indirect benefit to cat lovers in the future.
We hope that this research will help owners identify any gaps in their knowledge about cat behavior. She said that the belief that cats are independent and prefer to be left alone is incorrect. We need to give cat-owners more education resources to ensure their cats' welfare at home. Shelters, veterinarians and other professionals should be able to provide cat owners with these resources as more people adopt pets in these difficult times.
They hope to recruit thousands of people before the studies end. The timeline for publication is expected to be in early 2022.
You can find a link to enroll in the study here. It should take between 10 and 15 minutes. If you are not eligible, but still love cats and science it is possible to keep an eye out for results from an upcoming study in which cats and dogs were recruited to test their reactions to optical illusions.