Tag Archives: shelter cats

Progress on the Feline Genome

genomeScientists have now sequenced the genomes of 54 kitties, including a few wild species. While the emphasis is on learning more about diseases that are common to cats (and in some cases, also in humans), a larger sampling of cats, and hopefully collecting of other data (like BEHAVIOR) will mean a better understanding of what makes cats cats, and how domestication has shaped their bodies, brains, and behavior.

Can cats make you take your medicine?

We know that cute influences our cognition and increases our focus. Now a company is hoping that it will help you take your pills. Patients with type 2 diabetes  will be send medication reminders alongside cute cat photos in the hopes that it will increase adherence to medication regimens.

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Does your kitty have a history? Photo by Galawebdesign via Wikipedia/Creative Commons

I think most of us who adopt a kitty from a shelter (especially if they are an adult) wonder about their past life, before we brought them home. Who fed them? Were they born under a bed or under a bridge? But how important is it to adopters to know that their cat previously lived in a home, with people? A new study, "Is There a Bias Against Stray Cats in Shelters?" suggests that there might be a bias against stray cats with an unknown history.

The authors of the paper, Kathryn  Dybdall and Rosemary Strasser, did three studies. In the first, they examined shelter records of adult adoptable cats (12 months or older) who had been listed as either owner-surrender or stray. Owner-surrender cats tended to be adopted on average in 26 days, compared to 32 days for stray cats.

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Science still hasn't totally solved the mystery of why cats love boxes so much. Photo by Walter Smith via Creative Commons License.
Science still hasn't totally solved the mystery of why cats love boxes so much. Photo by Walter Smith via Creative Commons License.

The cats-box thing is a bit of a joke (and internet phenomenon), I mean, why DO cats love boxes so much? Even science has tried (sort of) to tackle the question. We get a range of answers, from predation advantage (a great place to stalk prey from), to fun (think of Maru), to perhaps the most important reasons: safety and security.

But for one group of cats, cats in animal shelters, boxes aren’t just frivolous additions to the environment, they may be critical to reducing stress. Boxes may save lives. Yet another study, recently published in Applied Animal Behaviour Science, demonstrates that having an appropriate hiding space reduced stress in shelter cats, and helped them adapt better to being in a new environment.

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