Behavioral differences between owner surrender and stray domestic cats after entering an animal shelter:
ABSTRACT: Animals entering a shelter environment may behave differently upon
arrival depending upon their previous experiences and life history. To
examine this, 86 domestic cats were scored using a seven-level
behavioral measure for the first 3 days upon entering an animal shelter.
Data were then grouped according to cats surrendered by their owner
(OS) or found stray (S). Results indicate that OS cats showed the
greatest behavioral measures of stress and arousal compared to S cats.
Of the cats that were euthanized due to illness or disease, the mean
behavioral stress rating was significantly higher in the OS group versus
the S group. Examining archival data from 260 shelter cats that
developed an upper respiratory infection (URI), the OS cats became ill
significantly sooner than the S cats. These findings suggest that OS
cats experience greater behavioral stress after entering a shelter
environment, which may subsequently influence their health and well