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The influence of experimentally manipulating a component of weaning on the development of play in domestic cats

Published on May 1, 1985in Animal Behaviour2.675
· DOI :10.1016/S0003-3472(85)80074-9
Paul Martin14
Estimated H-index: 14
(University of Cambridge),
Patrick Bateson52
Estimated H-index: 52
(University of Cambridge)
Abstract
Abstract Two previous studies found that simulating aspects of early weaning, starting 5 weeks after birth, increased the frequency of object play and, to a lesser extent, social play in kittens. The present study further investigated this finding, using the lactation-suppressing drug bromocriptine to simulate a component of early weaning (a reduction in maternal milk production). The experimental manipulation was started a week earlier in ontogeny than in the previous studies. The subjects were 14 litters of domestic kittens ( Felis catus ), living with their mothers in large indoor pens. Each litter consisted of two kittens. Seven Experimental (E) mothers were injected with bromocriptine on the 28th, 30th and 33rd days after their kittens were born. Seven Control (C) mothers were injected with saline. Observations of the kittens' social play, object play and locomotor play were carried out in each 3-day period from 36 to 60 days after birth. The E kittens showed significantly higher frequencies of a social play measure (Cat Contact) than the C kittens. However, object play was not significantly affected by the manipulation, in contrast to the previous studies. The E kittens also scored higher on a measure of locomotor play and fell off a climbing frame more often than the C kittens. E mothers played less than C mothers. Absolute frequencies of Cat Contacts and Object Contacts were higher in the present study than those previously reported.
  • References (20)
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References20
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#1Paul Martin (University of Cambridge)H-Index: 14
#2Patrick Bateson (University of Cambridge)H-Index: 52
Abstract A descriptive account is given of the development of locomotor play in the domestic cat ( Felis catus ) under laboratory conditions. The subjects were seven families, each family consisting of a mother and her two kittens and living in its own indoor pen. Each family was separately presented with a multi-level climbing frame for 30 min once every 3 days, between 36 and 60 days after birth (nine presentations in total). Kittens spent a substantial proportion of the observation session cl...
32 CitationsSource
#1Paul Martin (University of Cambridge)H-Index: 14
#2Patrick Bateson (University of Cambridge)H-Index: 52
An experimental method for blocking maternal lactation is reviewed and the possible application of this technique for experimentally manipulating weaning is considered. Maternal milk production can be inhibited using the prolactin-suppressing drug bromocriptine. The suitability of bromocriptine for use in behavioral experiments is considered. The pharmacology of bromocriptine (CB 154) is briefly outlined and a compilation of the reported lactation-inhibiting doses for various species is presente...
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#1Robin I. M. Dunbar (University of Cambridge)H-Index: 89
Variability in behavior is examined in broad taxonomic scope with particular reference to mating strategies. The variety of strategy sets exhibited by a wide range of species is reviewed briefly and the basis of decision making in strategy choice outlined. Alternative strategies are especially likely to occur when the length of reproductive life is inversely related to the instantaneous reproductive rate due to asymmetries in competitive ability or to density- and demography-dependent effects on...
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#1Patrick Bateson (University of Cambridge)H-Index: 52
#2Paul Martin (University of Cambridge)H-Index: 14
Last. Michelle Young (University of Cambridge)H-Index: 3
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The rat is immature at birth and undergoes major developmental changes at the end of the suckling period. This review deals with the maturation of ingestive behavior, gastrointestinal digestive and absorptive functions, liver metabolism, and brain structure and function. Each aspect of development is physiologically correlated with the dietary transition of weaning. However, it is unlikely that the process of weaning acts as a cue for the ontogenic changes. In contrast, there is strong evidence ...
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#1Robert M. FagenH-Index: 1
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#1T.M. Caro (St And: University of St Andrews)H-Index: 2
This study relates changes in social play of kittens to the development of predatory behaviour. Firstly, it documents the development of predatory motor patterns in young cats between the age of 4 and 12 weeks. Correlations between measures of predatory behaviour were found to break down in the 8 to 12 week period of development. Secondly, it examines the development of social play over the same time course. Correlations between some measures of play were also found to break down between 8 and 1...
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#1N.R. Chalmers (OU: Open University)H-Index: 3
Abstract Behaviours that always appear playful (play markers) are distinguished from behaviours that appear playful in some contexts, but not others (context-dependent play components). Age changes in the frequency of performance of both kinds of playful behaviours are described, as are age changes in the frequency with which context-dependent play components accompany play markers in baboon social interactions. Some quantitative properties of social interactions containing and lacking play mark...
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Object play refers to the seemingly non-functional manipulation of inanimate items when in a relaxed state. In juveniles, object play may help develop skills to aid survival. However, why adults sh...
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Play behaviors are generally considered to be beneficial and necessary for young, developing animals. Expression of play, however, is sensitive to several post-natal factors including maternal care. In this study, we observed whether maternal stress and maternal care behaviors were related with adolescent play behavior in the degu (Octodon degus), a diurnal rodent species native to central Chile. By observing pairs of mothers that were either unstressed (habituated to captivity) or stressed (onl...
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#1Mikel M. Delgado (UC Davis: University of California, Davis)H-Index: 5
#2Julie Hecht (Hunter College)
Abstract Although attention to domestic cat (Felis silvestris catus) behavior and cognition has increased in recent years, numerous questions remain regarding their play. Few studies have included play as a variable of interest, and to the best of our knowledge no behavioral studies focusing on cat play have been published in the last 15 years, and there is no recent review of our current understanding of its development, behavioral components, function, or outstanding research questions. This i...
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#1Patrick Bateson (University of Cambridge)H-Index: 52
Preface Acknowledgements 1. Introduction 2. The biology of play 3. The functions of play 4. Evolution and play 5. Creativity in humans 6. Animals finding novel solutions 7. People and organisations 8. Childhood play and creativity 9. Humour and playfulness 10. Dreams, drugs and creativity 11. Pulling the threads together Endnotes References Index.
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