The time and energy costs of play behaviour in the cat

Published on Apr 26, 2010in Ethology1.525
· DOI :10.1111/j.1439-0310.1984.tb00365.x
Paul Martin14
Estimated H-index: 14
(University of Cambridge)
Abstract and Summary The time and energy costs of play behaviour were assessed empirically for 10- to 12-week-old kittens (Felis catus), using a variety of methods. Play was found, on average, to occupy 9% of total time. The net daily energy expenditure (in excess of resting metabolism) due to play was found to account for approximately 4% (and at most 9%) of total daily energy expenditure, excluding growth. These results cast some doubt on the assertion, commonly found in the behavioural literature, that play is very “costly” and must, therefore, have important beneficial effects. An alternative suggestion is that play may have only minor benefits, which nonetheless outweigh its minor costs. Zusammenfassung Mit verschiedenen Methoden wurden Zeit- und Energieverbrauch des Spielverhaltens von 10- bis 12wochigen Katzchen (Felis catus) bestimmt. Spielen beansprucht im Durchschnitt 9% der Gesamtzeit und netto (abzuglich Grundumsatz) ungefahr 4% (bis hochstens 9%) des gesamten taglichen Energieverbrauchs ausschlieslich Wachstum. Diese Resultate lassen Zweifel aufkommen uber die oft in der Verhaltensforschung geauserte Behauptung, Spiel koste viel Energie und musse deshalb wichtige gunstige Wirkungen haben. Wir schlagen eine andere Erklarung vor, namlich das Spiel nur geringe gunstige Wirkungen hat, das diese Wirkungen jedoch die geringen Energiekosten uberwiegen.
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