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The socio-cognitive relationship between cats and humans – Companion cats (Felis catus) as their owners see them

Published on Oct 1, 2018in Applied Animal Behaviour Science1.82
· DOI :10.1016/j.applanim.2018.07.004
Péter Pongrácz24
Estimated H-index: 24
(ELTE: Eötvös Loránd University),
Julianna Szulamit Szapu1
Estimated H-index: 1
(ELTE: Eötvös Loránd University)
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Abstract
Abstract Although domestic cats are among the most common companion animals, we still know very little about the details of the cat-human relationship. With a questionnaire, we asked 157 Hungarian cat owners about their pet’s behavior, cognitive abilities and social interactions. We analyzed the responses with PCA resulting in 11 traits. The effect of cats’ and owners’ demographic variables on the main components was further analyzed with GLM. The results showed strong similarity to the surveys performed with companion dogs, but we also found features that were mainly cat-specific. We found that women considered their cats to be more communicative and empathetic, than men did (p = 0.000). The higher education owners also considered their cat as being more communicative and empathetic (p = 0.000). We also found that owners use pointing signals more often if the cat is their only pet (p = 0.000), and otherwise they do not give verbal commands often to the cat (P = 0.001). Young owners imitated cat vocalization more often (p = 0.006); while emotional matching of the cat was more commonly reported by elderly owners (p = 0.001). The more an owner initiated playing with his/her cat, the imitation of cat vocalizations was also more common in his/her case (p = 0.001). Owners think that their cat shows stronger emotional matching if otherwise they experience human-like communicative capacity from the cat (p = 0.000). Owners use more pointing signals in the case of those cats that show attention-eliciting signals in more than one modality (p = 0.000). Owners who react to the meows of unfamiliar cats, initiated interactions more often with their own cats (p = 0.000). Owners also think that cats vocalize in every possible context, and this result was not affected significantly by any of the independent factors. Our results show that owners considered their cat as a family member, and they attributed well developed socio-cognitive skills to them. Because cats have an important role as a companion animal, it would be worthy to study cat behavior with similar thoroughness as with dogs. Our questionnaire may provide a good starting point for the empirical research of cat-human communication. The deeper understanding of cats’ socio-cognitive abilities may also help to improve cat welfare.
  • References (86)
  • Citations (1)
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References86
Newest
Published on Nov 1, 2018in Intelligence2.61
Péter Pongrácz24
Estimated H-index: 24
(ELTE: Eötvös Loránd University),
Julianna Szulamit Szapu1
Estimated H-index: 1
(ELTE: Eötvös Loránd University)
+ 0 AuthorsTamás Faragó1
Estimated H-index: 1
(ELTE: Eötvös Loránd University)
Abstract Companion cats often occupy the same anthropogenic niche as dogs in human families. Still, cat cognition remains an underrepresented research subject in ethology. Our goal was to examine whether two components that are crucial in dog-human communicative interactions (sensitivity to ostensive signals; gaze following) are also present in cats. In a two-object choice task, we used dynamic and momentary gazing in ostensive and non-ostensive communicative situations. We tested 41 cats at the...
Published on Nov 1, 2017in Applied Animal Behaviour Science1.82
Péter Pongrácz24
Estimated H-index: 24
(ELTE: Eötvös Loránd University),
Rita Lenkei2
Estimated H-index: 2
(ELTE: Eötvös Loránd University)
+ 1 AuthorsTamás Faragó11
Estimated H-index: 11
(ELTE: Eötvös Loránd University)
Abstract Separation-related disorder (SRD) is one of the most common behavioral problems of companion dogs, causing inconvenience and stress for dog owners and others living close by, as well as being considered as a major contributor to poor animal welfare. Although excessive vocalization is considered as one of the typical symptoms of SRD, until now there were no attempts to analyze and compare the vocal output of affected and non-affected dogs in a systematic, empirical test. In a three-stage...
Published on Oct 1, 2017in European Psychologist2.17
Péter Pongrácz24
Estimated H-index: 24
(ELTE: Eötvös Loránd University)
Abstract. Interspecific communication provides good opportunity for studying signal evolution. In this theoretical paper, we hypothesized that vocal signaling in dogs may show specific changes that made it more suitable for interspecific communication in the anthropogenic niche. We assumed that (1) some dog vocalizations will diverge from the corresponding exemplars of wolves; (2) they provide comprehendible affective, indexical, and contextual information for humans; (3) some aspects of dog voc...
Published on Aug 1, 2017in Behavioural Processes2.01
Deborah L. Duffy17
Estimated H-index: 17
(UPenn: University of Pennsylvania),
Roseana Tereza Diniz de Moura1
Estimated H-index: 1
(UFRPE: Universidade Federal Rural de Pernambuco),
James A. Serpell35
Estimated H-index: 35
(UPenn: University of Pennsylvania)
Abstract A questionnaire instrument for obtaining quantitative behavioral evaluations of pet cats from cat owners was developed and validated. Exploratory Factor Analysis of 2608 questionnaire responses to 149 behavioral questions/items extracted a total of 23 distinct factors that measured most of the more common dimensions of cat behavior. Seventeen of the 23 factors demonstrated adequate–high internal reliability (Cronbach’s alpha = 0.712–0.923). Questionnaire validation was accomplished by d...
Published on Aug 1, 2017in Behavioural Processes2.01
Minori Arahori3
Estimated H-index: 3
(Kyoto University),
Hika Kuroshima15
Estimated H-index: 15
(Kyoto University)
+ 3 AuthorsKazuo Fujita31
Estimated H-index: 31
(Kyoto University)
Abstract Companion animals have established special relationships with humans, as demonstrated by many studies describing their abilities and bonds to communicate with humans. In this questionnaire-based study, we explored owners’ views of pets in terms of their emotional and intellectual functions and their relationship with owners, and compared the results between cat owners and dog owners. We found that although both types of owners most often regarded their pets as “family members,” this ten...
Published on Feb 13, 2017in PLOS ONE2.78
Flóra Szánthó2
Estimated H-index: 2
(ELTE: Eötvös Loránd University),
Ádám Miklósi57
Estimated H-index: 57
(ELTE: Eötvös Loránd University),
Enikő Kubinyi21
Estimated H-index: 21
(ELTE: Eötvös Loránd University)
Dogs' seemingly empathic behaviour attracts general and scientific attention alike. Behaviour tests are usually not sufficiently realistic to evoke empathic-like behaviour; therefore we decided to ask owners about their experiences with their dogs in emotionally loaded situations. Owners from Hungary (N = 591) and from Germany (N = 2283) were asked to rate their level of agreement on a 1-5 Likert scale with statements about the reactivity of their dogs to their emotions and to other dogs' behavi...
Published on Nov 1, 2016in Animal Cognition2.49
Anna Bálint5
Estimated H-index: 5
(ELTE: Eötvös Loránd University),
Tamás Faragó11
Estimated H-index: 11
(ELTE: Eötvös Loránd University)
+ 1 AuthorsPéter Pongrácz4
Estimated H-index: 4
(ELTE: Eötvös Loránd University)
Body size is an important feature that affects fighting ability; however, size-related parameters of agonistic vocalizations are difficult to manipulate because of anatomical constraints within the vocal production system. Rare examples of acoustic size modulation are due to specific features that enable the sender to steadily communicate exaggerated body size. However, one could argue that it would be more adaptive if senders could adjust their signaling behavior to the fighting potential of th...
Published on Jan 1, 2016in Animal Cognition2.49
Moriah Galvan3
Estimated H-index: 3
(Oakland University),
Jennifer Vonk17
Estimated H-index: 17
(Oakland University)
The ability of domestic dogs (C. lupus famaliaris) to follow and attend to human emotion expressions is well documented. It is unknown whether domestic cats (F. silvestris catus) possess similar abilities. Because cats belong to the same order (Carnivora), but did not evolve to live in complex social groups, research with them enables us to tease apart the influence of social structure versus domestication processes on the capacity to recognize human communicative cues, such as emotions. Two exp...
Published on Nov 1, 2015in Animal Cognition2.49
Kristyn R. Vitale Shreve3
Estimated H-index: 3
(OSU: Oregon State University),
Monique A. R. Udell16
Estimated H-index: 16
(OSU: Oregon State University)
The domestic cat (Felis silvestris catus) has shared an intertwined existence with humans for thousands of years, living on our city streets and in our homes. Yet, little scientific research has focused on the cognition of the domestic cat, especially in comparison with human’s other companion, the domestic dog (Canis lupus familiaris). This review surveys the current status of several areas of cat cognition research including perception, object permanence, memory, physical causality, quantity a...
Published on Jan 15, 2015in Frontiers in Psychology2.13
Friederike Range30
Estimated H-index: 30
(University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna),
Zsófia Virányi14
Estimated H-index: 14
(University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna)
At present, beyond the fact that dogs can be easier socialized with humans than wolves, we know little about the motivational and cognitive effects of domestication. Despite this, it has been suggested that during domestication dogs have become socially more tolerant and attentive than wolves. These two characteristics are crucial for cooperation, and it has been argued that these changes allowed dogs to successfully live and work with humans. However, these domestication hypotheses have been pu...
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Published on Oct 1, 2019in Allergy6.77
Ebenezer Satyaraj6
Estimated H-index: 6
(Nestlé),
Harold James Wedner (WashU: Washington University in St. Louis), Jean Bousquet124
Estimated H-index: 124
Published on May 1, 2019in Applied Animal Behaviour Science1.82
Mikel M. Delgado5
Estimated H-index: 5
(UC Davis: University of California, Davis),
Mikel Delgado (UC Davis: University of California, Davis), Julie 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...
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