A critically appraised topic (CAT) to compare the effects of single and multi-cat housing on physiological and behavioural measures of stress in domestic cats in confined environments

Finka, Lauren and Ellis, Sarah and Stavisky, Jenny (2014) A critically appraised topic (CAT) to compare the effects of single and multi-cat housing on physiological and behavioural measures of stress in domestic cats in confined environments. BMC Veterinary Research, 10 (73). ISSN 1746-6148

Full content URL: http://www.biomedcentral.com/1746-6148/10/73

DocumentsOthers
Finka et al (2014) A critically appriased topic (CAT).pdf
[img]
[Download]
[img]
Preview
PDF
Finka et al (2014) A critically appriased topic (CAT).pdf - Whole Document

180kB
[img] HTML
73/abstract - Abstract

51kB
Item Type:Article
Item Status:Live Archive

Abstract

Background
Domestic cats have evolved from solitary, asocial predators and whilst they may display
social behaviours, they can still exist as solitary survivors. Over-population and
relinquishment of pet cats are ubiquitous problems worldwide, and rehoming centres (also
known as rescues/ shelters) aim to ameliorate this by holding cats in confinement for a
variable period until a new home is found. The provision of optimal housing for large
numbers of cats in close confinement, such as in rehoming centres, is therefore inherently
difficult. Under these conditions there is the potential for individuals to develop signs of
physical and psychological ill health, and thus experience compromised welfare. Available
information regarding housing practices that maximise welfare currently provides conflicting
results, and as a consequence there are no unanimous housing recommendations. The aim of
this study was therefore to review the evidence on the impact of single housing compared to
multi-cat housing on stress in confined cats, as measured by physiological and/or behavioural
outcomes. The review was conducted using a Critically Appraised Topic (CAT) format. A
systematic search of electronic databases (CAB Abstracts, Zoological Records and Medline)
was carried out to identify peer-reviewed literature comparing single and multi-cat housing in
confined environments.
Results
A total of 959 papers were initially identified, six of which met sufficient criteria based on
their relevance to be included within this review. All of the studies had significant limitations
in design and methodology, including a lack of information on how groups were assigned,
inconsistent handling and enrichment provision between groups, and lack of information on
the socialisation status of cats.
Conclusions
Whilst some studies suggested that single housing may be less stressful for cats, others
suggested group housing was less stressful. Several other important factors were however
identified as potential mediators of stress within the different housing systems, and
recommendations based upon these findings are presented

Keywords:welfare, cat, behaviour, animal behaviour, feline, caging, NotOAChecked
Subjects:D Veterinary Sciences, Agriculture and related subjects > D300 Animal Science
D Veterinary Sciences, Agriculture and related subjects > D328 Animal Welfare
Divisions:College of Science > School of Life Sciences
ID Code:13616
Deposited On:27 Mar 2014 10:08

Repository Staff Only: item control page