Madrid, 10 (European press)
Cat care scientists from Nottingham Trent University and Nottingham University looked at how people’s personalities, demographics and past experience with cats influence how they treat and interact with them.
The study was in collaboration with Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, which supported and funded research into her cats in London. The team wanted to see how well the participants interacted with the cats in the ways they preferred, in terms of handling, petting and general interaction.
Previous research by team members suggested that, during interactions, allow cats to choose when to be petted, generally by trying to touch them less, paying close attention to their behavioral reactions and body language, and focusing primarily on the base of the cat’s ears. Cheeks and under the chin are the best ways to increase affection and reduce aggression.
In the new study, which involved the NTU School of Animal, Rural and Environmental Sciences, researchers asked 120 participants to spend five minutes in a Battersea cat environment interacting with three cats they didn’t know.
Participants were asked to let the cat approach them and not follow it, but were encouraged to interact with the cats as they normally would at home, for example.
Surprisingly, the researchers found that participants who self-rated as “more familiar and experienced” with cats were more likely to touch areas of a cat’s body that they typically find uncomfortable, such as the base of a cat’s tail and abdomen.
In addition, participants who reported living with more cats and with cats for more years were less likely to be given enough choice and control during interactions, touching cats more and in less preferred areas of the body, legs or along. their appearance.
Participants also completed a widely used personality questionnaire to assess the extent to which their owners fall into one of five general personality traits: agreeableness, conscientiousness, extraversion, neuroticism, and openness.
Older adults and those with higher scores on the “neurotic” personality trait tended to try and catch cats more, while extroverts were more likely to initiate contact with cats and touch cat areas, which are generally less favorable.
In contrast, participants who scored higher on “kindness” were less likely to touch the most sensitive areas of the cat’s body. People who reported having some experience of formal working with cats or other animals were also found to be more “cat friendly” in their approach to interaction, allowing the cats to take control and be more sensitive to their needs.
Researchers highlight that people’s past experiences, personalities, and perceptions of their own abilities can have a significant impact on the behavior and well-being of cats and other household pets.
Lead researcher Dr. Lauren Finca said in a statement: “Our results suggest that certain characteristics that we might assume would make someone good at interacting with cats should not always be considered reliable indicators of a person’s suitability to adopt particular cats, particularly those with special treatment. OR behavior needs.
“However, the good news is that we can use this information in a really positive way to develop meaningful educational interventions to ensure that everyone knows the best ways to interact with cats to maximize their enjoyment of interacting with us. For example, Battersea recently developed animations that illustrate the best ways With which we can act with cats.
“Of course, every cat is an individual and many will have specific preferences about how they prefer to interact with them. However, there are also some good general principles to follow to ensure that each cat is as comfortable as possible and that their specific needs are met.
“It is important that within shelters we also need to avoid discrimination against potential adopters who have no prior experience of cat ownership, because with the right support, they can make wonderful cat guardians.”
The study, which was also co-authored by SRUC (Scotland Rural College) and the University of Edinburgh, was published in the journal Scientific Reports.