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Intercat aggression in households following the introduction of a new cat

By E. Levine, P. Perry, J. Scarlett, K. A. Houpt

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Abstract

A 62 question survey was mailed to 375 individuals who adopted a cat from a local animal shelter. The goals of the survey were to identify the incidence of intercat aggression when a new cat was introduced into a household, identify potential risk factors associated with intercat aggression within a household and obtain various descriptive information on methods used to introduce a new cat into a home. The response rate was 72% (n=252) with 128 of the households containing multiple cats and 124 of the households containing only the adopted cat. For this survey, fighting was defined as scratching and/or biting. Among households with multiple cats, half reported fighting between cats when the new cat was introduced. Approximately half of the people introduced the cats into the home by simply putting the cats together immediately. Neither age, sex, nor number of cats in the household was associated with current fighting (i.e. fighting that was occurring 2-12 months after the new cat was brought into the household); however, current fighting was associated with individual behaviors (i.e. scratching and biting) during the cats first meeting, outdoor access, and the owner's perception of the first meeting as unfriendly or aggressive.

Date 2005
Publication Title Applied Animal Behaviour Science
Volume 90
Issue 3/4
Pages 325-336
ISBN/ISSN 0168-1591
Language English
Author Address Cornell University Hospital for Animals, Ithaca, NY 14850, USA. el95@cornell.edu
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Tags
  1. Adoption
  2. Aggression
  3. Animal behavior
  4. Cats
  5. Mammals
  6. peer-reviewed
  7. Pets and companion animals
  8. risk factors
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  1. peer-reviewed