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Reliability and validity of a survey of cat caregivers on their cats' socialization level in the cat's normal environment

By M. Slater, L. Garrison, K. Miller, E. Weiss, K. Makolinski, N. Drain

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Abstract

Stray cats routinely enter animal welfare organizations each year and shelters are challenged with determining the level of human socialization these cats may possess as quickly as possible. However, there is currently no standard process to guide this determination. This study describes the development and validation of a caregiver survey designed to be filled out by a cat's caregiver so it accurately describes a cat's personality, background, and full range of behavior with people when in its normal environment. The results from this survey provided the basis for a socialization score that ranged from unsocialized to well socialized with people. The quality of the survey was evaluated based on inter-rater and test-retest reliability and internal consistency and estimates of construct and criterion validity. In general, our results showed moderate to high levels of inter-rater (median of 0.803, range 0.211-0.957) and test-retest agreement (median 0.92, range 0.211-0.999). Cronbach's alpha showed high internal consistency (0.962). Estimates of validity did not highlight any major shortcomings. This survey will be used to develop and validate an effective assessment process that accurately differentiates cats by their socialization levels towards humans based on direct observation of cats' behavior in an animal shelter.

Publication Title Animals
Volume 3
Issue 4
Pages 1194-1214
ISBN/ISSN 2076-2615
DOI 10.3390/ani3041194
Language English
Author Address Shelter Research and Development, Community Outreach, American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), 50 Stone Ridge Drive, Florence, MA 01062, USA.margaret.slater@aspca.org laurie.garrison@aspca.org katherine.miller@aspca.org emily.weiss@aspca.org kathleen.makolinski@aspca.org natasha.drain@aspca.org
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Tags
  1. Animal behavior
  2. Animals
  3. Animal welfare
  4. Carnivores
  5. Cats
  6. Mammals
  7. peer-reviewed
  8. shelters
  9. Socialization
  10. surveys
  11. vertebrates
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  1. peer-reviewed