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Relationships between scores of the feline temperament profile and behavioural and adrenocortical responses to a mild stressor in cats

By Tazuko Iki, Frank Ahrens, Katharina Hannah Pasche, Angela Bartels, Michael Helmut Erhard

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Abstract

There is a growing need for an easy assessment of stress levels in cats in order to more effectively diagnose, distinguish and treat stress-related disorders or behavioural problems. Therefore, we investigated which behavioural changes might be associated with an adrenocortical response to an acute stress or (spray bath) and in which magnitude this response depends on the temperament of the cat. A feline temperament profile (FTP), which assesses the behavioural responses of cats in different test situations, was performed on eight male cats. All cats were evaluated in regard to physiological function of the adrenal glands using an ACTH stimulation test. To enable unbiased, stress-free blood collection, the cats underwent surgery for implantation of a venous access port system. After recovery, a stress test was performed by exposing each cat to a 3-min spray bath. Blood was collected before and after the bath and analyzed for cortisol by HPLC. Behaviour of the cats during the stress test was videotaped. Correlations between FTP scores and measures of behavioural and adrenocortical responses were examined. The cats showed an increase in grooming behaviour after the stressor (P

Publication Title Applied Animal Behaviour Science
Volume 132
Issue 1
Pages 71-80
ISBN/ISSN 0168-1591
DOI 10.1016/j.applanim.2011.03.008
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Tags
  1. Behavior and behavior mechanisms
  2. Cats
  3. Cortisol
  4. Stress
  5. Temperament tests