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Associations of behaviour with secretory immunoglobulin A and cortisol in domestic cats during their first week in an animal shelter

By Nadine Gourkow, Alora LaVoy, Gregg A. Dean, Clive J. C. Phillips

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Abstract

We tested the hypothesis that during their first week in an animal shelter, cats exhibit groups of behaviours that are connected to mucosal immune and adrenal responses. The behaviour of 34 cats was observed from admission to day 5 and immunoglobulin A (S-IgA) and cortisol were quantified from faeces. A multidimensional model constructed by Principal Component Analysis indicated the presence of three distinct behavioural dimensions. Behaviours forming dimension 1 were hiding, flat postures, freeze, startle, crawl and retreat from humans. These were significantly contrasted (R −0.6 to −0.4) to dimension 3 behaviours which included normal patterns of feeding, grooming, sleeping and locomotion, sitting at the front of the cage while calmly observing activities, sleeping or resting while lying on their side, rubbing on cage items and friendly behaviour towards humans. Dimension 2 behaviours included persistent meowing, scanning, pacing and pushing, together with bouts of destructive behaviour, attempts to escape and redirected aggression. Dimension 2 was not significantly contrasted to dimension 3 (R

Publication Title Applied Animal Behaviour Science
Volume 150
Pages 55-64
ISBN/ISSN 0168-1591
DOI 10.1016/j.applanim.2013.11.006
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Tags
  1. Behavior and behavior mechanisms
  2. Cats
  3. Cortisol
  4. shelters