The objective of this study was to develop a brief scale, primarily intended for research applications, that measures how well people report meeting the welfare needs of their pet cats. The practice of keeping cats as a companion animal has increased, and despite their popularity, many cats suffer from poor welfare and behavioral problems. The failure to meet their welfare needs and provide for natural behaviors impacts their quality of life and may affect cats’ retention in adoptive homes. We present three studies in which we developed, piloted, and psychometrically evaluated the Cat Care and Needs Scale (CCANS) by surveying cat guardians, examining their selfreported care-taking habits and interactions in regards to a pet cat. The final study (n = 1,591) resulted in a 15-item scale which shows high reliability, with application of item response theory indicating that individual items were all suitable for inclusion. Diverse evidence, including a factor analysis, parallel analysis, and confirmatory factor analysis, supports that the scale is unidimensional. The CCANS is scalable and allows for correlational comparisons with other scales which measure any variable of interest in research exploring human–companion animal relationships or cat welfare. We propose that the CCANS scale is a step forward in measuring how well pet owners understand and meet their cats’ behavioral, welfare, and basic care needs.
|Publisher||Taylor & Francis|
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