Background: Cats are a common companion animal (CA) in US households, and many live in families of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The prevalence of ASD is one in 54, and many children have behavior challenges as well as their diagnostic communication disorders. Objective: Benefits of CAs for children with ASD have been identified, but little is known about the welfare of CAs in these homes. This study explored the welfare of cats (N = 10) screened for ideal social and calm temperament using the Feline Temperament Profile (FTP) and adopted by families of children with ASD. Methods: Cat stress was measured using fecal cortisol, weight, and a behavior stress measure (cat stress score). Measures were taken at baseline in the shelter, 2-3 days after adoption, and at weeks 6, 12, and 18. Result: Outcome measures suggested the adopted cats' stress levels did not increase postadoption; however, the small sample size limited analytical power and generalizability. Conclusion: This study provides preliminary evidence for the success of cat adoption by families of children with ASD, when cats have been temperament screened and cat behavior educational information is provided. Further research is warranted to confirm these findings.
|Publication Title||Frontiers in Veterinary Science|
|Author Address||University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine Research Center for Human-Animal Interaction, Columbia, Missouri, USA.firstname.lastname@example.org|
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