Scientists are asking for U.S. volunteers who live with cats to participate in a new research project. The study will survey owners about their pet’s behaviors and their knowledge of training methods. The team’s larger goal is to help cats—especially kittens—and humans better form healthy relationships with one another.
The current study is being conducted by scientists from the Animal Welfare Epidemiology Lab at the University of California Davis. Last fall, the team recruited volunteers who owned exactly two cats to look at cat videos on the internet, as part of a project to study how well owners could read feline body language. They were especially interested in knowing whether owners could tell when cats were about to lash out at their furry roommates.
The researchers are now beginning work on a new study. This time, they want to explore the socialization of cats viewed through the lens of their owners, as well as how much importance owners place on different aspects of cat socialization.
“Once we’ve collected all the responses, we can share our findings with shelters, cat behaviorists, and the public, so as to hopefully make cat and kitten socialization more accessible to all those who want to get to it.”
-Jennifer Link, PhD student, Animal Welfare Epidemiology Lab, University of California Davis
How you can participate
Surveys and citizen-science projects can be conducted at home and can bridge gaps in research on cats and their humans. This current study in particular may help scientists find the best ways to improve cat-human bonds from an early age.
The team is looking to obtain about 2,500 survey responses in total, with an eye on having something to show to the public within the next 12 to 18 months. Eligible volunteers (current cat owners in the U.S.) can sign up here, and the survey should take no longer than 10 to 15 minutes to fill out.