Damasceno, J., Genaro, G., Sangaletti Terçariol, C. A. 2016. Effect of the presence of a person known to the cats on the feeding behavior and placement of feeders of a domestic cat colony. Journal of Veterinary Behavior 11, 31-36.

Knowledge of the organization and dynamics of the relationships between animals and the environment and its resources is important to meet the needs of any species. We analyzed the effect the presence of a person known to the cats had on their feeding behavior, and the effect of how the cats used the feeders on a colony of 35 domestic cats who lived in a sanctuary. Cats were observed for 24 hours per day for 5 days in the feeding area of the enclosure. Our results indicate that the individuals in the colony organized themselves within their feeding area, with some of these individuals using a specific feeder, whereas others used both feeders. Individuals consistently exhibited increased feeding behavior in the presence of a human who provided fresh food (mean = 4.11 ± 0.62 minutes when humans were present compared with mean = 0.17 ± 0.01 minutes when that human was absent, P < 0.0079). These data reveal that the members of the colony organized themselves to access existing resources in the environment and that the presence of a person known to the cats influences the feeding behavior of those animals. This information helps promote a potentially comfortable environment, with respect to intraspeficic relationships and the animal-human relationship, an important consideration in management of this species when living in confined environments.

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