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Modifying scratching behaviour in cats

A. Cozzi, C. L. Lecuelle, P. Monneret, F. Articlaux, L. Bougrat, M. Mengoli, P. Pageat

SCRATCHING behaviour in cats is a means of chemical and visual communication and, possibly, claw maintenance. Owners often raise concerns with vets about their cat's scratching behaviour and scratching in locations deemed inappropriate, such as on domestic furnishings, can negatively affect owner-cat relationships. Feline interdigital semiochemical (FIS) is a natural compound secreted from cats’ paws. This study aimed to investigate whether the application of a synthetic analogue of FIS could encourage cats to perform scratching behaviour in a particular area.

A randomised, blinded trial was conducted in which 19 cats were introduced to a room, allowed to acclimatise and then exposed to two different scratching posts consecutively. One of the posts had FIS applied to it, while the other had a similarly coloured control substance. The cats’ responses to the posts were recorded and the footage subsequently analysed. The time taken for scratching behaviour to begin, the frequency of scratching and the time spent scratching were all recorded.

The results indicated that cats scratched the FIS posts for significantly …

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