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Cats are 'misunderstood' not aloof

RVC study suggests owners misread signals

According to behaviourists, the results of a new study suggest that feline body language is largely misunderstood by their owners, earning them a reputation for being "aloof".

As part of the UK's first CatWatch Day, 600 people observed their cats' behaviour on May 6 and completed a survey.

Having analysed the results, Jon Bowen, animal behaviour consultant at the Royal Veterinary College (RVC), says cats try to interact with their owners as they would a fellow feline.

"This communication is much more subtle than we are used to and is often missed by owners," he explains.

For example, owners often expect greetings to involve physical contact, yet a common cat greeting is to blink and then sit close but not touching.

Further, the findings suggest that cats adapt their behaviour to accommodate their owners' lifestyle. Cats involved in the study engaged in 40 per cent more activities when their owners were at home.

However, Jon says: "Owners did not rate their cats as more active at any time of day so there is a discrepancy between what owners think of as ‘activity’, and what cats actually do."

These findings have wider implications when it comes to feline health, as behavioural changes indicative of ill health may not be spotted.

"The results from CatWatch Day show that even devoted cat owners may miss the signs that their pet is under stress and so are not taking measures to prevent it," Jon says.

"If owners are tuned into their cat’s routine it will be easier to spot a change in frequency of feeding, greetings, play and amount of time spent outside."

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Cats mirror their owners' behaviour


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Registrations open for overseas veterinary professionals course

News Story 1
 Registrations are now open for the RCVS CPD course for overseas veterinary professionals, which covers an introduction to the UK veterinary professions.

The course is aimed at overseas-qualified veterinary surgeons and nurses during their first two years of working in the UK, in addition to those considering working here. It provides graduates with the key information and skills required to practice in the UK, as well as helping them understand their legal duties as veterinary professionals.

For more information and to book your place please click here. The course will be held at Belgravia House, London, on Wednesday 12 June.  

Click here for more...
News Shorts
New online guides provide advice for dog owners

A series of downloadable leaflets for dog owners have been produced by veterinary charity PetSavers in a bid to reduce the temptation to seek advice online.

The series entitled ‘My Dog’s Got’ offers practical information on an array of topics, including ‘My dog has dental disease,’ ‘My dog has itchy skin,’ and My dog has kidney disease.’

The new guides can be downloaded here. Printed versions of the new guides can be ordered by veterinary practices in exchange for a donation to PetSavers.