30th April 2009, 11:28am
Does your cat spray around the home?
Domestic Cat Researchers at the University of Lincoln are launching a new study into the bad toilet habits of pet cats.

Academics in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University’s Riseholme campus will investigate how stress can lead to cats urine marking, or ‘spraying’, around the home – and what pet owners can do to stop it.

The University would like to hear from the owners of spraying cats who are willing to take part in a study into interventions to reduce feline anxiety.

The study will last approximately one month and all correspondence will be carried out by phone and postal questionnaire. There is no need for cats to reside at the University during the study.

Dr Sarah Redgate, from the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Lincoln’s Riseholme campus, said that just as in humans, anxiety could lead to behavioural changes in cats.

She said: “Urine marking is a natural behaviour pattern shown by both male and female cats and occurs irrespective of neutering. The reason why cats mark areas in this way is not fully understood but current thoughts suggest that it acts to enhance security within the cat’s core territory, which is often the home. Luckily owners can effectively treat this relatively common problem by taking advice from their vet or a qualified pet behaviour counsellor. Treatment programmes often involve minor modification to the home environment, to minimise the triggers of urine marking, in combination with products that act to treat the underlying anxiety.”

Cat owners interested in taking part in the study can contact Dr Sarah Redgate by e-mailing sredgate@lincoln.ac.uk or phoning (01522) 895478.
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