ICAWC 2013 - Top Cat, Alpha Cat, Boss Cat - Nicky Trevorrow & Penny Alborough
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ICAWC 2013 - Top Cat, Alpha Cat, Boss Cat - Nicky Trevorrow & Penny Alborough

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ICAWC 2013 Barcelona, Spain - Nicky Trevorrow & Penny Alborough's presentation on Top Cat, Alpha Cat, Boss Cat

ICAWC 2013 Barcelona, Spain - Nicky Trevorrow & Penny Alborough's presentation on Top Cat, Alpha Cat, Boss Cat

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    ICAWC 2013 - Top Cat, Alpha Cat, Boss Cat - Nicky Trevorrow & Penny Alborough ICAWC 2013 - Top Cat, Alpha Cat, Boss Cat - Nicky Trevorrow & Penny Alborough Presentation Transcript

    • Top Cat, Alpha Cat, Boss Cat The Dominance Myth in Cats Nicky Trevorrow and Penny Alborough Cats Protection
    • What does ‘dominance’ mean? “My cat is ‘top cat’ over my other cat” “I need to show my rabbit that I am the ‘boss’” “I need to be the ‘pack leader’ with my animals” “If my dog eats before me, they will think they are ‘top dog’”
    • What does ‘dominance’ mean? Definition: ‘An individual’s ability to maintain or regulate access to some resources’ Dominance can also be described as a ‘relationship between a pair of individuals’ It is not to do with aggression or status, nor is it a characteristic or trait of an individual animal
    • Where did it come from? Originally from early studies on wolves However these were captive wolves
    • Where did it come from? Often formed of unnatural groups Unable to escape one another
    • Where did it come from? Alpha pair Old ideas for the formation of a wolf pack
    • Where did it come from? More recent studies from wild wolves showed the pack consists of a family group
    • Where did it come from? Parents Family groups made up of parents and their offspring
    • Do cats have hierarchies?
    • Is there a ‘Top Cat’?
    • Where do we feature?
    • Where do we feature?
    • Why is this important to animal welfare? • Leads to misunderstanding species-specific needs • May be used to ‘justify’ using out-dated aversive training methods • Can lead to behavioural problems • Reduces the human-animal bond • In extreme cases, can inflict abuse on the animal and risk health and safety of the person
    • Let’s look at the cat’s origins…
    • The solitary hunter • Highly territorial • Prey sparsely distributed over environment • Does not co-operatively hunt with others
    • The importance of scent
    • Avoid stress and conflict • • • • Can be predated upon by other animals Survival of the fittest Prefer to run away, hide and climb Aggression is a last resort
    • How does this relate to feral colonies? It’s all about the clumped food resource
    • How would cats prefer to eat? In a large group? Separately? Neighbour’s cat Using one food bowl?
    • How do cats use space?
    • What happens when one cat dies?
    • So if you have more than two cats… Ensure there are plenty of resources for all the cats Appropriately spaced out
    • In summary • ‘Dominance’ is not a useful term for looking at groups of cats • As owners, cats are part of our ‘social unit’ • Important to understand and meet cats’ needs in order to improve welfare
    • Thank you for listening