Feline Welfare

Optimizing Caged Cat Welfare

Cat in cage

This project aimed to assess the impact of aspects of the macro- (room) and micro- (cage) environment on cat behavior and welfare.

Results indicate the quality of the macro-environment is at least as important to the cat and her/his welfare as is the quality or size of the cage.

Project Leaders: Candace Croney (PI), Judi Stella

Funding Source: Morris Animal Foundation

Coping Styles in Cats


Identifying and understanding the effects of individual differences in coping style could lead to improvements in cat welfare. The aim of this study was to identify coping strategies in domestic cats housed in a ‘mock’ shelter environment.

Three clusters were identified that differed in the pattern of expression of hiding and perching behavior, food intake, and eliminations.  Identifying cats that have difficulty coping in challenging environments could lead to better welfare outcomes.

Project Leaders: Candace Croney (PI), Judi Stella

Funding Source: Morris Animal Foundation

Sickness Behaviors and Other Welfare Indicators in Cats


The objective of this project was 1) to compare the response of healthy cats and cats with feline idiopathic cystitis (FIC) to unusual external events (UEE); 2) and to evaluate the behavioral and physiological responses of these cats to a 5 day psychological stressor.

Comparable sickness behaviors were found in both groups in response to UEE and the short term stressors indicating this is a useful, non-invasive metric of cat welfare.