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Behavioural Responses of Urban Feral Cats To Different Types of Urine Marks

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[Ten adult feral cats, four males and six females, living in group in an urban environment, were tested measuring their reaction to six different types of urine placed, one by one, within the group territory. i) The six types of urine were: 1) sprayed urine of a strange male; 2) sprayed urine of a male from the group (sprayed urine = urine emitted raising the tail between 45° and 90°, and directing a fine spray of liquid from the anal/urogenital region on to a vertical object (CORBETT, 1979; DE BOER, 1977)); 3) 'excretory' urine of a strange male; 4) 'excretory' urine of a male from the group; 5) 'excretory' urine of a strange female; 6) 'excretory' urine of a female from the group ('excretory' urine = urine emitted from a squatting position, described by CORBETT (1979) and DE BOER (1977) as a behaviour that aims to empty the bladder). ii) The reaction of each animal was assessed by recording the amount of time (seconds) spent sniffing the six different samples of urine. iii) The amount of time spent sniffing the six different types of urine was analysed by means of analysis of variance and t-tests. iv) The response depended on the type of urine presented. Both males and females spent more time sniffing urine sprayed by a strange tomcat than either excretory urine from a strange tomcat or urine sprayed by a male from the group. v) The reaction of males was significantly more prolonged than those of females. vi) These results suggest that the function of inspecting urine marks may be to detect characteristics of the individual donor, especially its membership to the group., Ten adult feral cats, four males and six females, living in group in an urban environment, were tested measuring their reaction to six different types of urine placed, one by one, within the group territory. i) The six types of urine were: 1) sprayed urine of a strange male; 2) sprayed urine of a male from the group (sprayed urine = urine emitted raising the tail between 45° and 90°, and directing a fine spray of liquid from the anal/urogenital region on to a vertical object (CORBETT, 1979; DE BOER, 1977)); 3) 'excretory' urine of a strange male; 4) 'excretory' urine of a male from the group; 5) 'excretory' urine of a strange female; 6) 'excretory' urine of a female from the group ('excretory' urine = urine emitted from a squatting position, described by CORBETT (1979) and DE BOER (1977) as a behaviour that aims to empty the bladder). ii) The reaction of each animal was assessed by recording the amount of time (seconds) spent sniffing the six different samples of urine. iii) The amount of time spent sniffing the six different types of urine was analysed by means of analysis of variance and t-tests. iv) The response depended on the type of urine presented. Both males and females spent more time sniffing urine sprayed by a strange tomcat than either excretory urine from a strange tomcat or urine sprayed by a male from the group. v) The reaction of males was significantly more prolonged than those of females. vi) These results suggest that the function of inspecting urine marks may be to detect characteristics of the individual donor, especially its membership to the group.]

Affiliations: 1: Dipartimento di Biologia Animale, Università di Catania, Via Androne 81, 95124 Catania, Italy

10.1163/156853985X00208
/content/journals/10.1163/156853985x00208
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/content/journals/10.1163/156853985x00208
1985-01-01
2016-12-08

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