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Schweiz Arch Tierheilkd. 1991;133(2):63-70.

The ethology of the human-cat relationship.

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Institute of Zoology, University of Zurich-Irchel.


Comparative behavioural observations were made in the home setting in order to analyze the ethology of the human-cat relationship. Factors postulated, and indeed, found to influence that relationship included marital status of the human (women living alone, with a partner or with a partner and children), housing conditions of the cat (indoor vs. outdoor access), number of cats kept (one vs. more than one), and to a very minor extent, pedigree of the cat (purebred vs. domestic mixture). Various measures of success at both the interactional, and the relationship level were examined and yielded the following results: 1) The more successful the person is in initiating interactions with the cat, the shorter, the total interaction time with the pet. 2) The higher the proportion of all successful intents to interact that were due to the cat, the more time spent interacting. 3) Willingness to comply with the partner's wishes to interact is positively correlated between the cat and the human over all pairs examined--which helps explain the widespread popularity of cats, as pets.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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