Les hommes ont oublié cette vérité. Mais tu ne dois pas l'oublier, dit le renard. Tu deviens responsable pour toujours de ce que tu as apprivoisé.
Le Petit Prince, chap. 21

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Spacing patterns in a urban cat population in Italy

Natoli, E. (1985). Spacing pattern in a colony of urban stray cats (Felis catus L.) in the historic centre of Rome. Applied Animal Behaviour Science,14(3), 289-304.

Factors controlling the spatial organization of a colony of stray cats (Felis catus Linnaeus, 1758) in an urban environment were investigated. Neighbouring colonies of stray cats were also observed, but in less detail. The findings were that:

(1) the animals of the colony selected for intensive study showed an active spacing pattern, i.e. they were not randomly distributed within the boundaries of the study area;

(2) the existence of an active spacing pattern was related to the resources offered by the environment where the animals lived;

(3) these resources (food and shelter) were concentrated in some parts of the study area. Consequently, the animals used these parts more intensively than others. The observations carried out on neighbouring colonies of cats confirmed the results reported for the colony examined in detail.

Some workers consider domestic cats to be a unique resource for evolutionary studies of social behaviour because it has been shown that this species has a high degree of intra-specific variation of behaviour in contrasting habitats. The object of this study was to examine the spacing behaviour and the evolution of the domestic cat social system as a response to a particular urban environment.

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