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

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Bias against adoption of stray cats

Dybdall, K., & Strasser, R. (2014). Is There a Bias Against Stray Cats in Shelters? People's Perception of Shelter Cats and How It Influences Adoption Time. Anthrozoos: A Multidisciplinary Journal of The Interactions of People & Animals.

The determination of adoptability is a fundamental issue facing shelters wishing to rehome cats. Many shelters in the United States cannot keep a cat indefinitely and increased time in the shelter environment may lead to reduced animal welfare due to chronic stress or euthanasia. In a series of studies, we examined whether entry type (whether a cat came to the shelter as an owner-surrendered or stray) as well as a cat 's perceived social behavior influenced adoption times and people 's ratings of adoptability. In study 1, we used archival data from 1,089 cats in a Midwest shelter and found that owner-surrendered cats were adopted significantly sooner than stray cats. In study 2, we further explored the difference between owner-surrendered and stray cats by measuring the social behavior of 56 shelter cats and their time before adoption. Similarly, we found in this sample that owner-surrendered cats were adopted on average nine days sooner than stray cats. Hierarchical regression analysis indicated that entry type was a significant predictor of days to adopt, and that latency to approach a human significantly improved the prediction model. Further, how quickly stray cats, but not owner-surrendered cats, approached a human experimenter correlated significantly with a shortened adoption time in the actual adoption scenario. Finally, in study 3, we used an on-line survey to present 12 dual-image pictures of cats and manipulated whether the information about the cat listed each as owner-surrendered or stray cat. We asked 120 college students to rate their likelihood of adopting each pictured cat. When participants were asked about reasons they would adopt a particular cat, 81% reported friendly behavior toward them; yet when viewing the mirror images in the survey (no behavioral information available), cats received higher adoptability ratings when presented as owner-surrendered compared with the flipped image of that cat presented as a stray. Taken together, these studies suggest that adopters' perception of stray cats, as well as cats' interactions with humans, influence the amount of time a cat remains in the shelter prior to adoption.

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