Potential risk factors associated with feline behaviour problems

Marta Amat, José Luís Ruiz de la Torre, Jaume Fatjó, Valentina M. Mariotti, Sophie Van Wijk, Xavier Manteca

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69 Citations (Scopus)


A retrospective study was carried out on feline behaviour problems presented at the Animal Behaviour Clinic at the Barcelona School of Veterinary Medicine to identify the main risk factors. Three hundred thirty six cats presented for a behaviour problem between 1998 and 2006 were included in the study group. A total of 189 presented at the Hospital of the Barcelona School of Veterinary Medicine for problems other than behavioural and having no record of behaviour problems were used as control group. The main owner's complaint was aggression (47%) followed by inappropriate elimination (39%). 64% of aggression cases involved conflicts between cats and 36% of cases were aggression towards people, owners being the most common target of aggression (78% of all cases of aggression were directed towards people). Play-related aggression and petting-related aggression were the main causes of aggressive behaviour towards people (43.1 and 39.6% of cases respectively). Most housesoiling problems involved urination (59%), followed by urination and defecation (32%) and defecation (9%), and the most common diagnosis was aversion to the litterbox (63.4%). Persian cats were presented more frequently for elimination problems than other breeds (χ2 = 6.40; p < 0.01). Cats with behaviour problems came from pet shops more frequently than control cats (χ2 = 10.39; p < 0.001). Cats without outdoor access showed significantly more behaviour problems than those with outdoor access (χ2 = 31.85; p < 0.001) and aggression problems were more common in single cat households than in multicat households (χ2 = 25.47; p < 0.001). Intact females were presented more frequently for aggression problems than neutered females (χ2 = 7.74; p < 0.01). © 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)134-139
JournalApplied Animal Behaviour Science
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2009


  • Aggression
  • Behaviour problem
  • Cats
  • Elimination
  • Epidemiology


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