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Interpretation of ambiguous spatial stimuli in cats

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Abstract:

The aim of this paper was to develop a protocol to study the interpretation of ambiguous stimuli in cats as a measure of welfare. Ten cats were trained to discriminate between a rewarded position (R) and an unrewarded one (U), as measured by the approach latency for each position. After discrimination, they were exposed to three ambiguous unrewarded positions (R-near, R/U-equidistant, U-near) distributed at intermediate points between R and U. Approach latency increased as increasing the distance from the rewarded position: latencies to approach R and R-near were significantly shorter than for R/U-equidistant, U-near and U. This protocol should be further studied to assess its effectiveness in highlighting differences according to the welfare level of individual cats.

Keywords: ANIMAL WELFARE; CAT; CAT COGNITION; COGNITIVE BIAS; INTERPRETATION OF AMBIGUOUS STIMULI; SPATIAL LOCATION

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 2011

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