Abstract #398

# 398
Evaluation of cat scratcher efficacy.
John J. McGlone*1,2, Rebekkah R. Plummer2, 1Laboratory of Animal Behavior, Physiology and Welfare, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX, 2McGlone Enterprises Inc, Lubbock, TX.

Inappropriate scratching is a behavioral problem among kittens and cats in homes. Many models of cat scratchers are available but there is little objective work that evaluates efficacy of cat scratchers. A model was developed to evaluate cat scratching using kittens in a controlled setting. Four studies were conducted. The first study used 12 kittens (<3 mo of age) in a completely random design with 2 scratcher types per study. A power test revealed 6 kittens gave sufficient power for a scratcher evaluation; therefore, studies 2 to 4 used 6 unique kittens each. In a given study, a kitten was given simultaneous access to 2 cat scratchers for 20 min. Kittens spent an average of 95 s scratching and playing with cat scratchers. Preference studies examined cat scratchers. The key measure was the time kittens spent interacting (scratching and playing) with each scratcher. In study 1a, kittens spent more (P < 0.05) time with a cardboard bed than with a hemp post (99.3 vs. 14.9 ± 15.9 s) while in study 1b, a carpeted tall post and cardboard bed induced similar scratching (24.2 vs. 20.2 ± 23.3 s). In studies 2a-c, a screen was placed in either horizontal or vertical positions. In study 2a, kittens spent more (P < 0.05) time with the screen in the horizontal compared with the vertical position (21.7 vs. 10.5 ± 2.8 s). In study 2b, kittens spent similar time with the horizontal screen compared with the cardboard scratcher (25.0 vs. 29.8 ± 8.6 s). In 2c, kittens preferred (P < 0.05) the cardboard scratcher to horizontal bubble wrap (31.0 vs. 9.0 ± 5.1 s). In study 3a, kittens spent more (P < 0.05) time with cardboard than with screen (37.5 vs. 7.8 ± 7.9 s) and in 3b more time with cardboard vs. carpet (37.5 vs. 5.0 ± 6.7 s). In studies 4a-c, kittens spent more (P < 0.05) time with an S-shaped cardboard than with long-flat, rectangular-flat, or boat-shaped cardboard scratchers (20.6, 6.2, 6.3, 11.3 ± 3.9 s). In conclusion, kittens prefer cardboard and carpet over screen, bubble wrap, or hemp-type scratchers. Second, kittens had a clear preference to play and scratch with cardboard scratchers in an S-shape. Finally, scratchers vary considerably in their ability to interest kittens in scratching.

Key Words: cat, kitten, behavior