Journal of Ethology

, Volume 30, Issue 2, pp 325–329 | Cite as

Do faecal odours enable domestic cats (Felis catus) to distinguish familiarity of the donors?

  • Miyabi Nakabayashi
  • Ryohei Yamaoka
  • Yoshihiro Nakashima
Short Communication

Abstract

We studied the ability of domestic cats to distinguish familiarity based on faecal odours. This was evaluated by comparing the sniffing duration of cats’ own, familiar, and unfamiliar faeces. We found that (1) sniffing durations differed between unfamiliar faeces and the other types of faeces, (2) sniffing durations of faeces of the same unfamiliar individuals decreased over time, and (3) sniffing durations toward unfamiliar faeces increased after change of donors. These results indicate that domestic cats can distinguish the faecal odours based on familiarity. This ability could be adaptive for domestic cats to maintain their social relationships.

Keywords

Felis catus Faecal odours Familiarity Sniffing durations Olfactory communication 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We are deeply grateful to the cat keepers for their warm assistance in sample collection and conducting behavioral experiments. Their understandings and enthusiasms made this work possible. We sincerely thank Assoc. Prof. Dr. T. Akino in Kyoto Institute of Technology for his valuable supports and guidance. We are also grateful to Dr. H. Samejima and Dr. R. Ito for their kind advices and comments on earlier drafts of this paper. We thank two anonymous reviewers for critical readings and helpful comments that greatly improved previous versions of the manuscript.

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Copyright information

© Japan Ethological Society and Springer 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Miyabi Nakabayashi
    • 1
  • Ryohei Yamaoka
    • 2
  • Yoshihiro Nakashima
    • 3
  1. 1.Wildlife Research Center of Kyoto UniversityKyotoJapan
  2. 2.Kyoto Institute of TechnologyKyotoJapan
  3. 3.Graduate School of Science, Kyoto UniversityKyotoJapan

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