UC Davis companion animal behavior experts are asking for the public’s help in a study about the interactions between cats and children.
Some evidence shows that cats have a calming influence on people, particularly the elderly, sick and children with special needs, according to a UCD news release.
Now, School of Veterinary Medicine behavior experts Ben and Lynette Hart, working with veterinary geneticist Leslie Lyons, have begun a study to find out how those relationships benefit kids and whether feline genetic traits can help identify positive behavioral characteristics in cats.
The researchers are asking cat owners in families with children to respond to an anonymous online survey, which takes about 15 minutes to complete, about the behavior of their cat around children. A family member over age 18 may take the survey at http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/ucdcatbehavior.
A second study component will use data from telephone interviews with about 300 families that include children with special needs, drawn from participants in the Childhood Autism Risks from Genetics and the Environment Study, a project of UCD’s MIND Institute.