Owners of dogs who kill litter are “losing out” when their pet dies, according to a study by the Australian Institute of Pet Owners.
The institute has released the results of its own study into the behaviour of the three main species of domestic cat, which has revealed a high level of behavioural stress.
“The cat is very demanding on people,” Associate Professor Peter Dickson said.
“It’s very demanding, especially for people who don’t have enough to eat, who don´t have a lot of food, who are going to live in cramped quarters, who live in areas with little vegetation, and so on.”
In the study, dogs killed litter by eating it or chasing it were the most stressed, followed by cats who ate the litter.
“We see a lot more aggressive behaviours in cats, a lot less cooperative behaviour, and that has a lot to do with how the cat is controlling the environment, the ability to manage its environment,” Associate Dr Dickson told the ABC.
“So that’s really the focus of our work, is to understand how cats are controlling their environment, and to see if there are any other ways that cats might control their environment that could reduce stress.”
Animal welfare groups have raised concerns about the effect of cat killing on the health of pet cats.
“When a cat kills a litter it is not a natural occurrence,” Dr Mark Stirling, who runs the Animal Welfare Institute in New South Wales, told the broadcaster.
“There is no evidence that cats are killing the litter as a result of their diet, as they will not eat the litter if it is dead.”
Dr Stirling said the number of cat kills was a “very, very small number”.
“There’s no evidence of a significant increase in littering over time.”
He said some cats killed litter because they could not keep up with their daily routine, while others killed it for fear of being eaten.
“Cats are very social animals,” Dr Stirlings said.
A new study suggests cat owners could be at higher risk of a cat dying from a heart attack because their cats had an increased risk of having a heart condition.
The research was conducted by researchers at the University of Adelaide and the University.
The researchers used data from the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council to look at the risk of cat deaths for owners of three major breeds of domestic cats.
It found that cat owners were three times more likely to die from a cardiovascular event due to the stress they experienced when a cat died.
Associate Professor Dickson is hopeful that this will lead to changes to cat-related policies and guidelines, which he said could prevent further deaths.
“You can’t keep a cat around that long if you’re not going to eat it regularly and you’re going to feed it a good diet,” he said.
Dr Denton said a number of policies in Australia aimed to help prevent the deaths of cats.
These included a ban on the use of cat litter on outdoor furniture, and a ban in the home on the handling of cats that could cause stress to their owners.
“If we can improve the welfare of our pets by reducing the amount of stress that we put them under, then it’s a really good thing to do,” he added.