Animal Studies Journal


This project was part of the Feline Friends Study, which matches shelter cats with families of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) to study children’s social behaviour and cats’ stress. Cats were screened for calm temperament using the Feline Temperament Profile (FTP). The FTP consists of ten phases, with a list of ‘acceptable’ and ‘questionable’ behaviours under each phase. Our aim was to answer the following research questions: What items of the FTP best predict temperament in shelter cats? What are similarities and differences in temperament between cats who qualified or did not qualify for placement? Forty-four shelter cats were rejected for placement in a home with a child with ASD and twenty-six cats qualified. There was no difference according to sex; however, there was a significant difference in FTP scores across animal shelters. Principal Component Analysis showed that ‘vocalizations’ and ‘watches with no approach’ were most predictive of acceptable temperament. The findings show that the FTP can be shortened with no loss of reliability, facilitating shelter efforts to rehome cats successfully. The implementation of FTP could effectively reduce the amount of time cats spend in the shelter as well as the number returned to the shelter after adoption, resulting in improved welfare both at the shelter (shorter stay) and in their new home (decreased return).