Saturday, November 14, 2009

Cat Focus Group: Home Alone and Having Fun

Friskies, the leading cat food brand, conducted a study to reveal the magical world of cats. In this cat “focus group,” 50 cat owners and their cats participate in an experiment to examine the feline, sensory experiences in cats' home environments when their owners are not around. Cats from around the nation wore tiny digital cat-cams that took pictures of their surroundings every 15 minutes. The resulting photographs uncovered where cats go and what they do, specifically, when they are left home alone.

It seems that average cat is home alone nearly five hours per day which is a lot of time for cats to play and explore their home environment. Furthermore, the study revealed not only what cats do, but also how they view and experience the world around them when they’re home alone.

Purina® animal behavior scientist Jill Villarreal, Ph.D., analyzed the photos from the Friskies® cats. She noted that the photgraphs shed light from a cat’s point-of-view and, for the first time, we can better understand what gets our cats’ attention and provides them with opportunities for play and adventure when they are alone.

According to the Friskies survey of cat owners, almost half of all owners say they wonder what their cat is doing when they are not home. The survey also revealed that 71 percent of owners suspect their cat is sleeping; 52 percent think they are eating; and 47 percent think they looking out the window. More, interesting details include:

· Several cats took pictures of computer and television screens. This is likely due to the cat’s natural prey instinct to focus in on moving objects.

· The cats’ photos revealed that screened-in porches are a rich oasis filled with sensory stimulation. This includes sights, sounds, textures, and smells with grassy patches and non-toxic plants that provide tactile (touch) and olfactory (smell) stimulation for the cats.

· The photos also showed that cats were greatly interested in water, be it in the sink, bathtub, or swimming pool. This may seem counterintuitive, as it is commonly believed that cats dislike water. However, these photos reveal that cats like water, but on their own terms. For example, the coolness of the sink and tub provide a fun thermal contrast for cats.

The results of this first-of-its-kind Friskies focus group are highlighted in the Scratchington Post, an online report showcasing the daily lives of America’s cats. The report includes findings from the Cat Sense survey of cat owners; photos from the cat “repurrters’ with analysis from Dr. Villarreal; background on each repurrter; and tips on how to help cats live life to the fullest by providing them with rich sensory experiences.

To view the full report in the Scratchington Post, visit\

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