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Conditioning laboratory cats to handling and transport

Abstract

As research subjects, cats have contributed substantially to our understanding of biological systems, from the development of mammalian visual pathways to the pathophysiology of feline immunodeficiency virus as a model for human immunodeficiency virus. Few studies have evaluated humane methods for managing cats in laboratory animal facilities, however, in order to reduce fear responses and improve their welfare. The authors describe a behavioral protocol used in their laboratory to condition cats to handling and transport. Such behavioral conditioning benefits the welfare of the cats, the safety of animal technicians and the quality of feline research data.

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Figure 1: A cat willingly approaches the research technician as she comes close to the enclosure.
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Acknowledgements

We thank Stephanie Smith for technical contributions to this project. This study was supported by a grant from the National Institutes of Health and the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award.

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Correspondence to Margaret E. Gruen.

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The authors declare no competing financial interests.

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Gruen, M., Thomson, A., Clary, G. et al. Conditioning laboratory cats to handling and transport. Lab Anim 42, 385–389 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1038/laban.361

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