For people working with cats either professionally (for example vets, vet nurses, cattery owners and researchers) or as carers within the home environment, understanding cat behaviour is critical. For this reason colleagues in the field of animal behaviour and welfare at the University of Lincoln and the Royal Veterinary College have collaborated, thanks to funding from VetNet Lifelong Learning, to provide this resource.

The aim of this resource is to describe in a multimedia format, and in detail, the day-to-day behaviour of cats so that we can help to encourage consensus of description within the field. Our descriptions have been based on a combination of experience of those working in the field and, where it is available, published scientific material. This material can be found referenced in the section titled “Further Reading”.

Currently the site covers the first of 6 chapters, entitled “Maintenance Behaviour”, which deals with those behaviours associated with survival of the individual such as eating and moving around. Additional chapters will be added over time that will deal with the rest of the cat’s behavioural repertoire (for example reproductive behaviour and play).

How to Use This Site

Details of the different behaviours are to be found under the “CHAPTERS” heading at the top of the page. A drop down menu allows you to trace to the level of the behavioural descriptions that you require. The search function allows you to find a specific term should this be easbier for you.

The following PDF document outlines the chapters so that you have an overview of what is encompassed.

Chapter Outline

If at any time a picture, page or animation has opened and you are finding it difficult to navigate away from it, pressing the “back” arrow on your browser will take you back to the previous page and this will then allow you to navigate on further.

This website does not currently consider clinical behaviour as a chapter, however in a few instances abnormal manifestations of a behaviour may be included, for example over-grooming. Motivations or emotions to behaviours have not been attributed in the general chapters as in most cases additional scientific evidence is required before definitive conclusions can be drawn. However a chapter on negative emotional states is under construction. While further scientific work is required in this area, the behaviours associated with such states are commonly misunderstood or not recognised in cats, which therefore has welfare implications for the cats.