Potential use of domestic cat (Felis catus) urinary extracts for manipulating the behavior of free-roaming cats and wild small felids
© 2017 Increasing numbers of free-roaming cats are causing various social and ecological problems worldwide. To address these problems while also considering animal welfare issues, we investigated the usefulness of cat urinary extracts for manipulating the behavior of free-roaming cats. We first demonstrated that compounds evoking attraction, sniffing, and a functional behavior known as the flehmen response in cats were enriched in organic solvent extracts of cat urine. We applied the urinary extract to attract cats to a video camera trap that was set up to survey felid populations. Traps baited with the urinary extract were more efficient in capturing front facial views of cats, which were important for individual identification. Observing that cats left the test area without urine or fecal marking after sniffing the urinary extract, we also developed an application whereby areas in which the urinary extract was presented were protected from cats’ scent marking behavior using urine and feces. These applications could facilitate the coexistence of cats in human society and the protection of ecosystems. Furthermore, cat urinary extract evoked careful sniffing and the flehmen response in the bobcat, a different species, suggesting that it may be useful in programs for conservation of small endangered felids.