Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Two groups of domestic cats with established social structures were tested for their response to novel stimuli in a variety of test situations. Clearly observable individual differences in responses were seen which were consistent over a series of test sessions and remained stable despite regular environmental disruptions. Individual differences in behavioral response were found not to be related to object dominance (food competition) or social dominance (freedom of movement in social encounters) unlike similar studies with social animals. No relationship was found in either group between rank in object dominance and rank in social dominance. Significant correlations were demonstrated between latency to approach a novel stimulus, behavioral rank in test situations, and attention span in both groups of cats. Comparisons were made between similar studies with wolves and inferences were drawn about the relationship between individual differences and social structure in social and non social species.