New Survey Studies Special Animal-Human BondPublished July 26, 2011
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Today, with the abundance of scientific evidence available on the Internet, giving credence to the health benefits of living with or even spending quality time with a friend’s pet, most animal lovers will agree that as far as they are concerned, it’s about time scientists are giving the credit to which our furry and feathered friends are due.
Cat lovers know that holding a purring cat on your lap can lower blood pressure, or when feline devotees experience the joy of watching the playful antics of kittens we feel happier and less stressed out. Dog lovers are delighted by a wagging tail and a few sloppy canine kisses.
According to a research project launched by the Saint Louis University, published in the March 2006 issue of "Anthrozoos," folks living in nursing homes felt far less lonely after spending some alone time with a dog than they did when they received a visit from other people with a dog. So there really must be something very special in the relationship between humans and animals, weaving a kind of magic which is unique and precious.
But apparently, all the research that has been performed over the years, examining almost every aspect of the human-animal bond, is not yet sufficient to categorically admit that animals really do benefit us mentally, emotionally and physically.
Since evidence is pointing in the direction that cats have a calming influence on the sick, elderly and children with special needs, a study is presently under way by the University of California Veterinary School at Davis to learn more about the mechanisms of animal-human relationships, and to see if there is an environmental factor involved or even if there is a genetic basis in the formation of these relationships.
Companion animal behavior experts at UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine Ben and Lynette Hart have been working with veterinary geneticist Leslie Lyons to explore more about how these relationships benefit children, and in turn have initiated a multi-part study. They are also examining whether feline genetic traits can help identify positive behavioral characteristics in cats.
The Harts are interested in learning more about children between the age of 3 and 12 and their relationships with cats, as their part of the study, and are asking adult cat owners with children age 3-12 to take part in the study by responding to an online survey to gather more information. The questionnaire is anonymous, and inquires about the family and how their cat behaves around children, which includes the cat's friendliness, aggressive or fearful behavior.
The survey is open to a family member over 18 years of age. It takes about 15 minutes to complete. A comment section is provided where respondents can add any personal details about the family cat.
For those interested in participating in the survey, it is available at http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/ucdcatbehavior.
To learn more about the study, visit:the UC Davis website.
Please feel free to pass the URL of the survey to friends who wish to participate.
I hope the survey results are published in the near future. Do you feel the information will be interesting or helpful? Share your opinion in a comment.