Your Cat Thinks You're Cool
By Karen Hopkin on March 29, 2017


We tend to see housecats as aloof and independent, mostly preferring to engage in their own kitty business. But that assumption may be littered with error. Because a new study finds that, given a choice, Fluffy would probably pick you over her favorite toy or treat. The research—which might give cat owners pause—apurrs in the journal Behavioral Processes. 
我們往往(tend to)見到的家貓是繼冷漠(aloof)又獨立,絕大多數只喜歡忙於(engage in)自己的貓事,但是那種假設可能因為錯誤而被當成垃圾扔掉(be littered with error),因為新的研究發現,在有選擇的情況下(given a choice),貓咪(Fluffy)通常會選擇你,放棄牠們最愛的玩具和甜點(treat),這份令貓咪主人停下來想一想(give cat owners pause)的研究在行為過程期刊上喵喵叫(apurrs)。


Scientists have analyzed what dogs like. And cotton-top tamarins(絨頂檉柳猴), Galapagos tortoises(加拉巴哥象龜), even giant pandas. But Kristyn Vitale Shreve, a grad student at Oregon State University, realized that no one had ever really put feline predilections to the test.


So Shreve and her team got 25 housecats and 25 shelter cats and stuck each in a room with a set of several items. In the first round of tests, kitties got to spend time with objects in four different categories: toys, like a feather or a stuffed mouse; odors, like a cloth that smells of catnip or a gerbil; food, like tuna or chicken; and a human, who would pet them or talk to them or play with them.
所以Shreve和她的團隊找來25隻家貓和25隻收容所的貓(shelter cats),把牠們放進(stuck sb in)一間有很多東西的房間裡。第一輪測試,貓咪可以(got to)花時間在四類不同的物品上面:玩具,像是羽毛或填充老鼠,氣味(odors),比方聞起來像(smells of )貓薄荷(catnip)或沙鼠(gerbil),食物,像是鮪魚或雞肉,還有人,會撫摸(pet)牠們或跟牠們說話或陪牠們玩。


In the final round, the top item from each category would be pitted head-to-head-to-head-to-head for the title of kitty’s most favorite thing.
The results? “Our take home message is that although each cat displays an individual preference for each item,” Kristyn Vitale Shreve, “the majority of cats and shelter cats preferred interaction with a human. Followed next by food, then toys, then scent.”
在最後一輪實驗,每個類別的最高項目會拿來互相較勁(be pitted),四個貓的最愛互相針鋒相對(head-to-head-to-head-to-head)。
結果如何?Kristyn說:「我們得到的關鍵信息(take home message = takeaway)是,雖然每隻貓表現出牠們對物品各自的偏好,絕大多數的家貓和收容所貓都比較喜歡跟人類互動,接下來才是食物,然後玩具,最後味道。」

Fully half the cats preferred spending time with people - although tuna did come in a close second. And 6 of the 50 test kitties chose to keep it finicky by refusing to interact with anything or anyone at all.
The results suggest that if you ever want to purrsuade your feline friend, you might offer your attention as a reward.
泰半(Fully half)的貓偏好跟人相處,雖然鮪魚以相當少的差距位居第二(come in a close second),50隻貓裡面有6隻仍然非常挑剔難以取悅(finicky),牠門拒絕跟任何人和人任何東西互動。

“This research is relevant, especially in an applied setting, where preference tests like these could be used to assess an individual’s most preferred item. And then that item could be used for training purposes. Or even to serve as enrichment, especially for shelter cats or potentially other captive wild cats to reduce negative behaviors or even stereotypic behaviors.”
* enrichment本意是豐富化,另一詞彙job enrichment,給工作上更多的獎勵或承擔更多的責任,讓員工開心工作以及表現得更好


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