Epidemiology of domestic cat behavioral problems in the city of Porto Alegre/Brazil: a survey of small animal veterinary practitioners

ABSTRACT: The popularity of cats as a companion animal has been growing. Additionally, there is also an increase in the number of complaints regarding behavioral problems associated with the species. Behavioral problems interfere with the animal welfare and quality of people’s lives that are living with them, and are one of the main reasons for abandonment and euthanasia in some countries. This study aimed to investigate the prevalence of behavioral problems among cats with the help of veterinary practitioners in the city of Porto Alegre/Brazil. This evaluation was performed through a questionnaire in veterinary clinics and hospitals of small animals, which was answered by veterinarians responsible for clinical care. The study showed that most veterinarians (92.0%) have been sought to assist with behavioral problems and that dogs were the most consulted species (72.0%). Regarding cats, scratching was the most common owners’ complaints (40.0%), followed by aggressiveness (39.0%), and inappropriate elimination of urine (38.0%). Aggression (73.8%) and scratching (56.9%) were the most frequent reasons that may lead to the abandonment or euthanasia of cats. Results of this research highlighted the importance of having a better understanding about the normal behavior of cats, and the fundamental role of the veterinarian in preventing behavioral problems and abandonment of these animals.