By Dennis C. Turner and Christine Olsen
Finally there is now a reliable and validated method to determine the personality and temperament of domestic cats. This will be useful for different purposes, including: increasing our understanding of the behaviour of our companion cats and our interactions with them (and of course for their welfare); for breeding programs; and especially to determine the suitability of individual animals for animal-assisted interventions.
Considering international guidelines (e.g., IAHAIO, ISAAT), the cats must be at least one-year old for an assessment. The PADA Program (Personality Assessment of Domestic Animals) for cats, PADA Cats, was recently added to the well-established tests for dogs, horses and several farm animal species.
PADA was established by the International Community of Anthrozoology, based in Norway. PADA Cat includes a detailed questionnaire part (based on the most recent and thorough scientific analysis of cat personality and temperament which considered reliability and validity of the trait assessments) and a series of specific situations filmed by the cat guardian for later analysis. At least two, experienced cat behaviourists with knowledge of AAI situations judge the filmed cat behaviour in the prescribed situations. After statistical analysis of the questionnaire answers and the film sequences, a confidential assessment of the cat will be sent to the caretaker. If it is positive, the signet “PADA-certified for AAI” will also be delivered. The caretaker is free to decide whether or not to make the results public.
The cost for the test instructions and the analyses by two cat behaviourists cover their development and time requirements and are reduced if the cat and caretaker come from a country with a lower income level (according to international ratings).
The International Community of Anthrozoology hopes that with the application of this new cat assessment tool, the protective involvement of domestic cats in animal-assisted work will be promoted.
For further information: see pada-icofa.com then “Test your animal”, “PADA test cats”
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