Karina H Palermo



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It is hypothesized that as a cat owner's nurturing behavior increases, the cat's neotenous (juvenile) behaviors will increase. Bradshaw, Casey, and Brown (2012) reports the persistence of juvenile behaviors to be one of the three effects that domestication has on Felis catus. Though physiological changes are more easy to observe, behavioral changes are more challenging to measure, as they vary cat-by-cat. Moreover, Price (1999) notes that changes in animal behavior are often due to changes in the animals' social environment. The changes from wild to domestic, or even outdoor to indoor living have a large impact on cat behavior. Locke and Prinz (2002) explain that when it comes to parenting, nurturance can be shown through emotional expressions, such as a hug, and instrumental acts, like playing a game together. Participants' behavior towards their cats are measured using these categories. The topic under question is finding correlates of persistent neotenous behaviors in Felis catus. Nurturance questionnaires, neotenous behavior checklists, as well as emotional expressions and instrumental acts checklists adapted for the cat and owner relationship have been distributed to patrons of the Gem City Catfé in Dayton, OH. The café receives a $1 donation for their partnering cat rescue for each completed packet that is returned. The data will be analyzed using multiple regression to predict neotenous behaviors from nurturance, instrumental acts, and emotional expressions.

Publication Date


Project Designation

Independent Research

Primary Advisor

Greg C. Elvers

Primary Advisor's Department



Stander Symposium project

The Persistence of Neotenous Behaviors in Felis catus