Feeding Behavior in Feral and Domestic Cats

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Feeding Behavior in Feral and Domestic Cats During the course of evolution, a species may change drastically. Adaptations in behavior and in physical characteristics are both important to survival. Some behaviors of a species may be learned, while others may be genetically determined. It is likely that most behavior are a combination of genetic makeup and learning. Learned behaviors are essential to survival because they can change to meet the demands an organism’s current situation. Genetically determined behaviors are advantageous because they are automatic and take place in the absence of learning. Each of these types of behavior are important to species survival. One way of conceptualizing genetically determined behaviors is through the Fixed Action Pattern. Fixed Action Patterns or FAP’s are species typical behaviors that are stereotyped, they are independent of external control, spontaneous, and are independent of individual learning (Moltz, 1965). Fixed action patterns are considered to be consummatory acts, and include a wide range of different behaviors. Some types of feeding behaviors can be considered to be FAP’s. Capturing and consuming prey are probably two of the most important behaviors an animal must perform in order to survive. In most species, the young must learn how to capture prey from it’s parents. This is especially true for carnivores. Carnivores must work especially hard for their food. In most cases, carnivores species must locate, capture, and kill their food before they can begin to feed. Herbivores usually need only to locate a food source. One species of carnivores that is in fairly close contact with humans is the domestic cat. Domestic cats belong to the... ... middle of paper ... ...han food. Future studies could look at how frequently cats perform this behavior on nonfood items, such as toys. Differences between cats who have been food deprived and those who have not could be compared. Bibliography: References Adamec, Robert E. (1976). The Interaction of Hunting and Preying in the Domestic Cat. Behavioral Biology, 18, (263-272). Hutchinson, R. R., & Renfrew, J. W. (1966). Stalking Attack and Eating Behaviors Elicited From the Same Sites in the Hypothalamus. Journal of Comparative and Physiological Psychology, 61, (360-367). Liberg, Olof (1984). Food Habits and Prey Impact by Feral and House-Based Domestic Cats in a Rural Area in Southern Sweden. Journal of Mammalogy, 65, (424-432). Moltz, Howard (1965). Contemporary Instinct Theory and the Fixed Action Pattern. Psychological Review, 72, (33-50).

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