First-of-its-Kind Feline Focus Group Uncovers the Magical World of Cats

November 10, 2009

ST. LOUIS, Nov. 10 /PRNewswire/ — Ever wonder what your cat does all day when he is home alone? Wonder no more.

Friskies® brand cat food finally answers the question that many cat owners have always pondered: What does my cat do when I am not at home? Dedicated to providing cats with vast sensory experiences to help them be happy and healthy, Friskies is announcing the results of a first-of-its-kind cat “focus group(1)” that reveal there’s more to life than a cat nap for our feline friends. The results can be found at www.friskies.com/scratchingtonpost.

The leading cat food brand identified 50 roving “repurrters” to go on the job to reveal the magical world of cats through examining their sensory experiences in their home environments. In the cat “focus group,” cats from around the nation wore tiny digital cat-cams that took pictures of their surroundings every 15 minutes. The resulting photographs uncovered where cats go, what they do, and specifically, what they experience when their owners aren’t home.

“We first surveyed(2) cat owners and found that the average cat is home alone nearly five hours per day, and that’s a lot of time for cats to play and explore,” said Daniel Henke-Cilenti, brand manager for Friskies. “Our repurrters reveal not only what cats do, but also how they view and experience the world around them when they’re home alone.”

Repurrter Notes

Purina® animal behavior scientist Jill Villarreal, Ph.D., analyzed the photos from the Friskies® “repurrters” to determine what they revealed about the playful days and sensory experiences of cats when they are home alone: Do they explore dark caves (e.g., closets to humans)? Stalk dust bunnies? Do they actually get along with the dog when their owners aren’t looking?

“Many people underestimate the richness and sensory stimulation the home environment provides for our cats,” said. Dr. Villarreal. “The photos our feline ‘repurrters’ took shed light on the home from the cat’s point-of-view and, for the first time, we can better understand what gets our cats’ attention and provides them with opportunities for play and adventure when we are away.”

According to the Friskies survey of cat owners, almost half of all owners say they wonder what their cat is doing when they are not home. The survey also revealed that 71 percent of owners suspect their cat is sleeping; 52 percent think they are eating; and 47 percent think they looking out the window.

“The playfulness of cats might be surprising to cat owners, as the majority said they suspected their four-legged friends sleep when they aren’t home,” Dr. Villarreal added. “Our ‘repurrters’ put those suspicions to rest with the real facts about cat life, revealing that it is much more active and magical than owners previously assumed and that cats seek out and need sensory stimulation.”

According to Dr. Villarreal, cats of all ages need play time to help maintain a healthy body weight and keep their minds active. Through their photos, they gave us a personal look at their social lives by stalking playmates and toys, climbing on structures and exploring their home.

Other key findings include:

  • Several cats took pictures of computer and television screens. This is likely due to the cat’s natural prey instinct to focus in on moving objects.
  • The cats’ photos revealed that screened-in porches are a rich oasis filled with sensory stimulation. This includes sights, sounds, textures, and smells with grassy patches and non-toxic plants that provide tactile (touch) and olfactory (smell) stimulation for the cats.
  • The photos also showed that cats were greatly interested in water, be it in the sink, bathtub, or swimming pool. This may seem counterintuitive, as it is commonly believed that cats dislike water. However, these photos reveal that cats like water, but on their own terms. For example, the coolness of the sink and tub provide a fun thermal contrast for cats.

The Scratchington Post: New Online Publication Shares Cat Cam Findings

The results of this first-of-its-kind Friskies focus group are highlighted in the Scratchington Post, an online report showcasing the daily lives of America’s cats. The report includes findings from the Cat Sense survey of cat owners; photos from the cat “repurrters’ with analysis from Dr. Villarreal; background on each repurrter; and tips on how to help cats live life to the fullest by providing them with rich sensory experiences.

“This report is a must read. I learned a great deal about my cat, Charlene Butterbean, and how her daily experiences compare to other cats around the country,” said Laurie Cinotto, owner of one of the Friskies repurrters and author of the blog, TheIttyBittyKittyCommittee.com. “Who knew Charlene was such an explorer?!”

To view the full report in the Scratchington Post, visit www.friskies.com\scratchingtonpost.

Repurrter Methodology

Friskies invited 50 cats to participate in the first-of-its-kind cat cam project, which was not a traditional qualitative focus group, but rather an opportunity for cat owners to better understand the magical world of their cats through feline photography. To ensure full and balanced “repurrting,” the participants included indoor cats from various living situations around the United States, including homes and apartments and those that live with other pets versus only with humans.

For around-the-clock coverage, each cat wore a tiny digital camera on its collar, made specifically for cats. The cameras were automatically set to take pictures of the cats’ explorations every 15 minutes when the owners were away. Then, the cat’s owner shared at least 10 pictures per day at the Friskies Flickr page. To view all the pictures, visit www.flickr.com/groups/friskiescatcam.

About Friskies

Friskies offers a complete line of great-tasting cat foods, including over 60 wet, dry and treat varieties that help cats enjoy multiple sensory experiences. Friskies is manufactured by Nestle Purina PetCare, a global leader in the pet care industry. Nestle Purina PetCare promotes responsible pet care, humane education, community involvement and the positive bond between people and their pets. The North American headquarters for Nestle Purina PetCare is located at Checkerboard Square in St. Louis, Missouri. Nestle Purina PetCare is part of Swiss-based Nestle S.A. — the world’s largest food company.

(1) The Friskies Cat Sense focus group did not use standard qualitative research methodology, but rather was an opportunity for cat owners to better understand the magical world of their cats through feline photography. The resultant photos taken by the cats provide a glimpse into their daily lives.

(2) These are the findings of an Ipsos telephone survey conducted September 10-13 and 17-20, 2009. For the survey, a nationally representative, randomly selected sample of 2,000 adults aged 18 and older across the United States was interviewed by Ipsos. From this, 459 cat owners were surveyed. Among cat owners, the margin of error is +/-4.6%.

SOURCE Friskies

Source: newswire

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