Date of Graduation

Summer 2021


Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis



Committee Chair

Michael Clayton


An essential element of an animal’s character is sociability (Gosling and John, 1999) and is demonstrated through interactions with other individuals (Capitanio, 2002). Although it is common to believe that domestic cats are not social beings, they have exhibited variance in solitary and social behavior, contingent on their environment and history (Turner, 2014). Much of the research on sociable behavior of animals has been completed between conspecifics. There has been less examination into interspecies sociability, and that which has been reviewed is focused on the relationship between humans and the domestic dog (Udell et al., 2010). Following this work, Vitale and Udell (2019) examined the effect of human attentional state and familiarity on the sociable behavior of domestic cats. The authors found that cats spent significantly more time in proximity with attentive humans and meowed more with unfamiliar, inattentive humans. A wide range of sociable behaviors were observed, suggesting that individual behavior differences should be considered in the study of cat social behavior. The current study was designed to replicate and extend this work using Bengal tigers (panthera tigris tigris) and Siberian tigers (panthera tigris altaica). Human attention was found to influence the behavior of tigers. This impact, as well as the comparison of human familiarity, continue to be an interesting component of feline sociable behavior.


social behavior, sociability, tiger, attention, inattention, human-tiger bond

Subject Categories

Applied Behavior Analysis


© Jenna J. Dail

Open Access