The research and development process that culminated in the development of the Meet your Match: Feline-ality Adoption program had three phases:
The following five shelters served as research sites:
Phase I – Cats with GuardiansWe wanted to see if we could accurately predict how a cat was likely to behave in the home based on the cat's responses to assessment items completed at a boarding facility. We compared cats’ behavior at the boarding facility with their guardians’ reports of behavior in the home. We found correlations between behavior in the assessment environment (the boarding facility) and home report regarding:
Phase II – Shelter Cats
Based on the results of Phase I, we modified both the assessment and the data card. Two shelters – Animal Refuge League (Westbrook, ME) and Wisconsin Humane Society (Milwaukee, WI)– served as Phase II research sites.
We found that many behaviors seemed stable when the cat was moved from one environment (the shelter) to a new environment (the home). For example, cats who vocalized during certain assessment items were likely to be “talkative” in the home. Further, we found certain aspects of social interaction with the evaluator were also experienced in the home by the new adopter.
Phase III – Matching Cats with Adopters
Now that we had a tool to assess certain feline behaviors, we tested several other components. Our goal was to complete the development of a Meet your Match Cat Adopter Survey that would identify expectations and lifestyles in order to make the best adoption matches. We examined the following questions:
The five research sites found the following results: