Katherine Pankratz, a clinical behavioral medicine resident at the NC State College of Veterinary Medicine, has received the Resident Best Paper Award from the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery for her research into reducing stress and fear in confined cats.
Pankratz’s research took a look at the effectiveness and safety of the drug gabapentin when given to cats caught during trap-neuter-release protocol or TNR, used to curb overpopulation of stray cats.
The study found that single doses of gabapentin lowered fear response and respiratory rates, as well as led to fewer additional injuries, in cats confined to cages before neutering. No adverse side effects were noted in cats treated with the drug.
Presently, there are few effective pharmacologic options available for cats during the TNR process, the study notes, and a range of side effects have been observed after use of those drugs.
“I believe that this research will improve the welfare of all cats in confinement,” Pankratz told the JFMS. “In addition, I hope it will inspire additional research to study attenuating fear in other cat populations, in other circumstances and with other antianxiety agents.”
Co-authors of the study are Kelli Ferris, CVM general practice clinical assistant professor; Barbara Sherman, CVM clinical professor of veterinary behavior; and Emily Griffith, a research assistant professor in the NC State College of Agriculture and Life Sciences’ Department of Statistics.
Read the full study here.