NYC PhD Candidate Julie Hecht Wants to See How You Play With Your Cat

Finally, someone who actually wants to see all those videos you take of your cat

What to Know

  • PhD candidate and animal behavior researcher Julie Hecht is studying how humans play with their cats.
  • She needs cat owners to submit videos of themselves playing with their pet within the comfort of their homes.
  • The deadline to submit a video is July 31, 2019.

Julie Hecht is researching how humans play with their cats, and she needs your help.

The animal behavior scientist and PhD candidate at City University of New York is asking the public to send in videos of themselves playing with their feline friends within the comfort of their own homes.

Cats, being creatures of habit, are more affected by new environments, Hecht said. By sending in a video, Hecht is given the ability to see cats playing in places they are comfortable in, giving her genuine documentations of how these cats usually behave.

"Cats are definitely getting their day" says Hecht. "We have to study them and ask questions about them in ways that meet their needs, and that's why the online platform is really great".

Sending in a video is an example of “Citizen Science”, a platform where ordinary people can help professionals and researchers like Hecht with their projects.

The specifics of the experiment’s purpose need to be kept under wraps, so as not to affect participant behavior. In fact, the video accompanying this article could not even feature people playing with cats. Rest assured, Hecht’s findings will not be used for crimes against felinity. Her goal is for humans to find ways “to better meet their [animal’s] needs and enhance our relationship” with our pets.

Hecht has already received videos from all over the world, from as far away as Australia. "I love seeing the individual expression of each animal" says Hecht. In order to participate, you must be 18 years or older, and of course, have a cat. All you need to do is visit and send in a video of yourself and your cat playing together. After submitting, you are then asked to fill in a short questionnaire. Once Hecht completes her research, she plans to let participants know the nature and results of her study via email.

Until then, get out your cameras and give your cat the debut she’s been asking for. Just make sure to submit before July 31st.

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