We evaluated behavioural changes in domestic cats during short-term hospitalisation using a novel cat demeanour
scoring system. Thirty-five healthy, client-owned cats admitted for neutering were enrolled. Cats were housed in a
standardised cat ward for a short-term hospitalisation period (3–5 days) and demeanour scores were recorded once
daily. The scoring system classified cats into one of five behavioural groupings: friendly and confident, friendly and
shy, withdrawn and protective, withdrawn and aggressive, and overtly aggressive. Total demeanour score decreased
over time (P <0.001) and the demeanour category improved (P <0.001). The intra-class correlation was 0.843
(P <0.001) and kappa was 0.606 (P <0.001), suggesting good repeatability and agreement among investigators.
The demeanour scoring system was effective in detecting a change in behaviour in healthy cats undergoing shortterm
hospitalisation. The findings suggest that healthy cats require 2 days to acclimatise to hospitalisation.