Cats in Research
While their use in research has declined over the last thirty years, 21,083 cats were used in research and teaching every year in the U.S. in 2014, according to the USDA. Cats are common experimental subjects in neurological studies, like studies of spinal cord injuries, and in studies of hearing and vision disorders. They are used in research for type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hematological disorders, and immunological studies. As cats can contract feline immunodeficiency virus and feline leukemia, they are used as models for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and human leukemia.
Cats are highly intelligent animals, and when confined in the restrictive laboratory environments, suffer from specific problems including boredom, fearfulness, aggression towards people and other cats, and self mutilation, although researchers attempt to enrich the environment of laboratory cats.