PhD on Cat Welfare at Queen’s University Belfast




The School of Psychology at Queen’s University Belfast invites applications for a fully funded PhD entitled ‘Understanding the evolutionary mechanisms underlying infant features in cats and their implications for animal welfare’.

Project information

Infant features are physical traits that are characteristic of human infants and include facial features such as a large forehead, large and low-lying eyes, and a small nose and mouth. Animals possessing high levels of infant features are perceived as ‘cute’ and elicit care-giving responses in humans. The overall aim of this project is to assess the impact of possessing high versus low levels of infant features on cat welfare.  The relationship between infant features in cats and cat temperament, health and the strength of the pet-owner bond will be explored. In addition, the role that infant features play the adoptability of shelter cats will be evaluated.

Applicants must have at least a 2.1 degree (or equivalent) in Psychology or a related subject such as Zoology or Animal Science. A Masters level qualification in an area such as Evolutionary Psychology or Animal Behaviour and Welfare is desirable.

This 3 year PhD is funded by the Northern Ireland Department for the Economy (DfE). See for funding details and eligibility criteria.

The deadline for applications for this opportunity is Monday 25th March 2019, see How to Apply:

For informal enquiries, contact Dr Grace Carroll at

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