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Born to roam? Surveying cat owners about containment

McLeod LJ, Hine DW, Bentsen AJ. Born to roam? Surveying cat owners in Tasmania, Australia, to identify drivers and barriers to cat containment. Prev Vet Med. 2015 Dec 1;122(3):339-344.

Free-roaming cats can cause problems in terms of community and conservation. In addition, it can be detrimental to the cat, as it will be subject to injury or disease. One management strategy is to confine cats to their owners’ property. It is important to identify drivers and barriers of and to cat containment. These investigators surveilled 356 cat owners in norther Tasmania and identified four profiles: owners who contained their cat all the time, owners who only contained their cat at night, owners who sporadically contained their cat with no set routine, and owners who made no attempt to contain their pet. Consideration of these identified drivers and barriers within the different cat-owner ‘containment groups’ provides the opportunity to design more effective intervention strategies by tailoring and targeting messages and selecting the most appropriate behavioral change strategies.

Results suggest that a cat-owner’s decision to contain their cat is influenced by a range of factors, but two appear to be particularly important. Cat-owners who only sometimes or never contain their cats, relative to those who keep their cats contained, are: (1) more likely to believe that cats have strong physical and emotional needs to be outdoors, and (2) less confident in their abilities to effectively contain their cats. When developing interventions aimed at encouraging households to contain their cats, local councils and animal welfare organizations should ensure that they focus on these two key factors.  (MK)

See also:
Finkler H, Terkel J. The contribution of cat owners’ attitudes and behaviours to the free-roaming cat overpopulation in Tel Aviv, Israel. Prev Vet Med. 2012 Apr 1;104(1-2):125-135.