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Cat Welfare is Linked to Human Welfare

Patronek GJ: Mapping and measuring disparities in welfare for cats across neighborhoods in a large US city, J Am Vet Med Assoc 71:161, 2010.

The major goal of this study was to determine if it was possible to detect disparities in welfare of cats, as indicated by variations in rates of cat intake and death at animal shelters, within neighborhoods, and across census tracts in a large U.S. city, Boston MA. The study’s data covered a time period of 5 years. The results varied widely within 16 neighborhoods of Boston. Annual rates of cat intakes ranged from 0.85 to 10.3 cats/1000 people to the annual rate of cat deaths of 0.27 to 3.9 cats/1000 persons. A second goal was to determine whether cat mortality rates had any relationship with disparities in human health, such as reflected by premature mortality rates. Cat deaths were found to significantly correlate with human premature deaths at the neighborhood level. This result reaffirms the close connection between the well-being of humans and other animals. The use of geospatial methods in this study allowed accurate connection of cat records to actual human population data. If there is recognition of marked disparities in cat intake and mortality rates within neighborhoods and across census tracts, it may be possible to use targeted, small-area intervention as a means of reducing disparities in cat welfare.   [VT]

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Barker SB, Wolen AR: The benefits of human-companion animal interaction: a review, J Vet Med Educ 35:487, 2008.