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Public perception of feral cats

Loyd KAT and Hernandez SM. Public perceptions of domestic cats and preferences for feral cat management in the southeastern United States. Anthrozoos. 2012; 25: 337-51.

Millions of feral cats exist in the United States and their management is the subject of debate. Strategies range from euthanasia of these cats to trap-neuter-release programs which have been implemented in many urban areas of the country. Awareness and understanding of public attitudes and preferences for control of these feral cat populations will aid in development of management strategies. These investigators used an anonymous internet survey of randomly selected residents of Georgia.

From the article: “Results indicate that more residents have positive experiences with feral cats than negative, cat owners have greater knowledge of cats than non-cat owners, and animal welfare or conservation organization membership has a significant effect on attitudes towards cats. A majority of survey respondents agreed that more effective feral cat management is needed yet did not approve of trap-neuter-release (TNR) legislation recently passed in Athens-Clarke County. ….residents’ attitudes were found to be more important than experiences or knowledge in supporting cat management legislation. Cat sanctuaries were found to be the most acceptable option to reduce feral cat populations (56%), followed by TNR (49%) and capturing and euthanizing cats (44%).” [MK]

See also: Peterson MN, Hartis B, Rodriguez S, Green M and Lepczyk CA. Opinions from the front lines of cat colony management conflict. PLoS ONE. 2012; 7: e44616. [free, full text article