Wandering Cats: Attitudes and Behaviors towards Cat Containment in Australia

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Abstract:

Cat containment is a prominent cat management issue in Australia that provokes strong, and sometimes opposing, points of view. The aim of this study was to explore beliefs and attitudes towards containment in cat owner and non-owner groups, and to examine cat containment practices in owners. A random sample of 424 Victorian residents was recruited to complete the Community Attitudes towards Companion Animals Survey by telephone interview. The results showed that, of 142 cat owners, 80% contained their cat to a property at night but only 41.2% contained their cat to a property during the day. For cat owners, beliefs about the importance of cat containment were related to concerns regarding the protection of cats from injury and the protection of native wildlife. Beliefs relating to the importance of cat containment most strongly predicted containment practices. Conversely, findings from non-owners revealed that support for containment was generally linked to concerns regarding protection for wildlife and protection of community members from harm or nuisance behaviors. These findings indicate broad support for cat containment and suggest that education relating to the advantages of suitably enriched containment to protect cats from injury would be worthwhile in regions with cat curfews in place.

Keywords: CAT; CONTAINMENT; ENRICHMENT; NUISANCE; WILDLIFE

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2752/175303712X13240472427195

Publication date: March 1, 2012

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