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Outdoor Cats: An Animal Welfare and Protection Perspective

  • Author(s): Hadidian, John
  • Gibson, Inga
  • Hagood, Susan
  • Peterson, Nancy
  • Unti, Bernie
  • McFarland, Betsy
  • Lisnik, Katie
  • Bialy, Heather
  • Fricke, Inga
  • Schatzmann, Kathleen
  • Fearing, Jennifer
  • Runquist, Pam
  • Rowan, Andrew
  • et al.
Abstract

First raised as a serious conservation issue more than 100 years ago, the impact of free-roaming cats on wildlife has been a subject of debate, controversy, and conflict since then. Cats have been tied directly to the extinction of sensitive species in island environments and implicated as major threats to certain wildlife populations elsewhere. Yet the study of free-roaming cats and the problems attributed to them lags behind the standards of research typical with more traditional vertebrate “pest” species. Alternative management approaches, ranging from traditional practices such as removal and depopulation to emerging concepts such as Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR), have yet to be subject to the scrutiny and experimental study that could lay controversial interpretations of their efficacy to rest. Here, we discuss the need for collaborative management concepts and programs to address growing concerns about cats outdoors.

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