Cat Owners: How they Keep and Care for Their Own Cats and Their Attitudes to Stray and Feral Cats in Germany
Animal and Veterinary Sciences
Volume 7, Issue 1, January 2019, Pages: 24-28
Received: Feb. 21, 2019;
Accepted: Mar. 30, 2019;
Published: Apr. 18, 2019
Views 303 Downloads 41
Franziska Kuhne, Working Group for Applied Ethology and Animal Behaviour Therapy, Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, Justus-Liebig-University Giessen, Giessen, Germany
Kerstin Hoock, Working Group for Applied Ethology and Animal Behaviour Therapy, Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, Justus-Liebig-University Giessen, Giessen, Germany
Martin Kramer, Small Animal Clinic – Surgery, Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, Justus-Liebig-University Giessen, Giessen, Germany
Hansjoachim Hackbarth, Foundation Institute for Animal Welfare and Farm Animal Behaviour, University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, Hannover, Germany
Cats are among the most popular pets. A cat can be a feral cat, a stray cat, or a pet cat with variable degrees of free-roaming access to the outdoors. Free-roaming pet cats are the most significant source of cat overpopulation. Furthermore, if free-roaming cats do not wear identification, ownership is difficult to identify. Therefore, the aim of this study was to investigate 1) how pet cats are kept and cared for in Germany and 2) cat owners’ attitudes to stray and feral cats and compliance with fertility control. The survey was designed as a multiple-choice questionnaire covering information on cat ownership and cat owners’ attitudes to stray and feral cats and cat population management tools. Regression analyses were applied to determine whether the attitudes to stray and feral cats could be predicted from demographic parameters or one’s own cat keeping. Many cat owners know stray and feral cats in their vicinity, but this knowledge has no influence on the spaying and neutering, identification, and registration status of their own cats and on their own cat keeping, e.g., with or without free access to the outdoors. Cat owners are afraid that stray and feral cats may transmit diseases to pet cats. The demographic parameters of the cat owners, e.g., their gender, age, and education level, significantly influenced their attitudes to keeping and caring for their own cat and controlling the cat population. Cat owners would accept the costs of legal requirements to spay or to neuter and to identify their own cat, and the majority would not relinquish their own cat to save the costs. To address the responsibility of cat owners is of utmost importance. It is necessary to spay or neuter and to identify free-roaming pet cats to prevent them from getting lost or pregnant. Each cat population management program’s success depends on cat owners being involved and convinced of its necessity.
Cat Owners: How they Keep and Care for Their Own Cats and Their Attitudes to Stray and Feral Cats in Germany, Animal and Veterinary Sciences.
Vol. 7, No. 1,
2019, pp. 24-28.
Industrial Association of Pet Care Producers’ (The German Pet Market, https://www.ivh-online.de/en/the-association/facts-figures.html (2019, accessed February 17, 2019).
Ellis, S. L. H., I. Rodan, H. C. Carney, S. Heath, I. Rochlitz and L. Shearburn (2013) AAFP and ISFM feline environmental needs guidelines. Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery 15, 219–230.
Scott, K. C., J. K. Levy JK and P. C. Crawford (2002) Characteristics of free-roaming cats evaluated in a trap-neuter-return program. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 221, 1136–1138.
Centonze, L. A. and J. K. Levy (2002) Characteristics of free-roaming cats and their caretakers. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 220, 1627–1633.
Robertson, S. A. (2008) A review of feral cat control. Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery 10, 366–375.
Gosling, L., J. Stavisky and R. Dean (2013) What is a feral cat?: Variation in definitions may be associated with different management strategies. Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery 15, 759–764.
Benka, V. A. W. (2015) Ear tips to ear tags: Marking and identifying cats treated with non-surgical fertility control. Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery, 17, 808–815.
Wallace, J. L. and J. K. Levy (2006) Population characteristics of feral cats admitted to seven trap-neuter-return programs in the United States. Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery 8, 279–284.
Levy, J. K. and P. C. Crawford (2004) Humane strategies for controlling feral cat populations. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 225, 1354–1360.
Murray, J. K., J. R. Mosteller, J. M. Loberg, M. Andersson and V. A. W. Benka (2015) Methods of fertility control in cats: Owner, breeder and veterinarian behavior and attitudes. Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery 17, 790–799.
Briggs, J. (2015) Non-surgical fertility control: Current and future options for cat health and welfare. Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery 17, 740–741.
Rhodes, L. (2017) New approaches to non-surgical sterilization for dogs and cats: Opportunities and challenges. Reproduction in Domestic Animals 52 Suppl 2, 327–331.
Johnston, S. and L. Rhodes (2015) No surgery required: The future of feline sterilization: An overview of the Michelson Prize & Grants in Reproductive Biology. Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery 17, 777–782.
Boone, J. D. (2015) Better trap-neuter-return for free-roaming cats: Using models and monitoring to improve population management. Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery 17, 800–807.
Little, S. (2011) Feline reproduction: Problems and clinical challenges. Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery 13, 508–515.
Strickler, B. L. and E. A. Shull (2014) An owner survey of toys, activities, and behavior problems in indoor cats. Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research 9, 207–214.
Spehar, D. D. and P. J. Wolf (2018) The Impact of an Integrated Program of Return-to-Field and Targeted Trap-Neuter-Return on Feline Intake and Euthanasia at a Municipal Animal Shelter. Animals 8, 55.
BMELF. German Animal Welfare Act: TierSchG (Tierschutzgesetz), 2017.
Levy, J. K., D. W. Gale and L. A. Gale (2003) Evaluation of the effect of a long-term trap-neuter-return and adoption program on a free-roaming cat population. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 222, 42–46.
Neville, P. F. and J. Remfry (1984) Effect of neutering on two groups of feral cats. Veterinary Record 114, 447–450.
Kutzler, M. and A. Wood (2006) Non-surgical methods of contraception and sterilization. Theriogenology 66, 514–525.
Foley, P., J. E. Folet, J. K. Levy and T. Paik (2005) Analysis of the impact of trap-neuter-return programs on populations of feral cats. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 227, 1775–1781.
Kalz, B (2001) Populationsbiologie, Raumnutzung und Verhalten verwildeter Hauskatzen und der Effekt von Maßnahmen zur Reproduktionskontrolle Doctoral Thesis, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, doi: 10.18452/14587.
Deutscher Tierschutzbund. Katzenschutz-Kampagne: Die Straße ist grausam. Kastration harmlos., https://www.tierschutzbund.de/aktion/kampagnen/heimtiere/katzenschutz-kampagne/ (2016, accessed September 3, 2018).
Hart, B. L. (1991) Effects of neutering and spaying on the behaviour of dogs and cats: Questions and answers about practical concerns. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 198, 1204–1205.
Spain, C. V., J. M. Scarlett and S. M. Cully (2002) When to neuter dogs and cats: a survey of New York state veterinarians’ practices and beliefs. Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association 38, 482–488.
Barry, K. J. and S. L. Crowell-Davis (1999) Gender differences in the social behavior of the neutered indoor-only domestic cat. Applied animal behaviour science 64, 193–211.