A recent study by the University of Exeter, UK has found that there are 5 types of cat owners. The study “Cats, Cat Owners and Wildlife” focuses on cat owners’ attitudes to their cats roaming and hunting. The study included 56 cat owners, some from rural parts of the UK (mostly in south-west England) and some from urban areas (Bristol and Manchester). The paper, published in the journal Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, is entitled: “Diverse perspectives of cat owners indicate barriers to and opportunities for managing cat predation of wildlife.”
Five Types of Cat Owners
- Conscientious caretakers-concerned about cats’ impact on nature and the environment.
- Freedom defenders-oppose restrictions to cat behavior.
- Concerned protectors-focus on cat safety.
- Tolerant guardians-didn’t like their cats hunting but accepted it as the cat’s natural instinct.
- Laissez-faire landlords-unaware of any issues surrounding their cats roaming and hunting.
There’s always been a conflict between people wishing for the freedom and independence of their cats versus those who focus on wildlife conservation. So, the study aimed to identify ways owners could manage their cats so the cats benefit as well as reducing the killing of wildlife.
“Although we found a range of views, most UK cat owners valued outdoor access for their cats and opposed the idea of keeping them inside to prevent hunting,” said lead researcher Dr. Sarah Crowley, of the University of Exeter’s Environment and Sustainability Institute in Cornwall.
Unfortunately, keeping cats indoors, which is both beneficial for cats’ safety and wildlife conservation is unlikely to find support in the UK the study concluded.
How to Reduce Wildlife Loss
- Fit cats with brightly colored “BirdsBeSafe” collars and/or collars with bells.
- Keep cats inside.
“This latest research we have funded reveals the incredibly diverse perspectives amongst cat owners in regard to their pets’ hunting behaviour,” said Tom Streeter, Chairman of SongBird Survival.
“If nature is to ‘win’ and endangered species thrive, a pragmatic approach is needed whereby cat owners’ views are considered as part of wider conservation strategies.”