Les hommes ont oublié cette vérité. Mais tu ne dois pas l'oublier, dit le renard. Tu deviens responsable pour toujours de ce que tu as apprivoisé.
Le Petit Prince, chap. 21

Friday, 22 February 2013

Cats: perceptions and misconceptions

Perry, G. (1999). Cats–perceptions and misconceptions: two recent studies about cats and how people see them. In Proceedings of the 8th National Conference on Urban Animal Management in Australia, Gold Coast, Queensland.

 Current figures suggest that cat ownership in Australia is declining, yet cats, properly managed, make ideal pets for those living in high density housing and/or whose lifestyles require that their pets spend long periods alone. State governments and local authorities are increasingly requiring that owners control their cats and that animal management staff enforce these regulations.

These studies suggest that the majority of cat owners are responsible. Once they have adopted a cat, usually a ‘moggie’, they have their cat neutered, but sometimes not until it has had a litter. While many of their cats hunt, as many do not and few hunt often, so this problem is probably overemphasised by non-owners. Contrary to popular belief, they more often hunt lizards than birds.

With the emphasis on the identification of owned cats, it is important to note the reasons given for identifying or not. Any education program to raise awareness of the importance of identification of cats should emphasise the problems which could occur for an unidentified cat and the value of microchipping as an identification tool. All companion animals cause community problems — dogs bark, parrots screech — but both provide companionship whose value outweighs the problems they cause. Cats are particularly misunderstood and often cat owners feel guilt for the sins of their much loved couch potato’s feral counterpart. It is important that the benefits of responsible cat ownership be acknowledged and that strategies are put in place to educate owners on the value of early desexing, confinement and correct identification.

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