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

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Pet cat management practices among owners

Howell, T. J., Mornement, K., & Bennett, P. C. (2015). Pet cat management practices among a representative sample of owners in Victoria, Australia. Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research.

Although cats are commonly kept as pets, the extent to which they experience optimal welfare is not well researched. Owner management practices are likely to affect the welfare outcomes of pet cats. The aim of this study was to determine different ways in which pet cat owners attempt to meet their cat's environmental, diet and exercise, behavioral, social, and health needs, using a representative sample of owners in Victoria, Australia. A sample of 488 Victorian pet cat owners (40.0% male), representing 611,000 households, completed an online survey detailing their cat management practices. Descriptive data were used to understand trends in pet keeping practices, and correlations established relationships between demographic variables and pet practices. Our results suggest that Victorians are mostly effectively managing their pet cats, but some common practices could adversely affect pet cat welfare. Nearly half (49%) of all owners reported that their cat roams freely outdoors, which could result in injuries to the cat. Furthermore, 39% of owners indicated that their cat is moderately supervised, not very well supervised, or not supervised at all, during interactions with children. This could result in injuries to the cat through rough play, or to the child through scratches. Female owners were more likely than male owners to rate highly on statements regarding their ability to care for their cat and their satisfaction with the cat's behavior. They also reported a lower frequency of behavioral problems, and a more recent check and/or treatment for parasites. Older owners were less likely than younger owners to have lost a pet cat that they could not find, or to leave their cat without human company for long periods. However, they were more likely to report a high frequency of behavioral problems in their cat than young owners. These data could be used to compare changing practices over time, and help determine the effectiveness, or otherwise, of educational campaigns targeted at improving pet cat welfare.

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