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Cats in the Australian environment: what’s your purr-spective?
journal contributionposted on 2018-01-01, 00:00 authored by M Travaglia, Kelly MillerKelly Miller
Predation by cats is one of the largest threats to land-based Australian mammals. Although cat control programs are controversial, an understanding of community attitudes can help shape outreach programs designed to raise awareness and increase public support for management goals. This study examined community values towards cats in Australia, knowledge of impacts and attitudes towards management. A mixed-mode survey was used to gather information from residents in Greater Melbourne (postal surveys, n = 145, 15.7 per cent response rate; telephone interviews, n = 61, 43 per cent response rate). The level of support for lethal management of feral cats was, in general, high as was agreement with traditional domestic cat regulations such as compulsory de-sexing, micro chipping and night curfews. Respondents were less certain about the impacts of domestic cats on wildlife and as a result showed resistance towards the introduction of 24-hour cat curfews and lethal control of roaming domestic cats. There was overwhelming support for governments introducing ‘cat free’ zones in areas with high conservation value. This research indicates strong support for feral cat management in Australia but urges further education around the need for stricter domestic cat regulations.