Cat Demographics & Impact on Wildlife in the USA, the UK, Australia and New Zealand: Facts and Values

In: Journal of Applied Animal Ethics Research
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  • 1 President, WellBeing International, Potomac, MD 20854, USA
  • 2 Humane Society International, Washington, DC 20037, USA
  • 3 Center for Leadership in Global Sustainability, Virginia Tech, VA 22203, USA

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Abstract

The estimated populations of domestic cats in the USA, whether pets, stray or feral, vary widely and have changed significantly over the past forty to fifty years. Accurate estimates of these populations are necessary to determine appropriate policy responses to calls to control domestic cats and to determine the impact of domestic cats on wildlife populations. Domestic cat predation on wild animals is being hotly debated in Australia, New Zealand and the USA (but much less so in the UK). The paper explores some of the different policy approaches being promoted in each country and examines the status of cats in each country. For example, although there is strong movement to control cat predation in New Zealand, the country also has the highest relative (to humans) population of pet cats in the world, despite the vulnerability of native animals to predation by introduced carnivores.

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