A survey of Brisbane residents was undertaken to investigate community attitudes toward urban stray cats and their management. Surveys were distributed to 84 medical and dental practices across Brisbane City, and were completed by 305 patients and staff. Practices were targeted to achieve a sample of respondents from a representative distribution of socioeconomic backgrounds. After being informed about trap, neuter, and return (TNR) programs for management of urban stray cats, most respondents (79%), chose TNR as their preferred management strategy, while a lesser proportion (18%) expressed a preference to continue the current Brisbane City Council lethal control program (catching and culling ∼1,000 cats annually), and 3.4% selected to leave the cats alone. Differences in beliefs and attitudes toward urban stray cats as a function of demographic variables were investigated. Statistical analyses indicated that respondents who were male, older, non-cat owners, those who believed euthanasia of stray cats was humane, and that urban stray cats spread disease to humans were significantly more likely to express a preference for lethal control, as opposed to non-lethal population management. Based on these findings, we recommend that information is disseminated to mitigate these concerns or negative beliefs, where warranted. Ultimately, findings from this study demonstrate that current Queensland legislation does not reflect public views and opinions on stray cat management and should be reviewed. Formal research evaluating the efficacy of TNR programs for urban stray cats in Australia would be in the public interest.
|Publication Title||Frontiers in Veterinary Science|
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