The free-roaming cat population in Japan is increasing, and these cats are regarded as a tourism resource in some areas; however, their welfare status is unknown. Thus, this study assessed the welfare status of free-roaming cats in the old town of Onomichi City, Hiroshima, Japan. Route censuses were conducted 8 times per month for 3 years to estimate cat populations in the uptown and downtown areas of Onomichi. In the 1st year, we found 124 cats and 80 cats in the uptown and downtown areas, respectively. Approximately half the cats in each area were in poor physical condition. By the 3rd year, 99 of the 124 uptown cats and 66 of the 80 downtown cats had disappeared; moreover, uptown cats in poor physical condition disappeared in significantly greater numbers than those in good condition. It was presumed most missing cats died from illness or injury as opposed to having migrated elsewhere. This study suggests the welfare status of free-roaming cats in Onomichi is poor, and organized management of these cats is a matter of great urgency to improve their status.
|Publication Title||Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science|
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