Crawford, C., Rand, J., Rohlf, V. et al. 2023. Solutions-based approach to urban cat management—Case studies of a One Welfare approach to urban cat management. Animals 13(21), 3423.

Urban free-roaming cats create concern about their impacts on wildlife and human health, leading to the use of trap–adopt–kill methods to manage these populations. This method is ineffective at decreasing the free-roaming cat population and has a negative impact on cat caregivers’ well-being. Using semi-structured interviews, this study explored the relationship that semi-owners (people who feed cats but do not perceive ownership) and owners of multiple cats have with the cats they care for, and the social and psychological impacts of an alternative assistive-centered approach to urban cat management. This approach to semi-owned and owned cats provided free sterilization and preventative healthcare. Our findings demonstrate that the caregivers had a strong emotional bond with the cats they cared for. The caregivers also experienced a positive impact on their quality of life, and indicated an improvement in the cats’ welfare after having the cats sterilized through this program. Additionally, the cat caregivers indicated that they had a negative view of agencies, such as the municipal council. It is recommended that an assistive-centered approach to urban cat management be prioritized by local councils and welfare agencies to improve caregivers’ quality of life and psychological well-being, whilst also improving cat welfare. The implementation of this assistive-centered management approach could improve the relationship between communities and the agencies involved, leading to the continuous reporting of free-roaming cats for sterilization. This assistive-centered approach has the potential to reduce the free-roaming cat population, their effects on wildlife, nuisance complaints, and council impoundments, and is aligned with the One Welfare philosophy.

Animal Type