Cat owners could fall in one of five categories that range from "concerned protector," to "freedom defender", that's according to a team of researchers from the University of Exeter.
Their project, Cats, Cat Owners and Wildlife, aims to find out the different ways owners manage their cats while at the same time looking at ways to reduce the killing of wildlife. It categorised our feline friends by their hunting and roaming behaviours and the impact their owner's supervision had on the way cats interact with their environment.
Which type of cat owner are you?
- Conscientious Caretakers: Recognise they have a responsibility to understand their cat's impact on wildlife.
- Freedom Defenders: Opposed to any restrictions placed on their cat's activities.
- Concerned Protectors: Put the safety and protection of their cat as the number one priority.
- Tolerant Guardians: While these owners may not like their cat hunting wildlife, they will, however, tolerate it.
- Laissez-faire Landlords: Mostly unaware of any issues around cats hunting.
Feline freedom or wildlife protection?
Cat owners from both rural and urban areas admitted to viewing the dead animals their felines bring home to them as being an unpleasant reminder of their beloved pet's wilder side. However, there are also strong arguments between prioritising cat's needs and welfare and wildlife conservation.
Most cat owners see their pets having outdoor access as essential and are against the idea of keeping their felines inside to stop them hunting, despite the outside risks posed to moggies from road accidents and disease. Not to mention the risk posed to the small animals a cat will come across on their travels.
The researchers hope that their findings encourage people to think about what type of cat owner they are and the responsibilities they have to both their moggy and to their local wildlife.