London -- Long-term confinement is not a humane option for the control of feral and stray or abandoned cat populations, according to new guidelines issued by the International Society of Feline Medicine (ISFM) in its Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery published by SAGE. According to the society, which is the veterinary division of the charity International Cat Care, culling to control cat populations is also rarely effective or acceptable, whereas trap–neuter–return programmes and rehoming (in appropriate cases) can offer effective and humane solutions, but need to be properly managed and targeted.
The domestic cat (Felis catus) has successfully developed to occupy many different environments and current estimates suggest that we coexist with about 272 million cats globally.1,2 Cats adopt a spectrum of lifestyles ranging from free-living ferals, with little or no human contact, through to street and community cats, and those kept as pets in homes where they are usually dependent on human care.
Because cats are adaptable and often reproduce efficiently, populations can grow to a point where interventions are required. Overpopulation can result in unnecessary suffering, particularly if the cats are perceived as a nuisance to humans. In developing its guidelines, ISFM looked realistically at the plethora of situations where population control may be required and provided practical, considered, objective solutions that are in the best interests of individuals and groups of cats.
The guidelines indicate that:
For domestic cats:
For a previously owned stray or abandoned cats:
The 'ISFM Guidelines on Population Management and Welfare of Unowned Domestic Cats (Felis catus)' can be found in the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery 2013, Volume 15, pages 811-817. These can be downloaded freely from: http://jfm.sagepub.com/content/15/9/811.full.pdf+html
1 Batson A. Global companion animal ownership and trade: project summary, June 2008. World Society for the Protection of Animals, 2008.
2 What is a feral cat? Variation in definitions may be associated with different management strategies? J Feline Med Surg 2013; 15: 759-764.
For further details contact Karen Bessant, press officer at iCatCare HQ, on 01747 871 872, or via firstname.lastname@example.org
International Cat Care vision
All cats, owned and unowned, are treated with care, compassion and understanding.
International Cat Care mission
To engage, educate and empower people throughout the world to improve the health and welfare of cats by sharing advice, training and passion.
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