Evergreen State College

Project Description

Urban Wildlife Management: Free-roaming Cats in an Urban Neighborhood of Olympia, WA Human Perspectives, Knowledge, and Attitudes

Project Abstract

A major issue within urban wildlife management is how companion animals or pets impact wildlife populations. Felis catus, or more commonly house cats, were domesticated in Egypt around 4,000 years ago. Since that time, they have traveled the world as both pet and feral animals. In 2007, it was estimated there were 82 million pet cats and at least an equal number of feral cats in the United States. Cats prey on a wide variety of animals including: small mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles, and invertebrates. Research has shown even well fed free-roaming cats prey on wildlife. In urban areas, the high density and predation rates of free-roaming cats combine with lower habitat quality and quantity to put tremendous stress on wildlife populations. Cat predation is of particular concern in areas containing endangered species of small mammals and ground-nesting birds. Management of free-roaming cats is complicated by their relationship with humans. This relationship often affords them priority consideration over wildlife, as is evident by the social acceptability of cats� unrestricted access to the outdoors and the rise of programs to feed and care for feral cats. In an attempt to further understand cats� relationship with humans, a survey will be administered to residents of an urban neighborhood in Olympia, WA. This survey will look for trends in residents� perspectives, knowledge, and attitudes toward free-roaming cats based on factors such as age, education, and experience. Specifically, it is hypothesized that education and issue knowledge levels will have little or no impact on cats� access to the outdoors, but that past experience will. It is also hypothesized that residents� perception of a human health threat will be a stronger indicator of which methods of control are considered acceptable than perceived impact on wildlife. It is the goal of this survey to provide valuable information for management, educational programs, and to serve as a tool for future research.

Surveys released for this project:
Eastside Neighborhood Cat Survey 37
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This Project Sponsored by: QuestionPro - Web Survey Software
See Research Sponsorship for more information.