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Public support for unowned cats and TNR: Ohio survey results


Study

“Attitudes toward and perceptions of free-roaming cats among individuals living in Ohio,” published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association,2008. PDF available online here.


Overview

A 2007 survey of Ohio residents examined attitudes about, and interactions with, free-roaming cats in their neighborhoods. Among the results presented: 26% of respondents had fed free-roaming cats in the past year, and 77% expressed support for trap-neuter-return (TNR) programs to manage their community’s unowned cat population.


Key points

This survey of 703 Ohio households was conducted by telephone during early 2007 [1]. Of these households, 217 (31%) owned at least one pet cat and 293 (42%) owned at least one pet dog, roughly comparable to national pet ownership statistics published by the American Pet Products Association (APPA) in 2019 [2].


Resident experience with community cats

Among respondents, 184 (26%) reported that they had fed free-roaming cats (i.e., unowned outdoor cats) at least once during the previous year, nearly twice the 14% rate observed by APPA (likely due to differences in question wording) [2]. Forty-two of these 184 respondents (23%) had taken an unowned cat to a veterinarian, and 43 (23%) reported seeing at least one litter born to stray or feral cats over the same period [1].


Resident support for trap-neuter-return (TNR)

Support for TNR was strong among participants, with 77% of respondents agreeing (64%) or strongly agreeing (13%) that such programs are “a good way to manage free-roaming cats.” These results are similar to those from national public opinion surveys on the topic [3].

Support for TNR was strong among participants, with 77% agreeing that such programs are “a good way to manage free-roaming cats.”

Forty-five percent of respondents agreed (38%) or strongly agreed (7%) with the statement, “Local governments should be responsible for controlling free-roaming cats,” while 48% agreed (42%) or strongly agreed (6%) with the statement, “I support using tax dollars to support low-cost spay-neuter programs for cats” [1].

See related Issue Brief: Managing stray cats with TNR: Public opinion and policy concerns

References

  1. Lord, L.K. Attitudes toward and perceptions of free-roaming cats among individuals living in Ohio. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 2008, 232, 1159–1167.

  2. APPA 2019-2020 APPA National Pet Owners Survey; American Pet Products Association: Stamford, CT, 2019.

  3. Wolf, P.J.; Schaffner, J.E. The Road to TNR: Examining Trap-Neuter-Return Through the Lens of Our Evolving Ethics. Frontiers in Veterinary Science 2019, 5, 341.

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