Studying Cats—and Those Who Care for Them
Recent studies look at practices regarding identification and feral identification procedures
Cats: They’re everywhere. Curled up happily in homes, dodging cars on the streets, eking out an existence in managed feral colonies, and filling up shelters around the country. Even in areas where adoptable dogs fly out the doors of animal shelters—and in some cases, rarely enter them—cat numbers are still a challenge for people trying to figure out how to reduce their overpopulation and the resulting suffering and euthanasia.
Two recent studies examined issues related to the survival of cats, in the regular world and in shelters. One group of researchers looked at the methods used by shelters and rescues to distinguish feral cats from frightened cats; the other sought to test how many among a group of owned cats could successfully and safely wear collars for six months.
Both studies are worth reading in their entirety, especially by those working on feline issues. Their findings are illuminating, and the results from the first survey—which indicate a vast disparity in the methods used to separate feral cats from those who are simply freaked-out—emphasize the need for education on the second. Persuading more cat owners to collar and tag their kitties has the potential to reduce the number of cats who end up being treated as ferals due to fearfulness and lack of identification.