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Article

Beloved Whiskers: Management Type, Care Practices and Connections to Welfare in Domestic Cats

1
Núcleo de Estudos em Etologia e Bem-estar Animal, Departamento de Zoologia, Universidade Federal de Juiz de Fora, Juiz de Fora 36036-900, Brazil
2
Department of Production Animal Health, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB T2N 1N4, Canada
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Animals 2020, 10(12), 2308; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10122308
Received: 21 October 2020 / Revised: 30 November 2020 / Accepted: 3 December 2020 / Published: 5 December 2020
Little is known about the differences between indoor and outdoor cat management practices. Thus, our study investigated whether Brazilian cat owners’ management types were related to other cat care practices, the quality of human-animal interactions and cat welfare. We used social networks to distribute an online survey to cat owners. This survey included questions regarding owners’ sociodemographic data, type of management applied, cat care practices, and cat health and behavioral problems, as possible consequences of the management type. A total of 16,302 cat owners responded. Most (74.78%) owners reported providing indoor management for their cats; this corresponded to owners who lived in apartments and provided more cat care practices and interactions with their pets. Outdoor management was related to cats residing in farms or houses, sleeping outdoors, and having less interaction with their owners. We concluded that owners practicing indoor management were more likely to be closer to their cats than those reporting outdoor management, suggesting that the former may have more advantages related to closer human-animal relationships. It was noted, however, that indoor management was associated with obesity and owner-reported behavioral problems.
The quality of cat care practices depends in part on the type of management applied, which either positively or negatively impacts cat welfare. This study investigated whether the type of cat management (indoor vs. outdoor) was related to other cat care practices adopted by cat owners, associated with the quality of human-cat relationships and cat welfare. An online survey was distributed via social networks. Descriptive statistics, categorical Principal Component Analysis, Fisher’s Exact test and Chi-square test in contingency table were applied. A total of 16,302 cat owners returned the survey. Most Brazilian owners reported indoor management of their cats; this was related to owners living in apartments, more frequent use of cat care practices, and more interactions with their pets. Outdoor management was related to cats living in houses or farms, sleeping outdoors or around the neighborhood, and owners had fewer interaction with their pets. In conclusion, owners practicing indoor management seemed to be closer to their cats than owners reporting outdoor management. However, obesity and owner-reported behavioral problems were associated with indoor management. View Full-Text
Keywords: behavioral problems; cat owners; feline welfare; indoor; outdoor behavioral problems; cat owners; feline welfare; indoor; outdoor
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MDPI and ACS Style

Machado, D.d.S.; Gonçalves, L.d.S.; Vicentini, R.R.; Ceballos, M.C.; Sant’Anna, A.C. Beloved Whiskers: Management Type, Care Practices and Connections to Welfare in Domestic Cats. Animals 2020, 10, 2308. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10122308

AMA Style

Machado DdS, Gonçalves LdS, Vicentini RR, Ceballos MC, Sant’Anna AC. Beloved Whiskers: Management Type, Care Practices and Connections to Welfare in Domestic Cats. Animals. 2020; 10(12):2308. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10122308

Chicago/Turabian Style

Machado, Daiana de Souza, Luana da Silva Gonçalves, Rogério Ribeiro Vicentini, Maria Camila Ceballos, and Aline Cristina Sant’Anna. 2020. "Beloved Whiskers: Management Type, Care Practices and Connections to Welfare in Domestic Cats" Animals 10, no. 12: 2308. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10122308

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