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Global Strategies for Population Management of Domestic Cats (Felis catus): A Systematic Review to Inform Best Practice Management for Remote Indigenous Communities in Australia

1
AMRRIC—Animal Management in Rural and Remote Indigenous Communities, Winnellie, NT 0820, Australia
2
School of Environmental and Rural Science, University of New England, Armidale NSW 2353, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Animals 2020, 10(4), 663; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10040663
Received: 6 March 2020 / Revised: 6 April 2020 / Accepted: 9 April 2020 / Published: 11 April 2020
(This article belongs to the Section Companion Animals)
A systematic review process was used to identify the current global cat population management practices for owned, free-roaming cat populations, particularly those suited to remote Indigenous communities in Australia. Based on this review, a combination of three methods is recommended. The first method, Surgical Sterilisation (SS), requires owners to take their socialised cats to a facility for surgical sterilisation and then take them home. The second method, Trap-Neuter-Release (TNR) traps, neuters (sterilises) and returns healthy owned cats, which are unsocialised to the point where trapping is necessary, to their homes, and the third method, Trap-Remove (TR), traps and removes unwanted social cats via adoption and unhealthy cats via euthanasia. Conducting these three methods together over a long-term period appears to be consistent with current global best practice for humane and ethical management of cat populations in these communities.
Pet domestic cat (Felis catus) populations are increasing all around the world, resulting in an increase in contact with humans and wildlife, potentially spreading zoonotic diseases and predating on wildlife. With the recently identified rise in cat populations in remote Indigenous communities in Australia, culturally appropriate cat population management strategies are required. A systematic review process was conducted to review the current global cat population management practices that are suitable for owned, free-roaming cat populations in these communities. Eight articles on in-situ field cat populations and five studies simulating computer modelled cat populations reported results of 66 population management interventions. Surgical Sterilisation (SS) was used in all socialised owned cat articles. The trap–neuter–release (TNR) method was used most frequently on unsocialised cats and gained the best results when the trap–remove (TR) method was used concurrently to adopt out unwanted social cats and euthanise ill or injured cats. The results of this review suggest that long-term TNR/SS programs supplemented with TR provide the current most ethically sound best practice, humane method of managing cat populations in remote Australian Indigenous communities. It is also recognised that no one plan will fit all, and that further research on the micro-level techniques used to deploy both TNR and TR needs to occur, and that culturally appropriate community consultation during all processes is vital in achieving a sustainable management program. View Full-Text
Keywords: domestic cat; Felis catus; population management; indigenous community; aboriginal community; culturally appropriate domestic cat; Felis catus; population management; indigenous community; aboriginal community; culturally appropriate
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MDPI and ACS Style

Kennedy, B.P.A.; Cumming, B.; Brown, W.Y. Global Strategies for Population Management of Domestic Cats (Felis catus): A Systematic Review to Inform Best Practice Management for Remote Indigenous Communities in Australia. Animals 2020, 10, 663. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10040663

AMA Style

Kennedy BPA, Cumming B, Brown WY. Global Strategies for Population Management of Domestic Cats (Felis catus): A Systematic Review to Inform Best Practice Management for Remote Indigenous Communities in Australia. Animals. 2020; 10(4):663. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10040663

Chicago/Turabian Style

Kennedy, Brooke P.A., Bonny Cumming, and Wendy Y. Brown. 2020. "Global Strategies for Population Management of Domestic Cats (Felis catus): A Systematic Review to Inform Best Practice Management for Remote Indigenous Communities in Australia" Animals 10, no. 4: 663. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10040663

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