Can Responsible Ownership Practices Influence Hunting Behavior of Owned Cats?: Results from a Survey of Cat Owners in Chile
Departamento de Ciencias Animales, Facultad de Agronomía e Ingeniería Forestal, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago 8940000, Chile
Fundación Ciencia Ciudadana, Providencia, Santiago 7500000, Chile
Departamento de Medicina Preventiva Animal, Facultad de Ciencias Veterinarias y Pecuarias. Universidad de Chile, Santiago 8820808, Chile
Facultad de Ciencias Agropecuarias, Universidad Pedro de Valdivia, Santiago 7500908, Chile
Instituto de Ciencia Animal, Facultad de Ciencias Veterinarias, Universidad Austral de Chile, Isla Teja, Valdivia 5090000, Chile
Departamento de Fomento de la Producción Animal, Facultad de Ciencias Veterinarias y Pecuarias, Universidad de Chile, Santa Rosa 11735, La Pintana, Santiago 8820808, Chile
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 6 August 2019 / Revised: 22 September 2019 / Accepted: 27 September 2019 / Published: 29 September 2019
Cats are popular pets, with increases in both the number of households that have cats and the number of cats per household. Cats can also have great negative impacts on wildlife. In Chile, the potential influence of owned cats on wildlife has not been studied, which is why the aim of this study was to investigate the number and type of prey that cats bring home and its relationship with responsible ownership practices. For this, we sent a questionnaire to pet owners across the country. The survey included questions about the type of household and pets, if cats had brought prey back home, and responsible ownership practices. The results showed that from 5216 respondents, 94.3% had a pet; from these, 49.9% had at least one cat. There were on average 2.2 cats per household, and 84.1% of owners reported that their cats had brought back prey. Birds and mammals were the most common type of prey, followed by insects. The lack of responsible ownership practices such as not being registered, not having a litter box, having free access to the outdoors, or living in a house with a garden and providing a hiding place increased the probability of cats bringing back home prey.