The overpopulation of free-roaming domestic cats (Felis catus
) is fuelled by uncontrolled breeding of both owned and unowned populations and has been identified as a particular problem in socio-economically deprived areas. Consequently, for sustainable change, it is recommended that Trap-Neuter-Return activities are linked with community engagement to encourage positive behaviours towards cats. This paper assesses the acceptability and impact of a community-partnership program called “Bulwell Cat Watch” (BCW), set-up to control cat numbers in Bulwell, UK. The data are based on a (1) cross-sectional survey (n
= 478); (2) pre-post analysis (n
= 21); and (3) targeted survey of people known to engage with BCW (n
= 34). We found significant associations between awareness of BCW and an increased likelihood of reporting unowned cats now compared to previous years. Respondents reported increased self-efficacy and confidence to help cats. Our pre-post study corroborated these findings with residents significantly more likely to report unowned cats compared to when surveyed pre-BCW. An indirect benefit to residents engaged with the program was the positive impact on confidence and self-esteem. Taken in combination these results show community partnerships can effectively engage often hard-to-reach populations and foster sustainable management by overcoming barriers to helping cats, alongside the potential for wider community benefits.
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