UK: Unwanted kittens and misinformed owners
Add to the recent info about UK cats. The info below was highlighted for the U.S. in the 1998 book Save Our Strays by Bob Christiansen where only recently have national and larger local animal and cat organizations begun to address these long-known differing issues of cats from dogs.
Unwanted kittens and misinformed owners
Welsh, C. P., Gruffydd-Jones, T. J., Roberts, M. A., & Murray, J. K. (2013). Poor owner knowledge of feline reproduction contributes to the high proportion of accidental litters born to UK pet cats. Veterinary Record, vetrec-2013.
Veterinary Record doi:10.1136/vr.101909Press release Unwanted kittens and misinformed owners
Poor owner knowledge of feline reproduction contributes to the high proportion of accidental litters born to UK pet cats
C. P. Welsh, BVSc(Hons), MRCVS 1,
T. J. Gruffydd-Jones, BVetMed, PhD, DipECVIM-CA, MRCVS 1,
M. A. Roberts, BVM&S, MRCVS 2 and
J. K. Murray, BSc(Econ), MSc, PhD 1
+ Author Affiliations
1 University of Bristol School of Veterinary Sciences, Langford House, Langford, Somerset BS40 5DU, UK
2 Cats Protection, National Cat Centre, Chelwood Gate, Haywards Heath, Sussex RH17 7TT
‘Accidental’ litters contribute to population growth and the number of unwanted animals entering animal welfare organisations. Assessing the problem's extent and determining risk factors enables identification of education targets. Data were obtained from 715 cat-owning households in a cross-sectional telephone survey. Demographic and lifestyle factors were assessed for their association with accidental litters and with owner knowledge of cat reproduction. A total of 128 litters were reported from 552 female cats, and the proportion of accidental litters reported by owners was 80 per cent. Multivariable analysis identified that respondents were more likely to report an accidental litter of kittens if they believed a female cat should have a litter prior to being neutered, if they had more than one cat and if they rented rather than owned their home. Misconceptions relating to cat reproduction were common. The opinion that the youngest age a cat could get pregnant was five months of age (or older) was held by 83.5 per cent of cat-owning respondents, with over a quarter (26.4 per cent; 174/659) believing a queen is unable to conceive until at least a year of age. Almost half the respondents (49.0 per cent; 334/682) believed a female cat should have a litter before being neutered or were not sure; 38.8 per cent (264/681) thought that un-neutered, related cats would not mate or were not sure. This study suggests that improving cat-owner knowledge of the reproductive capacity of cats is likely to have a significant impact on the numbers of accidental litters born.
Accepted September 30, 2013.
Published Online First 16 December 2013
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* Feral Cat Blog! keyword early spay
* my Early spay neuter webpage which needs updating! Kustritz has another paper out Pros, Cons, and Techniques of Pediatric Neutering.