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Vatsöy, Matilda, 2024. Problematiken med frigående katter utomhus. First cycle, G2E. Uppsala: SLU, Applied Animal Science and Welfare



Cats have been partially or fully kept outside for the whole duration of their domesticated lifetime, partially because of their hunting skills. This has in turn created a society in which outdoor stay for cats is socially acceptable. Because of this, there is a global overpopulation of stray cats, which in combination with owned outdoor cats create a large amount of invasive mammal predators. The aim of this literature study was to investigate what welfare issues, caused by outdoor stay, that free roaming cats (outdoor and stray cats) are affected by. It also aims to investigate what can be done to decrease the found welfare issues. Finally, it focuses on finding out in what ways free roaming cats impact ecosystems. The method employed for finding these answers consisted of searching for scientifically reviewed articles using relevant words through Primo.
The results show that there is a prevalent amount of welfare issues for cats caused by outdoor stay. A considerable part of those stem from increased risk of injury, disease and parasitic infestation. Increased risk of injury is attributed to multiple factors, with one example being traffic. Cats have also been proven to perform more risk-taking behaviors when outdoors, which further increases the risk of injury. Regarding disease and parasites, free roaming cats have an increased risk of getting infected with both because of increased exposure to them. Weather is yet another welfare impeding issue that indoor cats do not have to deal with.
Regarding methods for decreasing these welfare issues a few were found. One regularly used is the TNR method (trap, neuter, return). In which stray cats are systematically sterilized to reduce stray cat populations. TNR is most effective when combined with efforts to socialize the stray cats, whilst also adopting out when possible and euthanizing ill or injured cats. Utilizing GPS trackers on outdoor cats’ collars can also help to decrease their welfare issues. Additional methods that improve free roaming cat welfare is castration, vaccination and marking (preferably chip, but tattoos are also used) of every cat. The final method is controlling or completely removing outdoor access for outdoor cats and putting stray cats in homes. By doing this, all welfare issues related to outdoor access are automatically decreased or all together removed. Indoor cats can suffer from other types of welfare issues, which should be considered when deciding on how to house a cat.
Lastly, cats’ impact on ecosystems were found to be high and noteworthy. There are 430 species threatened by cats, of which 63 are already extinct. They have the biggest impact on small mammals, birds, and reptiles. Cats also spread disease and parasites to wildlife and breed with certain wild feline species, causing hybridization. The species populations that have been negatively affected the most by cats live in ecosystems that exist on small, isolated islands, which have sensitive ecosystems, making them particularly threatened by invasive species.

Main title:Problematiken med frigående katter utomhus
Authors:Vatsöy, Matilda
Supervisor:Lindqvist, Christina and Andersson, Maria
Examiner:Lundin, Lisa
Volume/Sequential designation:UNSPECIFIED
Year of Publication:2024
Level and depth descriptor:First cycle, G2E
Student's programme affiliation:VK005 Ethology and Animal Welfare - Bachelor's Programme, 180.0hp
Supervising department:(VH) > Applied Animal Science and Welfare
Keywords:utekatt, hemlös katt, frigående, välfärdsproblem, ekosystem
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Deposited On:04 Jul 2024 08:50
Metadata Last Modified:05 Jul 2024 01:16

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