Public opinions on stray cat population management

  • Key finding:

    The study aimed to understand citizen attitudes towards stray cat control options. Audience segmentation, in order to enable different citizen groups to be engaged in the stray cat management policy, is important for the success of the interventions. A web-based survey was conducted among Flemish citizens in order to examine differences in acceptance of seven management scenarios: household cat neutering with financial support for the owner, household cat neutering without financial support for the owner, encouraging responsible household cat ownership, trapping stray cats and taking them to a shelter, trapping and neutering stray cats for release into a managed “cat colony” (composed of so called “community cats”), trapping and killing of stray cats, and undertaking no action. Results showed that fostering responsible household cat ownership (89.9%) and conversion of stray cats to “community cats” (76.3%) were most supported by respondents. Least supported were the killing of stray cats (7.7%) and undertaking no action (3.3%). The demographic analyses revealed that, for the acceptance of management scenarios, there were three important factors (attitude towards cats, area of residence, and gender), two weaker factors (education and having children) and two which had almost no impact (age and cat ownership). The results indicate that management of and communication on stray cat management strategies should not be developed with a one-size-fits-all approach. Efforts should be tailored to each audience segment, thus adapted to the area of residence and human characteristics.

Links to Open Access Publications or DOI:


Ciska De Ruyver, Emmanuel Abatih, Paolo Dalla Villa, Els H.K.A. Peeters, Jane Clements, Agnes Dufau, Christel P.H. Moons. (2021)
Public opinions on seven different stray cat population management scenarios in Flanders, Belgium. Research in Veterinary Science,
Volume 136, Pages 209-219.