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Cat got your tongue? The misnomer of ‘community cats’ and its relevance to conservation

Lepczyk, C.A. and Calver, M.C.ORCID: 0000-0001-9082-2902 (2022) Cat got your tongue? The misnomer of ‘community cats’ and its relevance to conservation. Biological Invasions .

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The choice of words we use often conveys specific meanings and tone to a topic. Hence, the words that we use in conservation science often have important ramifications in scientific, legal, and social contexts. The management of free-ranging cats is an important example, because of the animal welfare, predation, and public health implications. In this context, one set of words that has recently arisen outside of conservation but has particular relevance for it and many other fields is ‘community cat.’ As we note, through an evaluation of the literature, ‘community cat’ is almost always used as a synonym for unowned, free-ranging cats. Such rebranding is significant for conservation, policy, and management because it implies community ownership of animals without, in many cases, explicit agreement from the community. As such, there is a need to understand the history of the term, what it really means, and its implications for the advancement of conservation biology, natural resource management, veterinary medicine, and animal welfare.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Environmental and Conservation Sciences
Publisher: Springer Verlag
Copyright: © 2022 Springer Nature Switzerland AG.
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