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A science-based policy for managing free-roaming cats

Lepczyk, C.A., Duffy, D.C., Bird, D.M., Calver, M.ORCID: 0000-0001-9082-2902, Cherkassky, D., Cherkassky, L., Dickman, C.R., Hunter, D., Jessup, D., Longcore, T., Loss, S.R., Loyd, K.A.T., Marra, P.P., Marzluff, J.M., Noss, R.F., Simberloff, D., Sizemore, G.C., Temple, S.A. and van Heezik, Y. (2022) A science-based policy for managing free-roaming cats. Biological Invasions .

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Free-roaming domestic cats (i.e., cats that are owned or unowned and are considered ‘at large’) are globally distributed non-native species that have marked impacts on biodiversity and human health. Despite clear scientific evidence of these impacts, free-roaming cats are either unmanaged or managed using scientifically unsupported and ineffective approaches (e.g., trap-neuter-release [TNR]) in many jurisdictions around the world. A critical first initiative for effective, science-driven management of cats must be broader political and legislative recognition of free-roaming cats as a non-native, invasive species. Designating cats as invasive is important for developing and implementing science-based management plans, which should include efforts to prevent cats from becoming free-roaming, policies focused on responsible pet ownership and banning outdoor cat feeding, and better enforcement of existing laws. Using a science-based approach is necessary for responding effectively to the politically charged and increasingly urgent issue of managing free-roaming cat populations.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Environmental and Conservation Sciences
Publisher: Springer Verlag
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