04th Sep 2020
Researchers have found there are five different types of cat owners and they all have different relationships with their pets
Do you know what kind of cat owner you are?
A recent study has found there are five main categories of pet owners, in regards to their relationships with their furry felines.
Conducted by the University of Exeter, scientists observed the behaviour of 56 UK cat owners and based their results on owners’ attitudes towards their pets and if they let them roam or had them stay inside.
Five main types
Owners were then categorised into five groups:
1. Conscientious caretakers
These people take full responsibility for their cat and monitor how their pet impacts its environment. For instance, if their tabby brought back a dead mouse, they may scold the cat for its ‘bad’ behaviour.
2. Freedom defenders
On the other end of the spectrum, these owners let their cat roam freely and oppose any restrictions on their animal’s behaviour. They recognise their pet’s predatory instincts.
3. Concerned protectors
Concerned protectors worry less about their feline’s impact or freedom and focus more on their safety. No matter the cat’s behaviour, they just want their furry friend to be safe at all times.
4. Tolerant guardians
These owners fall somewhere between conscientious caretakers and freedom defenders. They dislike their pets hunting, but accept that it is an innate behaviour.
5. Laissez-faire landlords
Lastly, as its name implies, is the completely unaware cat owner. They are oblivious to any issues around cats roaming and hunting. They let their cat do what they want because they do not think about their pet’s impact at all.
Cats and conservation
There are around 10 million cats in the UK and many owners let their pets roam free and kill small birds or mice.
This study aimed to find a compromise between freedom and conservation, by identifying ways owners can manage their cats to benefit the cats as well as reducing wildlife killing.
iCatCare’s Head of Cat Advocacy, Dr Sarah Ellis, said: “The finding that many UK cat owners actually care a great deal about wildlife conservation and their cats’ impact on it, suggests that some owners are receptive to employing cat-friendly ways of reducing hunting.
“The right interventions could improve wildlife conservation efforts, maintain good cat mental-wellbeing, and at the same time improve the cat-human relationship.”
These interventions could include simple acts, like fitting kitties with brightly coloured ‘BirdsBeSafe’ collar covers or bells.
Take the cat owner quiz
If you’d like to find out what kind of cat owner you are, take the quiz at https://wildlifescience.org/catquiz/.
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