A newly released British study of cat owners focused on the relationship between cats, people and wildlife. While some view a cat as a malicious hunter of defenseless creatures, others note the cat's contribution to pest control. And some just enjoy their feline friend's company.
In a newly published study, researchers at the University of Exeter in Southwest England surveyed fifty-six cat owners in an attempt to identify their perspectives on the activities of their feline friends. They came up with five distinct groups of cat owners. Which one best represents you?
One group is the Concerned Protector. Owners in this group tend to keep their feline friends indoors to keep them safe. They worry about their cat being lost, stolen or killed.
Another group is the Freedom Defender. They oppose any restriction on cat access to the outdoors. Cat hunting is normal and natural; it helps to control rodent populations, and cats should be able to roam wherever they wish, like a wild animal.
The third group they named the Tolerant Guardian. Members of this group say they love wildlife and they don’t particularly like the fact that cats are hunters but that’s just what cats do. They feel the benefits of allowing cats to roam outweigh the risks of their pets being lost or injured.
The fourth group the researchers called the Conscientious Caretaker. This group thinks owners have some responsibility for managing their cat’s hunting behavior. They feel cats should have access to the outdoors but they are not opposed to some confinement, because hunting by their cats really bothers them and they worry particularly about the birds.
The fifth group they dubbed the Laissez-faire Landlord. Owners in this group never seriously thought about the effect of cats on wildlife populations. They thought it was natural for a cat to want to go outside. If they are injured, or worse, well, that’s nature.
So, which type of cat owner are you? There is an online quiz you can take that will tell you. (For the record, I took the quiz and found out I am a Conscientious Caretaker.) If you are really curious, google “five types of cat owner quiz” to find out. But - as the old saying goes - “curiosity killed the cat”, when you’re speaking of pets!