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Educating owners – the key to managing cat populations
  1. Jörg Aurich, Drmedvet, Drmedvethabil, DipECAR, and
  2. Anja Becher, Magvetmed, Resident ECAR
  1. Obstetrics, Gynaecology and Andrology, University of Veterinary Sciences, Vienna 1210, Austria
  1. e-mail: joerg.aurich{at}

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THE veterinary profession plays a key role in addressing the problem of cat overpopulation. Due to the early age of puberty and a high number of kittens per litter, without contraceptive measures, cats can reproduce very efficiently. Unwanted kittens often join the stray cat population or end up in animal shelters, and high numbers are euthanased every year. In addition, such cats may carry infectious diseases such as feline immunodeficiency virus and feline leukaemia virus (Levy and others 2006), are commonly involved in road traffic accidents (Moreau and others 2003, Rochlitz 2003) and have been blamed by bird conservationists to inflict heavy losses on bird populations (Peterson and others 2012). A non-reviewed survey in rural Austria indicated that over 80 per cent of farm cats remained intact. Most of these cats were not vaccinated, did not receive adequate veterinary care and kittens were often euthanased in unacceptable ways and without veterinary control (Poskocil 2009). Similar feline welfare problems are found in many countries. Furthermore, normal feline behaviour, such as urine spraying in postpubertal tomcats, is considered a nuisance by many pet owners and, without the option of neutering, the animal might be given away or even euthanased. …

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