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Volume 12, Issue 2 (March-April 2013)                   Payesh 2013, 12(2): 205-219 | Back to browse issues page

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Jila Sadighi, Katayoun Jahangiri, Masood Kefayatmand, Ali Montazeri. Feral cats and people’s health: a review of literature and a case study. Payesh. 2013; 12 (2) :205-219
URL: http://payeshjournal.ir/article-1-382-en.html
1- Family Health Group, Health Metrics Research Center, Iranian Institute for Health Scineces Research, ACECR, Tehran, Iran
2- Faculty of Art & Architecture, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran
3- Psychiatric Health Group, Health Metrics Research Center, Iranian Institute for Health Scineces Research, ACECR, Tehran, Iran
Abstract:   (4189 Views)
Objective (s): The control of feral cat overpopulation is an important problem in many countries. The objectives of present study were to identify experiences of other countries, to identify urban ecosystem on animals (mice and feral cats), to understand the role of cats in environmental pollution and to study people believes about feral cats.
Methods: Thiswas a rapid review of the literature and a cross-sectional case study. The target group of the cross-sectional study consisted of the general population aged 18 and over living in Tehran, Iran. The sample was recruited through cluster sampling.
Results: The details of review are presented in the article. Overall 9836 individuals (50.1% women and 49.9% men) participated in the study. The mean age of participants was 37.6 years (SD 15.1). The related results of the ecosystem study showed that most people (49%) stated that population of cats have not changed in their residential area. The results of Pearson analysis showed that there were direct and positive correlation between populations of feral cats and population of mice in Tehran. The decline in population of mice was associated with decline of feral cat population and, vice versa (r= 0.206) (P>0.001). The results also showed that the number of cats and mice decreased with existing suitable pickup of garbage, adequate street lighting services, existing gardening areas, near markets of fruits and vegetables and in urban areas with no building construction (P>0.001). Furthermore the results showed that the people by own are the most important cause of environmental pollution in the city with spreading garbage (46.5%). Most people (71.3%) believed that the feral cats have "very much" and "much" right to live in their city.
Conclusion: The population of feral cats in Tehran is one of the important factors for controlling the mice population. Interventions in environmental conditions of mice population are indirectly effective to control the cats population. Public education of environmental cleanliness and improving quality of urban services has the main influences to minimize the role of feral cats in environmental pollution. It seems that feral cat overpopulation control should focus on followings: (a) in cities like Tehran, the elimination of feral cat colonies is not recommended because of mice overpopulation and the role of feral cats in urban animal ecosystem. The most human and scientific activities in the urban areas witch face to cat overpopulation are Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) and Trap and Relocate (TR) to low population areas; (b) public education in order to minimize zoonotic disease transmission, (c) pet ownership education to prevent abandonment and importance of early sterilization and keeping cats indoors; (d) improvement the urban services like mice control program; (d) encourage to establish non-governmental groups and organizations, under the supervision of the related governmental agencies for attracting human and financial resources.
Overall, one of the most important approaches for improving urban management of animal population is considering city as an ecological system. Therefore, the intervention relating to control of feral cat population should be based on scientific evidence and ethical principles.
Full-Text [PDF 1692 kb]   (1911 Downloads)    
type of study: Research | Subject: Medical
Accepted: 2013/05/11 | ePublished ahead of print: 2013/05/15 | Published: 2013/03/15

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