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BioMed Research International
Volume 2016, Article ID 3796872, 9 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2016/3796872
Research Article

A Cross-Sectional Survey to Estimate the Cat Population and Ownership Profiles in a Semirural Area of Central Italy

Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale del Lazio e della Toscana “M. Aleandri”, Via Appia Nuova 1411, 00178 Roma, Italy

Received 18 April 2016; Revised 20 July 2016; Accepted 21 July 2016

Academic Editor: Francesca Mancianti

Copyright © 2016 Andrea Carvelli et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Understanding animal population size and its demographic features is essential to address Public Health policies as well as to provide valuable information to pet industries and veterinary practitioners. Nevertheless, official data on feline population are not available worldwide. In the present study, the owned cat population size, its demographic attributes, and the ownership profiles have been investigated through a face-to-face questionnaire in a semirural area of Central Italy. The human : cat ratio was equal to 6.8 (95% CI: 5.7–7.5); 29.3% of households own at least one cat. The majority of cats were living in a rural area (67.8%) and outdoors, were neutered (70.5%), and were fed with commercial food (54.8%) and they visited a veterinarian 1-2 times a year (43.3%). The cat ownership was strongly associated with people living in a rural area and owning another pet. As the cat owned population was mainly kept outdoors in rural areas, the possible relation between the owned and the stray animals is worthy to be monitored in future researches. Our study revealed that the feline owned population was larger than expected and that social and economic human factors do not influence the cat ownership. Health Authorities and veterinary practitioners should promote responsible ownership to increase the veterinary care, to intensify the official identification, and to properly manage the outdoor lifestyle.