Determining priority welfare issues for cats in the United Kingdom using expert consensus

Fiona Rioja-Lang, Heather Bacon, Melanie Connor, CM Dwyer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Abstract

Background Cats are the most popular pets in the UK,
yet relatively little research has been conducted into the
welfare of cats living in a home environment. The purpose
of this study was to determine and prioritise welfare issues
for cats using a Delphi method.
Methods Cat welfare experts (n=14) were asked to identify
and rank welfare issues for cats in the UK. An initial list
of 118 welfare issues was generated by an anonymous
online discussion board of experts and thematic analysis
using NVivo. Subsequently experts ranked the list of welfare
issues according to severity, duration and prevalence using
a 6-point Likert scale. All issues with a median score of
3 or above (n=43) were included in the second survey to
determine agreement on the rankings of issues. Finally,
a subsection of experts attended a two-day workshop
to discuss the welfare rankings and determine the final
prioritised list of welfare issues.
Results The issues considered to be the most severe and/
or likely to cause prolonged cat suffering included social
behaviour issues, diseases of old age, obesity, owners
not seeking veterinary care and poor pain management.
The welfare issues perceived to be most prevalent
included neglect/hoarding, delayed euthanasia, inherited
conformational defects/diseases, social or environmental
restriction, and poor pain management.
Conclusions The outcomes suggested that, although issues
such as cat behaviour required further research, owner
education was an important factor in improving cat welfare
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere000365
JournalVeterinary Record Open
Volume6
Issue number1
Early online date2 Nov 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPrint publication - 2 Nov 2019

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United Kingdom
Consensus
Cats
cats
Pain Management
pain
Euthanasia
Pets
euthanasia
Research
pets
obesity
Obesity
duration
methodology

Keywords

  • Delphi method
  • Health
  • animal welfare
  • behaviour
  • companion animals

Cite this

Rioja-Lang, Fiona ; Bacon, Heather ; Connor, Melanie ; Dwyer, CM. / Determining priority welfare issues for cats in the United Kingdom using expert consensus. In: Veterinary Record Open. 2019 ; Vol. 6, No. 1.
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Determining priority welfare issues for cats in the United Kingdom using expert consensus. / Rioja-Lang, Fiona; Bacon, Heather; Connor, Melanie; Dwyer, CM.

In: Veterinary Record Open, Vol. 6, No. 1, e000365, 02.11.2019.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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