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The One Health Impacts of Trap-Neuter-Return

With the population of outdoor and feral cats predicted to rise 18-20% per year in urban areas (Miller et al., 2014), the need for discussions surrounding outdoor and feral cat management strategies and implications is at a critical point. The Institute for Human-Animal Connection (IHAC) Pets for Life as One Health study is beginning to facilitate these discussions via series of qualitative interviews conducted within two urban (Seattle, WA; Madison, WI) and two rural (Granger, WA; Wilder, ID) study sites. Qualitative interviews were conducted with eighteen community members and service providers working directly with outdoor and feral cat populations. The rationale for using qualitative interviews as the data collection method was to capture the unique and diverse opinions of these interviewees. Interviews were analyzed using a phenomenological interpretive qualitative analysis technique. Themes included: concerns with safety and barriers to services and resources for free-roaming cats; the benefits, barriers and harms of Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR), Trap-Neuter-Vaccinate-Return (TNVR), euthanasia, and relocation as preferred cat management methods; and the impact of outdoor and feral cats on wildlife, pets, caretakers, the environment, and other community members. The implications of these results are still unknown but may have the ability to progress the field of, and conversations surrounding, feral and outdoor cat management.

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