Does anyone know of any social marketing techniques that have been used successfully to keep cats indoors? I am interested in connecting with those that have interest in applying social marketing to reducing wildlife depredation by cats.
Elizabeth Stone, DVM, MS
Social Marketing to Keep Cats Indoors
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The Sierra Club has for a long time had a "cats indoors" program. See, for example" http://wfcb.ucdavis.edu/www/Faculty/Peter/petermoyle/publications/chapter12.pdf The American Bird Conservancy also supports a similar program and has a dedicated Web site: http://www.abcbirds.org/abcprograms/policy/cats/index.html Perhaps the staff at one or both or these organizations can give you further leads.
118 E. Court St.
Ithaca, NY 14850
The Wildlife Society has a working group on Human Dimensions in Wildlife http://joomla.wildlife.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=34& Itemid=192 You may want to contact them to see if they have done any research on the subject that could help a social marketing effort. In addition, many of the Colleges & Universities who have wildlife programs also now have a specialty in human dimensions such as Michigan State http://www.fw.msu.edu/labs/humandim/main.htm and Cornell http://www.dnr.cornell.edu/hdru/
Maine DEP Division of Watershed Management
1235 Central Drive
Presque Isle, ME 04769
(207) 760-3134 (207) 760-3143
When I got my cat from the SPCA they told me that she would live longer and be more happy because of reduced stress, and less exposure to disease, fights and traffic, if I kept her indoors. It was surprising to me that she would be more happy as an indoor cat. They explained that a cats natural instinct is to parole their entire territory which can be stressful. When this territory is smaller they are more relaxed. They told me that even a cat that was used to being outside would get used to being inside and be more happy that way. My main motivator when it comes to my cat is to keep her happy and healthy. I would guess that most cat owners are the same way. Additional motivators might include saving money on vet bills because of less exposure to disease, less need for vaccinations, and less risk of flees. Main barriers might include: not wanting a litter box (you could research litter box and litter technology to address this. What are people saying works well on cat forums online, there are lots of them), and not wanting your cat to be bored or unhappy (communicating the facts above with scientific research as back up would address this). You may consider partnering with your local SPCA or other humane society to develop your program.
Dear Emily, Elizabeth and Friends
We have developed a compromise. Twenty years or so ago my wife and I built a large cat cage next to our house. It is 18' x 32' by 10' tall. It is entered by the cats via a cat door in a cellar window and by us via a personnel door on the cage itself. One side is a weathered picket fence and a 2nd side is a hedge nearly the height of the cage itself. I have constructed all sorts of perches and walkways up high in the cage and various types of access to the same. The cats have the best of the outside and the inside in this way, but can't get run over, killed by raccoons or catch horrible feline diseases. I realize that this is not possible for a lot of folks (no yard, cost of construction, building code restrictions, etc.). but it has been great for our cats and for us. I have seen photos of smaller scale outside cages that work well for other cat owners, as well.
118 E. Court St.
Ithaca, NY 14850
I know the National Wildlife Federation and Audubon Society have worked on this, I'd check out their websites. I don't know how successful they've been, or how they've measured their impact.