Table 2

Ranking of welfare issues from first online survey completed by cat experts, based on experts’ perception of the prevalence, severity and duration of each welfare issue

Rank orderPrevalenceMedianSeverityMedianDurationMedian
1Social behaviour issues (eg, increased cat density due to modern estate design, enforced group living, etc).4.72Hoarding.5.27Hoarding.5.2
2No regulation of establishments or service providers (eg, shelters, groomers, behaviourists, etc).4.67Long stay in shelter.5.00Genetic issues (eg, brachycephaly, etc).4.78
3Use of cats in social and other media.4.67Accidental poisoning.4.82Negative affective states (eg, fear, pain, frustration, chronic stress).4.77
4Negative affective states (eg, fear, pain, frustration, chronic stress).4.67Physical trauma.4.82Behavioural restriction (eg, house cats, cat shows, rescues, etc).4.70
5Lack of research/knowledge of feline welfare needs.4.22Lack of compulsory microchipping.4.73Common feline infectious diseases.4.70
6Lack of feline behavioural knowledge by owner.4.17Negative affective states (fear, pain, frustration, chronic stress).4.69Diseases of old age.4.70
7Not seeking veterinary care (including logistics, fear of overselling, cat fear, etc).4.08Delayed euthanasia.4.67Inappropriate diets/nutrition (eg, poor nutrition, vegan diets, etc).4.60
8Obesity.4.06Poor pain management.4.55Social behaviour issues (eg, increased cat density due to modern estate design, enforced group living).4.57
9Stray cat management.4.03Poor shelter design.4.46Cats sold on internet.4.33
10Poor cat shelter design.3.97Inappropriate training methods.4.12Obesity.4.20
11Poor health knowledge in owners.3.99Indiscriminate breeding.4.09Common feline health issues (eg, dental disease, system diseases, parasites, etc).4.18
12Lack of disease management for stray cats.3.93Cats sold on internet.4.09Long stay in shelter.4.1
13Lack of basic routine veterinary care (eg, vaccinations, neutering, check-ups, etc).3.92Neglect.4.05Lack of basic routine veterinary care (eg, vaccinations, neutering, check-ups, etc).4.02
14Lack of veterinary profession consensus on welfare issues (eg, FIV, neutering, etc).3.88Social behaviour issues (eg, increased cat density due to modern estate design, enforced group living, etc).4.05Cultural differences in relation to cats as pets.4.00
15Cats sold on internet.3.85Behavioural restrictions (eg, house cats, cat shows, rescues, etc).4.00Lack of research into common cat health issues.4.00
16Diseases of old age.3.83Diseases of old age.4.00Indiscriminate breeding.3.99
17Lack of compulsory microchipping.3.80Long distance travel.4.00Inappropriate home environment/resources.3.96
18Lack of cat-specific pain management research.3.75Inappropriate diets/nutrition (eg, poor nutrition, vegan diet, etc).4.00Lack of feline behavioural knowledge by owner.3.93
19Behavioural restrictions (eg, house cats, cat shows, rescues, etc).3.75Lack of disease management for stray cats.3.97No regulation of establishments or service providers (eg, shelters, groomers, behaviourists, etc).3.73
20Early weaning and hand rearing.3.69No regulation of establishments or service providers (eg, shelters, groomers, behaviourists, etc).3.82Lack of cat-specific pain management research.3.70
21Fireworks.3.67Common feline infectious disease.3.82Lack of compulsory microchipping.3.70
22Long stay in shelter.3.67Fireworks.3.82Early weaning and hand rearing.3.64
23Lack of feline-specific medicines.3.55Lack of basic routine veterinary care (eg, vaccinations, neutering, check-ups, etc).3.78Lack of disease management for stray cats.3.62
24Abandonment.3.55Lack of feline health knowledge by owners.3.73Cats used as school/office pets.3.60
25Inappropriate training methods.3.54Lack of feline behavioural knowledge by owner.3.70Poor shelter design.3.55
26Neglect.3.51Common feline health issues (eg, dental disease, system-based disorders, parasites, etc).3.65Delayed euthanasia.3.54
27Physical trauma.3.33Cats used in veterinary teaching.3.64Inappropriate grooming.3.50
28Cultural differences in relation to cats as pets.3.33Inappropriate home environment/resources.3.63Stray cat management.3.50
29Poor pain management.3.21Animal assisted therapy.3.60Lack of knowledge of feline welfare needs.3.48
30Common feline infectious diseases.3.00Lack of research into common cat health issues.3.59Lack of veterinary profession consensus on welfare issues (eg, Feline Immunodeficiency virus, neutering, etc).3.48
31Abandonment.3.55Claw caps.3.44
32Not seeking veterinary care (including logistics, fear of overselling, cat fear, etc).3.52Use of cats in social and other media.3.43
33Use of cats in social and other media.3.47Not seeking veterinary care (including logistics, fear of overselling, cat fear, etc).3.36
34Lack of research/knowledge of feline welfare needs.3.45Neglect.3.35
35Claw caps.3.45Abandonment.3.30
36Obesity.3.42Poor health knowledge in owners.3.30
37Inappropriate handling.3.32Inappropriate training methods.3.22
38Inappropriate grooming.3.27Cats and wildlife conflict.3.13
39Early weaning and hand rearing.3.26
40Stray cat management.3.22
41Cats and wildlife conflict.3.14
42Lack of veterinary professional consensus on welfare issues (eg, FIV, neutering, etc).3.11
43Cultural differences in relation to cats as pets.3.00