Companion animal knowledge, attachment and pet cat care and their associations with household demographics for residents of a rural Texas town

Melanie E Ramón, Margaret R Slater, Michael P Ward
Preventive Veterinary Medicine 2010 May 1, 94 (3-4): 251-63
This cross-sectional telephone survey explored companion animal attachment and knowledge as well as cat care of residents in a small Texas town. The survey included 441 residents of randomly selected households (55% response rate). Dogs were owned by 48% of households and cats by 29%. Companion animal ownership was associated with being 25-44 years old, being Anglo, having an income over $85,000/year, and feeding unowned cats. More knowledge about animals was associated with being any age except 45-54 years old and with completing college or an advanced degree. Higher attachment was associated with being a woman and having no children in the household. Attachment and knowledge were not related to ethnicity. Cats were likely to be sterilized if they had been owned more than 2 years and had been rabies vaccinated. Outside-only cats were used to control vermin ("mousers") and were less likely to have visited a veterinarian. Cats with identification were likely to be from a shelter, frequently have visited the veterinarian, and been vaccinated against rabies. There are many companion animal owners who still do not have basic knowledge to prevent accidental litters or provide basic health care. Attachment scores for companion animal owners were similar to those previously reported and similar for cat and dog owners. A pattern of better care emerges for owners who view their cats as companions.

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