What motivates you to care for a feral cat colony? Research survey participants needed

What motivates you to care for a feral cat colony? I’ve been asked by University of Washington student Sabrina Aeluro to spread the word on a survey on feral cats and their caregivers. Here are the key parts of the survey introduction page, which Sabrina is doing for one of her classes.

Feral cat that has been TNR’d (Photo by Elisa)
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles:- Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

Researcher’s statement and purpose of study

The purpose of this survey is to gain a better understanding of United States residents over the age of 18 who consider themselves interested in feral cats and their welfare.  The survey questions are designed to learn more about the involvement, beliefs, actions, and motivations of people within the feral cat community.

The purpose of this consent form is to give you the information you will need to help you decide whether to be in the study or not.  Please read the form carefully.  You may ask questions about the purpose of the research, what we would ask you to do, the possible risks and benefits, your rights as a volunteer, and anything else about the research or this form that is not clear.  When we have answered all your questions, you can decide if you want to be in the study or not.  This process is called “informed consent.”  You may save a copy of this form for your records.

Woman doing survey
Photo: pixabay.com


For this survey, the single phrase “feral cat” is used as an umbrella term for brevity.  “Feral cat” is used here to refer to free-roaming cats, stray cats, community cats, homeless cats, and outdoor domestic cats which are not considered owned/pets, whether they are unmanaged or a part of a managed colony – and whether or not they meet a strict definition of “feral” with their behaviors.

This survey seeks the opinions of the broad feral cat community in the United States.  Such activities and involvement related to feral cats can include, but are not limited to, cat feeding and colony caretaking, cat trapping, feral kitten socialization/adoptions, clinical care such as vaccinating and sterilizing feral cats, advocacy and community organizing around feral cat welfare, research or professional study of feral cats, donating to feral cat projects, and working to benefit feral cats in ways that don’t involve exposure to animals (such as building cat shelters, lobbying, or administrative work with a feral cat group).  These efforts may be on a volunteer basis or part of your paid employment.  If you consider yourself a friend to feral cats and are interested in their welfare, this survey is for you!

Study procedures

This online survey should take approximately 15-20 minutes to complete.  Most questions are multiple choice or asking you to indicate your level of agreement/disagreement with a statement using a set scale.  Question types include demographic information, personal and professional work with feral cats, motivations, and beliefs about your engagement with feral cats, feeding and caretaking activities, volunteering, political involvement with feral cat advocacy, drawbacks and conflicts related to feral cat issues, and one open-ended question at the end.  All questions are optional and you are welcome to skip any question for any reason.

Click on the button to go to the survey:

Survey button

The survey took me less than 10 minutes to take. The only private information asked for is zip code so you’re not giving out your phone number or email address (unless you want to be notified of the results of the survey). I hope to do a followup article once the results are in.’

The survey closes at the end of the day next Thursday, November 16. Once taken, you can’t go back and look at your answers at a later time, so be sure of your answer as you’re taking the survey.

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