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1 UNDERSTANDING STAKEHOLDER CONFLICT: AN ANALYSIS OF PUBLIC VALUES, RISK PERCEPTIONS AND ATTITUDES TOWARD OUTDOOR CAT MANAGEMENT By DARA M. WALD A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2012
2 2012 Dara M. Wald
3 To Nadav, for making this possible
4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS This project would not have been possible without the support and guidance of my committee, Dr. Katie Sieving, Dr. Julie Levy, Dr. Martha Monroe, and Dr. Reed Bowman. I would also like to thank my advisor, Dr. Susan Jacobson, for her invaluable advice, her constant encourag ement and her infallible mentorship. I am indebted to Dr. Douglas Levy for helping me become a better teacher and scholar and to Dr. Dan Perlman for his constructive guidance Financial assistance for this research was provided by the NSF Doctoral Diss ertation Improvement Grant in Decision Risk and Management Sciences, the Morris Animal Foundation, the Doris and Earl and Verna Lowe Scholarship, and the University of Florida Department of Wil dlife Ecology and Conservation. I would like to thank all of th e research participants and organizations who supported this research. This study would not have been possible without the support of Helen Warren, Shaye Olmstead, Doug Young, Justin Freedman, Lory Chadwick, Pete Johnson, Carly Wainwright, Rick Ducharme D iane Wiles, Cindy Diver, and Charlene Grall A special thanks to the Human Dimensions lab for reviewing versions of this project and sitting through endless presentations and mock focus groups about outdoor cats. My gratitude goes out to my undergraduate r esearch assistants, Andrew McConville, Deni Parsons, Natalie Elorza Welling Beida Chen and Melissa Archer, and graduate volunteers Benjamin Atkinson, Nia Haynes, Tabith Morgan, Dickson Ritan, and Jame McCray who I hope have recovered from all the survey stuffing, stamping, seal ing and coding. I am fortunate to have such amazing colleagues and friends and I thank Becky Mer, Stuart Carlton, and Eduardo Silva for their technical advice and thoughtful conversation.
5 Most importantly, I would like to thank my family. I have been blessed to be surrounded by such an incredible group of people. Thank you to the Wald, West, Skelskie, Mer, Demming and Baver families for supporting my endea vors and encouraging my dreams. Thank you to my in laws, Barbara, and Ben, fo r their support and enthusiasm throughout this journey My little sister Jaina has been the best cheerleader and listener imagin able Special thanks go out to my parents, Ken and Robin, for the Friday night statistics sessions, the sage advice, the insig htful suggestions and the countless hours of babysitting. Your mentorship and guidance made this arduous task possible. My husband and partner, Nadav, has stood by me through this amazing and often difficult process and has forfeited a gr eat deal over th e last 4 years. Thank you for the countless loads of laundry, dishes and dinners Thank you for being the best distraction and my most ardent supporter Special thanks to Zohar for reminding me to take breaks and for making it all worthwhile.
6 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 4 LIST OF TABLES ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 9 LIST OF FIGURES ................................ ................................ ................................ ........ 11 ABSTRACT ................................ ................................ ................................ ................... 12 CH APTER 1 INTRODUCTION ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 14 2 FACTORS AFFECTING STUDENT TOLERANCE FOR OUTDOOR CATS .......... 22 Controversy o ver the Management of Outdoor Cats ................................ .............. 22 Framework ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 23 Cat Acceptance Capacity ................................ ................................ ................. 24 Methods ................................ ................................ ................................ .................. 26 Survey Design ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 26 Data Analyses ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 28 Resul ts ................................ ................................ ................................ .................... 30 Socio demographic Variables ................................ ................................ ........... 30 Situational and Affective Variables ................................ ................................ ... 30 Model Results ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 31 Cat Management and CAC ................................ ................................ .............. 32 Discussion ................................ ................................ ................................ .............. 33 Best Predictors of CAC ................................ ................................ ..................... 36 CAC and Attitudes toward Management ................................ .......................... 38 Implications for Conservation Outreach ................................ ........................... 38 3 THE INFLUENCE OF PERCEPTIONS, ATTITUDES AND EXPERIENCES ON THE PERCEIVED RISKS AND BENEFITS OF OUTDOOR CATS ........................ 46 The Perceived Risks and Benefits of Outdoor Cats ................................ ................ 46 A Risk Perception Framework ................................ ................................ ................ 48 Methods ................................ ................................ ................................ .................. 52 Re sults ................................ ................................ ................................ .................... 54 Data Reduction and Scale Reliability ................................ ............................... 54 Risk Perceptions ................................ ................................ .............................. 56 Situational and Cognitive Variables and Risk ................................ ................... 57 Mediation ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 57 Discussion ................................ ................................ ................................ .............. 58 Low Levels of Cat Related Risk ................................ ................................ ....... 59 The Attenuation of Risk ................................ ................................ .................... 60
7 Experience, Beliefs and Risk Perceptions ................................ ........................ 61 Generating Tolerance for Cats ................................ ................................ ......... 62 4 IDENTIFYING DIFFERENCES BETWEEN STAKEHOLDER AND PUBLIC RISK PERCEPTIONS, BELIEFS, AND ATTITUDES ABOU T OUTDOOR CAT MANAGEMENT ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 69 Who Cares about Outdoor Cats? ................................ ................................ ............ 69 Risk Perception Framework ................................ ................................ ............. 72 Perceptions of Ecological Risk ................................ ................................ ......... 72 Methods ................................ ................................ ................................ .................. 75 Stakeholders and Study Site ................................ ................................ ............ 75 Sample Design and Survey Administration ................................ ...................... 76 Survey Items ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 77 Ecological risks and perceived benefits ................................ ..................... 77 Impact beliefs ................................ ................................ ............................. 77 Beliefs about cats ................................ ................................ ....................... 78 Management ................................ ................................ .............................. 78 Data Analysis ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 78 Results ................................ ................................ ................................ .................... 80 Respondent Characteristics and Pre liminary Results ................................ ....... 80 Group Differences Identified by PCI ................................ ................................ 80 Attitudes toward Outdoor Cats ................................ ................................ ......... 81 Management Preference ................................ ................................ .................. 81 Ecological Risks and Perceived Benefits ................................ .......................... 82 Impact Beliefs ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 82 Beliefs about Outdoor Cats ................................ ................................ .............. 83 Cat Management ................................ ................................ .............................. 83 Discriminating Between Stakeho lder Groups ................................ ................... 84 Discussion ................................ ................................ ................................ .............. 86 Cat Related Risks and Benefits ................................ ................................ ........ 86 A ffection for Outdoor Cats ................................ ................................ ................ 88 Does Origin Matter? ................................ ................................ ......................... 89 Preference for Non Lethal Management ................................ .......................... 89 Distinguishing Between Stakeholders ................................ .............................. 92 Implications for Cat Management ................................ ................................ ..... 93 5 A MULTIVARIATE MODEL OF STAKEHOLDER PREFERENCE FOR OUTDOOR CAT MANAGEMENT ................................ ................................ ......... 104 Outdoor C ats and S takeholders in Florida ................................ ............................ 104 The Cognitive Hierarchy ................................ ................................ ................. 106 Measures in the Model ................................ ................................ ................... 107 Attitudes ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 107 Beliefs ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 107 Worldviews ................................ ................................ ............................... 108 Methods ................................ ................................ ................................ ................ 110
8 Survey Design and Distribution ................................ ................................ ...... 110 Tests for Sample Bias ................................ ................................ .................... 112 Data Analyses ................................ ................................ ................................ 113 Results ................................ ................................ ................................ .................. 114 Characteristics of Respondents ................................ ................................ ...... 1 14 Structural Equation Model ................................ ................................ .............. 114 Discussion ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 116 Multivariate Relationships between Cognitions ................................ .............. 117 Attitude Specificity ................................ ................................ .......................... 117 Cat Related Risks and Impacts ................................ ................................ ...... 119 6 CONCLUSION ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 125 APPENDIX A STUDENT IN PERSON SURVEY ................................ ................................ ........ 130 B SURVEY OF STAKEHOLDERS AND THE GENERAL PUBLIC .......................... 138 LIST OF REFERENCES ................................ ................................ ............................. 154 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ................................ ................................ .......................... 168
9 LIST OF TABLES Table page 2 1 Student experiences with outdoor cats ................................ ............................... 41 2 2 Factor loadings and item responses based on an exploratory factor analysis with varimax rotation for 10 items from the reduced cat beliefs scale ................. 42 2 3 Perceptions of the risks cats pose based on th e 9 item risk scale ...................... 43 2 4 Respondent attitudes toward cat management based on the reduced 11 item management scale ................................ ................................ ............................. 44 2 5 Resul ts of a stepwise logistic regression evaluating the potential predictors of tolerance for outdoor cats (CAC) with demographic variables entered as a separate step ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 44 2 6 A comparison of attitu des toward cat management predicted by individual tolerance toward outdoor cats ................................ ................................ ............ 45 3 1 scales ................................ ................................ ................................ ................. 64 3 2 Perceptions of risks to the environment and perceived benefits to people ......... 65 3 3 OLS regression estimates of variables associated with percepti ons of risks from outdoor cats to the ecosystem and perceptions of benefits to people ........ 66 3 4 Mediation of the effect of beliefs about cats on tolerance for cat populations through perceptions of risks to ecosystems and benefits to people .................... 67 3 5 Mediation of the effect of attitudes toward cat impact beliefs on tolerance for cat populations through risk perceptions of risks and perce ived benefits ........... 67 4 1 Stakeholder and public beliefs about outdoor cats ................................ ............. 96 4 2 Stakeholder and public beliefs about cat impacts, perceptions of risks and the salience of risks ................................ ................................ ............................ 97 4 3 Stakeholder and public attitudes toward the management of outdoor cats ........ 98 4 4 Structure matrix results for the two function solution predicting group membership ................................ ................................ ................................ ........ 99 4 5 Independent predictors of group membership ................................ .................... 99 5 1 Reliability and confirmatory factor analysis of latent variables in the final structural equation model ................................ ................................ ................. 121
10 5 2 Test statistics for hypothesized multivariate model ................................ ........... 122
11 LIST OF FIGURES Figure page 1 1 A m odel of the hypothesized predictors of tolerance and attitudes toward cat management ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 19 1 2 A m odel of the hypothesized predictors of the perceived cat related risks to ecosystems and perceived benefits to people ................................ .................... 19 1 3 A model of the potential medi ation of risks and benefits between beliefs about cats and tolerance. ................................ ................................ ................... 20 1 4 A model of the proposed predictors of stakeholder group membership .............. 20 1 5 A theoretical model of the hypothesized relationships between worldviews beliefs, attitudes and intention to support management ................................ ..... 21 3 1 Illustration of the potential medi ................................ ................................ ................ 68 3 2 ................................ ................................ .......... 68 4 1 Potential for Conflict Index values across three stakeholder groups. ............... 100 4 2 Discriminant function analysis results illustrati ng the separation between stakeholder groups and the public. ................................ ................................ ... 103 5 1 A theoretical model of the hypothesized relationships between worldviews, beliefs, attitudes and in tention to support manag ement ................................ ... 123 5 2 Path diagram used in the fi nal structural equation model. ............................... 124
12 Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School of the University of F lorida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy UNDERSTANDING STAKEH OLDER CONFLICT: AN A NALYSIS OF PUBLIC VA LUES, RISK PERCEPTIONS AND ATTITUDES TOWARD OUT DOOR CAT MANAGEMENT By Dara M. Wald Decemb er 2012 Chair: Susan K. Jacobson Major: Wildlife Ecology and Conservation Over 25 million free roaming cats in the U.S. represent a significant animal of epidemic prop S ociety as a critical threat to bird s D ebate over whether current cat management methods are practical, humane, or effective has led to intense conflict p rotests, d istrust between sta keholders and deferred policy initiatives This study examine d stakeholder cognitions (e.g., values, attitudes, and beliefs) with the goal of identifying the variables driving this conflict and determining management interventions with broad support from stakeholder s and the public S urvey inst ruments were developed and distributed to : (a) undergraduate students at the University of Florida (N= 827 ) (b) randomly selected stakeholders across four Florida counties ( T rap N euter R eturn supporters (n=800), Audubon Society members (n=796), and the pub lic (n=2600) ) with a response rate of 50% of undergraduates, 45% of stakeholders and 20% of the public. S tudy 1 utilized the concept of Wildlife Acceptance Capacity (WAC) to measure tolerance for outdoor cats Attitudes, beliefs, perceived risks and pop ulation perceptions predic ted tolerance 81% of the time. This research expanded WAC to include a non
13 native species S tudy 2 employed a risk perception framework and determine d that perceived benefits influenced tolerance for outdoor cats and support for c at management. The identified importance of benefit perceptions suggests that for some individuals motivation for management support may be driven by affection and positive experiences, rather than concern about ecological risks S tudy 3 utilized D iscrim inant F unction A nalysis and the Potential Conflict Index to identify differences between groups in beliefs, perceived risks/benefits and attitudes toward management. Findings suggest fundamental differences between stakeholders that influence d their suppor t for management Despite differences, there were promising areas of agreement (e.g., support for mandatory rabies and identification tags) that may provide a starting point for collaboration S tudy 4 utilized a latent growth curve and found that value lad en differences in beliefs and attitudes drive management support My research results highlight the predictive role of perceived risks and benefits on management support and the importance of understanding the values, perceptions and attitudes that drive c onflict between stakeholder groups.
14 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION Free roaming cats are ubiquitous in both the urban, suburban a nd rural landscapes of Florida. These animals may be friendly adoptable or feral and unsocialized. Some cats live in colonies -small groups ( > 1) of cats residing in a fixed location -while others live in homes ; some cat s have extremely large outdoor home ranges and others stay close to human settlements. In the five chapters that follow, I to describe socialized or feral, free roaming owned and unowned animals (Levy & Crawford, 2004) This expression was identif ied in focus groups as the most neutral and easily understood term that would engender the least amount of bias from survey participants. In Florida, there are approximately 5 million cats that spend time outdoors (Levy, Woods, Turick, & Etheridge, 200 3) Programs to manage cats include non lethal methods, such as Trap Neuter Return (TNR) and removal to a long term confinement ; and lethal methods, including eradication using poison, guns, or euthanasia (Nogales et al., 2004) TNR programs typically involve trapping the animal, anesthetizing it, sterilizing it, tipping or notching the ear and then returning the cat to its original location (Slater, 2004) Debate over cat management has centered on the effectiveness and hum aneness of various approaches. Wildlife advoca tes and professionals express concern about the effectiveness of TNR in reducing the cat popu lation (Peterson, Hartis, Rodriguez, Green, & Lepczyk, 2012) Animal welfare advocates support the use of TNR as a management strategy and express strong concern over the use of lethal management methods (Loyd & Hernandez, 2012; Peterson et al., 2012) These differing
15 perspectives have contributed to conflict over the implementation of cat management and policies t hat reduce the outdoor cat population. The debate over management is further influenced by questions about the potential ecological impact outdoor cats pose to wildlife and the ecosystem through predation/competition and the spread of diseases as well a s the potential health risk s cats pose to people and pets. Cat predation on wildlife has been widely addressed in the fields of wildlife conservation (Baker, Molony, Stone, Cuthill, & Harris, 2008; Beckerman, Boots, & Gaston, 2007; Coleman & Temple, 1993; Coleman, Temple, & Craven, 1997) and veterinary medicine (Barrows, 2004; Clancy, Moore, & Bertone, 2003; Jessup, 2004; Levy & Crawford, 2004) Cats contribute to the signific ant decline of endemic and endangered prey on islands (Medina et al., 2011; Vzquez Domnguez, Ceballos, & Cruzado, 2004) However, uncertainty remains about the population and community level impacts of cats. Littl e is currently known about whether cat impacts are commensal or additive, how cat predation compares to other natural and anthropogenic sources of risk to wildlife, and what the actual risk of zoonotic diseases from cats to humans, wildlife or pests is (Calver, Grayson, Lilith, & Dickman, 2011; Slater, 2004) S cientific uncertainty is strongl y related to risk perceptions. Uncertainty contributes to overestimates or underest imates of risk for both experts and the general public (Granger & Carnegie, 2011) The studies in this dissertation utilize a risk perception framework and examine the hypothesis that cat related risk perceptions and beliefs influence tolerance for outdoor cats, attitudes toward cat management, stakeholder group membership and in tention to support management. Moreover, we examine the
16 attenuation of risk perceptions by positive experiences with cats, affection for cats, cat ownership, cat feeding and perceive d cat related benefits. This research applied the existing and well establish ed frameworks of risk theory and the cognitive hierarchy and utilized a quantitative social survey approach to measure the human dimensions of stakeholder conflict over cat mana gement The first two chapters Influence of Perceptions, Attitudes, and Experiences on the Perceived Risks and report the results of in person surveys with undergr aduate students at the University of Florida. In Chapter 2 I explored the role that situational, affective and demographic variables including risk and benefit perceptions played in predicting a previously validated concept, wildlife acceptance capacity or tolerance for outdoor cats (Figure 1 1) In addition, I used a multivariate approach to test the potential causal role that tolerance for outdoor cats play ed in predicting attitudes toward cat management Tolerance was measured as preference for reduc ing future population levels. In Chapter 3, I use d a perception of risk framework to evaluate the predictive role of situational, cognitive and demographic variables on perceptions of the perceived ecological risks that cats pose to wildlife and the enviro nment and the benefits they provide people (Figure 1 2) Moreover I tested whether perceived risks/benefits mediate d the relationship between beliefs about outdoor cats and tolerance for the future cat population (Figure 1 3) The two final chapters ntifying Differences Between Stakeholder and the Public Risk Perceptions, Beliefs and Attitudes about report the results of a state wide mail survey di stributed to a
17 randomly selected sample of members of TNR advocacy groups, members of the Audubon Society and the general public across Florida. In C hapter 4, I compare ecological risk perceptions, impact beliefs, attitudes toward and beliefs about cats, a nd attitudes toward and preference for management among the aforementioned groups. I applie d a risk perception framework and utilize d a Potential for Conflict Index to identify both areas of conflict and agreement between groups Discriminant Function Anal ysis determine d a 6 item model of cognitive and demographic factors predict ing group membership (Figure 1 4) In t he final chapter, I utilized the cognitive h ie rarchy to test a multivariate model (Figure 1 5) of cognitive variables that predict ed stakehold er intention to support management The purpose of this research was to improve the theoretical understanding of the role that ecol ogical risk perceptions play in predicting tolerance group membership, attitudes and support for the let hal management of a non native species and to evaluate the role that positive experiences, perceived benefits, and affection play in attenuating these relationships This research also tested the utility of the cognitive hierarchy, which has been widely applied to natura l resource management issues, as a framework for identifying stakeholder conflict over the management of a non native species. Together, these four studies can contribute important insight s into public and stakeholder perceptions of outdoor cats, cat relat ed risk/benefit perceptions and preference for cat management. This research expanded the applicability of the concept of Wildlife Acceptance Capacity beyond what had previously been measured to test its applicability to tolerance of domestic cats. It also laid the groundwork for identifying the
18 similar and discrepant beliefs about cat management among stakeholder groups, in relation to tolerance for cats, cat population perceptions perceived risks/benefits, attitudes abou t cats and beliefs about cats. It also analyzed specific areas of agreement over the use of TNR, mandatory rabies vaccination and mandatory spay neuter programs with the goal of identifying approaches with wide spread stakeholder and public support Future c ommunication between stakeholde r groups as well as policy discussion about these issues, will be enhanced by analyzing these important differences between stakeholder groups and the role that risk/benefit perceptions play in influencing management preference. While this research focu se d on one species, the findings provide insights into the relationship between risk perceptions, tolerance, and management preference that could influence stakeholder conflict in the face of scientific uncertainty and controversy over the management of ot her domestic native and non native species.
19 Figure 1 1. A m odel of the hypothesized predictors of tolerance and attitudes toward cat management Figure 1 2 A m odel of the hypothesized predictors of the perceived cat re lated risks to ecosystems and perceived benefits to people Pop Perceptions Tolerance Perceived Risks/Benefits Attitudes toward Cats Experiences Demographics Management Attitudes Beliefs about Cats Pop Perceptions Attitudes toward Cats Beliefs about Cats Beliefs about Cat Impacts Perceived Frequency Risks to ecosystems Benefits to people Experiences
20 Figure 1 3. A model of the potential mediation of risks and benefits between beliefs about cats and tolerance Beliefs about cats are hypothesized to exert an indi rect effect on tolerance through perceived risks and benefits Figure 1 4. A model of the proposed predictors of stakeholder group membership Cat O wnership Group Membership Perceived Risk/Benefits Attitudes toward Cats Attitudes toward TNR Beliefs about Cat Impacts Beliefs about Cats Beliefs about Cats Tolerance of Out door Cats c Ecological Risks Beliefs about Cats Tolerance of Outdoor Cats a 1 b 1 c' Benefits to P eople a 2 b 2
21 Figure 1 5. A theoretical model of the hy pothesized relationships between worldviews beliefs, attitudes and intention to support management Attitudes about Lethal Management Attitudes about TNR Attitudes toward Outdoor Cats H1 H2 H3 H4 Beliefs about Outdoor Cats Beliefs about Cat Impacts Worldviews Intention to Support Management
22 CHAPTER 2 FACTORS AFFECTING STUDENT TOLERANCE FOR OUTDOOR CATS Controversy over the Management of Outdoor Cats Free roaming domestic cats ( Felis catus ) are animals not restricted to a residence or specific area (Levy & Crawford, 2004) They can be unowned animals that spend most o f their time outdoors or owned animals that spend little time outdoors. Feral cats are a subset of free roaming cats that are untamed and generally unsocialized toward humans (Barrows, 2004; Levy & Crawford, 2004) W hile some outdoor cats live in colonies receiving supplemental food from people, there may be little to no interaction between th e animals and their caretakers. Nonetheless, caregivers express strong feelings for these cats (Centonze & Levy, 2002) For this study, we will not attempt to distinguish between owned and unowned outdoor cats ; because in the field, without a collar or a microchip it is nearly impossible for the casual observer to tell the difference (Clancy et al., 2003; Jessup, 2004) We will use the all free roaming owned and unowned domestic cats that may or may not be socialized (Levy & Crawford, 2004 ) C iting the risks cats pose to wildlife through predation, competition and zoonotic disease, many environmental organizations advocate the confinement of cats indoors and the removal of cat colonies from public and private lands (American Bird Conservancy 2004) Attempts to remove domestic cats from private or public lands have met with direct conflict and lawsuits between stakeholder groups (Sterba, 2002) Interest groups have prevented federal legislation aimed at eradicat ing an invasive species that would have also required the removal of outdoor cats (Longcore, Rich, &
23 Sullivan, 2009) Controversy over the management of cats has amplified cat population s by imped ing management and policy initiatives. Successful efforts to manage outdoor cats depend on understanding human perceptions, attitudes, and the variables influencing these factors. Previous surveys about outdoor cats have focused on negative association s, such as the influence of cats on water pollution and threatened species (Dabritz, Atwill, Gardner, Miller, & Conrad, 2006) or have included questions about outdoor cats as part of a larger survey about wildlife and conservation (Loyd & Miller, 2010a) Other surveys have focused on cat ownership or feeding rates (Levy, Gale, & Gale, 2003) A few studies have investigated the role of demographic factors (e.g., cat ownership, residence), experience, and value orientations on support for management initiatives and government regulation (Lord, 2008; Loyd & Miller, 2010a, 2010b) Unlike previous research, this study explores the potential perceived risks from cats to wildlife and the potential perceived benefits cats provide their owners/caregivers. This research uses the neutra rather than feral or stray cat. It expands previous work by measuring the relationship between situational variables, affective variables, and demographic variables on individual tolerance for outdoor cats; and evaluates the relationsh ip between tolerance and support for various management techniques. This research addresses these issues in undergraduate students enrolled in a general education science course on a college campus where the veterinary school conducts regular spay/neuter c linics for cats trapped throughout the county Framework We applied a previously validated wildlife management concept, Wildlife Acceptance Capacity (WAC), to the issue of tolerance for outdoor cat s and support for
24 cat management WAC refers to the maxim um acceptable size of a wildlife population tolerated by a community (Carpenter, Decker, & Lipscomb, 2000; Decker & Purdy, 1988; Riley & Decker, 2000a) and has been used to measure tolerance for cougars ( Puma concolor ; (Riley & Decker, 2000b) white tail ed deer ( Odocoileus virginianus ; (Organ & Ellingwood, 2000) beaver ( Castor canadensis ; (Siemer, Jonker, & Brown, 2004 ) and Canada geese ( Brant canadensis ; (Loker, Decker, & Schwager, 1999) WAC has previously been used to examine public acceptance for different wildlife, thereby allowing managers to make management and policy d ecisions that consider public opinion (Decker & Purdy, 1988; Riley & Decker, 2000a) WAC is a function of individual experiences and attitudes, perceptions of risks/benefits, perceptions of current population trends, and demographic variables (Carpenter et al., 2000; Decker & Purdy, 1988; Riley & Decker, 2000b) WAC also is influenced by stakeholder characteristics generally increasing with increased education and decreasing with age (Lischka, Riley, & Rudolph, 2009) WAC influences attitudes about wildlife management (Campbell & Mackay, 2003; Lischka et al., 2009; Riley et al., 2002) Low levels of WAC indicate support for reducing wildlife (Riley & Decker, 2000b) In measuring acceptance capacity for cats, this research applied the concept of Wildlife Acceptance Capacity (WAC) and toler ance to the non native and controversial domestic cat. Cat Acceptance Capacity In this study, tolerance for out door cats is described as cat acceptance capacity (CAC); low CAC scores indicate d support for reducing the outdoor cat population and high scores indicate d support for current or higher levels of cats. The goals of this study were to (1) determine the demo graphic, situational, and affective factors influencing
25 CAC; and to (2) evaluate the predictive relationship between CAC and attitudes toward cat management strategies. We expect ed most participants to prefer fewer outdoor cat s. W e expected lower CAC score s among respondents who reported more negative experiences with outdoor cats and who perceived greater risks from outdoor cats We expected cat owners, feed ers and respondents with positive attitudes toward cats to indicate support for current or high leve ls of cats (expressed by high scores on CAC ) We expected CAC to be higher among individual s who expressed strong support for cat rights. We expected reported CAC scores to be lower among participants who perceived higher cat population levels. S upport f or cat control typically varie s by gender; men support more aggressive controls, including lethal methods while women favor non lethal methods, including TNR (Ash & Adams, 2003; Loyd & Miller, 2010a, 2010b) Females mention love for cats as the primary reason for feeding cats (Centonze & Levy, 2002; Clancy et al., 2003) Therefore, we measured gender, cat ownership, cat feeding and attitudes toward cats as key predictors of CA C. In this study, cats were treated as a natural or ecological risk item, rather than a n anthropogenic source of risk, such as pollution or nuclear power. In this study, we measured ecological risk perceptions toward outdoor cats using a reduced set of p reviously measured items assessing the impacts of cats on the health of ecosystems, wildlife and people (McFarlane & Witson, 2008) To accomplish our second goal, we explored general attitudes toward cat management and the role CAC plays in influenci ng those attitudes. The debate about
26 outdoor cats often centers on cat management, including the acceptance of cat colonies. Given previous research suggesting a predictive relationship between public tolerance for wildlife and support for management initi atives, we expected CAC to drive support for cat manageme nt. Identifying the factors that influence tolerance for outdoor cats and the relationship between tolerance and attitudes toward management, are essential step s in resolving conflicts over cat manag ement and developing humane and effective strategies for the thousands of outdoor cats in Florida. Methods Survey Design We developed survey questions after consultation with experts in the fields of wildlife ecology and animal welfare and discussions w ith proponents of TNR and wildlife advocates. We described free roaming owned and unowned, friendly and unapproachable animals unowned cats because few animals have outward signs of ownership (t ag or microchip) Respondents included undergraduate students enrolled in a general science course at the University of Florida who received course credit for their participation. These classes were selected because students had been assigned a reading tha t labeled outdoor cats as a non native species and described the potential ecological impacts on wildlife and health risks to people and wildlife. Therefore, we expected a priori knowledge about outdoor cats and cat related risks to be similar among studen ts. The written survey included 83 items focused on: (1) experiences with outdoor cats, (2) beliefs and attitudes about cats and cat management, (3) perceptions of current cat populations and tolerance for future cat populations, and (4) perceptions of ris ks. We classified experiences as positive, negative and neutral (Table 2 1). We summed the experience
27 items to create two scales representative of experience frequency, including positive experiences (4 items) and negative experiences (5 items). We measure d beliefs about outdoor cats using 12 statements on a progressive scale (1=strongly disagree, 5=strongly agree) (Table 2 2 ). We measured perceived current cat population (0=too many cats 1=the right number of cats) and tolerance for future cat population t rends (1=decrease, 2= stay the same, to 3=increase). Like previous wildlife studies, we used tolerance for future populations as a proxy measure for Acceptance Capacity (Lischka et al., 2009; Riley & Decker, 2000b) Established scales were used to asse ss ecological risk perceptions, specifically, we used a reduced 10 item scale that measured the perceived impact and acceptability of outdoor cats and feelin gs about this effect on the environment, wildlife, and people (Axelrod, McDaniels, & Slovic, 1999; McDaniels, Axelrod, & Slovic, 1995; McFarlane & Witson, 2008) (Table 2 3). Because of the inverse relationship betwe en perceived risks and benefits, the positive end of this scale represented perceived benefits while the negative end represented perceived risk (1=negative, 5=positive). Respondents rated their attitudes toward cats on a scale ranging from 1=hate to 5=lov e. The attitudes toward management scale included 13 statements, based on scales developed by Dabritz et al. (2006) and Lord (2008) (Table 2 4). The survey concluded with questions about cat ownership, feeding, gender, age, and years in school. For all que stions we asked respondents to report experiences with and perceptions of outdoor cats not owned by them. Cat owners completed additional questions about the number of owned cats, their ability to control outdoor access, and the vaccination and sterilizati option.
28 Data Analyses (Nunnally, 1978; Vaske, 2008) Factor analysis was used to evaluate construct validity for the scales w e coll apsed into single items. We reported factor loadings >.30 and Eigenvalues > 1. For all tests SPSS 18 (Statistical Package for the S ocial Sciences, IBM) was used. square analysis to evaluate the influence of gender on cat ownership and cat feeding, as well as differences in cat ownership b etween feeders and non feeders. Effect sizes for significant chi square results are V 2 ) represents effect size ( 2 =.01 is a small effect, 2 =.09 is a medium effect, and 2 =.25 is a large effect) (Cohen, 1988) Respondents reported perceptions of the e ffectiveness of both TNR and cat impoundment. Therefore, we used a repeated measure ANOVA to evaluate perceptions of both cat management strategies. Post hoc t tests were used to evaluate significant results. A n exploratory factor analysis with varimax rotation resulted in two factors explaining 31% of the variance in cat beliefs. Two items did not fit into the factor and w ere removed. From the resulting two factors, we created two composite scales representing individual beliefs about cats beliefs about cats cat impacts 2 2). We used paired t tests to com beliefs about cats cat impacts beliefs. The 10 item risk perception scale addressed the perceived impact and acceptability of outdoor cats and feelings about this effect on the environment, wildlife,
29 and the reliability of these items. We removed one item it detracted from reliability. The final scale had 9 items and We r an a confirmatory factor analysis to assess scale reliability Our results indicated a one factor solution explaining 49% of the total va riance (KMO = .887) (Table 2 3). The nine items were then combined into a composite scale with a range of 1 5 (lower sc ores represented more negative perceptions of cat impacts). Two items detracted from the reliability of the attitudes toward management leaving an 11 item scale (Table 2 items. To identify the best model for predicting CAC, we ran a stepwise logistic regression with CAC recoded as dichotomous ( 1=decrease, 0=all other responses). Variables of interest were identified a priori based on the existing WAC literature and included items expected to influence CAC, such as situational variables (experiences) and affective factors (beliefs a nd attitudes about cats and cat management, risk perceptions and perceptions o f the current cat population). Compared to affective and situational variables, demographic variables were not expected to be s trong predictors of tolerance. Moreover, our intere st was primarily in the influence of bel iefs, attitudes and experience. Therefore, the demographic variables (cat ownership, cat feeding and gender) were entered as a separate step to see what influence, if any, they had on the initial model. Change in lik elihood ratio identified the best model.
30 To determine whether CAC predicted attitudes toward cat management we performed a multivariate analysis of variance MANOVA. Management attitudes were the dependent variables with CAC as the sole dichotomous predict or. Results Socio demographic Variables Surveys were distributed in the spring of 2011. The survey was distributed to 663 undergraduate students and completed by 381 students (153 males, 206 females, 23 unidentified), for a response rate of 58%. The remov al of missing cases red uced the sample to n=265 cases. Most respondents (80%) were college freshm e n. A quarter (24%) of the respondents owned at least one cat In addition, a quarter of the respondents reporte d feeding an outdoor cat (25%). Of the cat own ers, more than half reported owning an outdoor cat (59%). Few owners indicated support for keeping their cats indoors ( 26 %). There were no gender differences in cat ownership ( 2 =0.212, p =.65) or cat feeding ( 2 =0.111, p =.74). However, non owners ( 19 %) were less likely than owners ( 51 %) to feed outdoor cats ( 2 =32.57, p V =.30). Situational and Affective Variables Most respondents had seen cats in their neighborho od or in their yard, had enjoyed watching an outdoor cat and/or heard about problems with outdoor cats; fewer had observed a cat hunting or scaring birds, had a pet attacked, or had fed, pet or adopted an outdoor cat (Table 2 1). A number of respondents (1 0%) indicated they had been attacked by an outdoor cat (Table 2 1). On average, respondents experienced significantly more positive experiences with outdoor cats ( M =0.39, SD =0.32) than negative ones ( M =0.28, SD= 0.24, t =7.08, p <.001, r =.34). Of those res pondents who indicated attitudes toward cats, most (55%) expressed affection for cats, but 21% did
31 not care about cats, and 24% did not like cats. On average, respondents expressed positive attitudes toward cats ( M =3.46, SD= 1.24). Across the cats rights belief statements, 33 50% of the respondents indicated a lives, and whether wildlife and cats should have equal access to the outdoors (Table 2 2 ). Another 27 47% of re spondents agreed with the aforementioned statements a nd less than a third disagreed. The majority of respondents believed that outdoor cats can find their way home, survive without humans, kill wildlife, and compete with wildlife for food (Table 2 2). Some respondents expressed a willingness to reduce cats to benefit Respondent beliefs about ( M =3.27, SD= cat impacts M =3.33, SD =0.63) were comparable. Respondents were neutral about the risks outdoor cats pose to wildlife and people ( M =2.87, SD= 0.65) (Table 2 and 14% rep population (58%) and only 5% supported an increase. CAC for all respondents fell M= 1.47, SD= 0.60). Model Results The first of our two models investigated the influence of experiences, beliefs, at titudes and perceptions on CAC. This model correctly classified individuals 81% of the time and explained 52% of the variance in CAC, ( 2 (7)= 10 9 3 5 p <.01). The frequency of positive or negative experie nces was not a significant predictor of CAC. Strong support for cat rights, positive risk perceptions (or benefits), and favorable attitudes
32 toward cats increased tolerance, while perceived risks to wildlife and perceptions of an elevated cat population de creased tolerance (Table 2 5). Strong wildlife rights decreased tolerance, though this was not a significant predictor of CAC ( 0.184, Wald 2 (1) =0.321, p =.571). Adding demographic items, such as gender, cat feeding and cat ownership added little to the model ( 2 (3)=5.08, p =.166). However, it is important to note that gender trended toward significance, with men more tolerant of outdoor cats and therefore less supportive of decreasing the future cat population than women ( 0.703, Wald 2 (1) =3.34, p =.068). While not significant, our results suggested that gender may play a role in influencing attitudes toward tolerance and c at management. Cat feeders also appeared more tolerant of outdoor cats, although these results were not significant ( 0.508, Wald 2 (1) =1.342, p =. 247). Cat Management and CAC On average, respondents strongly supported laws requiring rabies vaccination and identification for cats (tag or microchip) (Table 2 4). Fewer respondents agreed with the use of mandatory spay neuter laws, government control of outdoor cats, and the use of taxes for low cost spay/neuter programs A majority of respondents agreed t hat cats should be allowed to roam and disagreed with the need for a law prohibiting cats outdoors. A majority of respondents perceived TNR programs as an effective meth od of controlling outdoor cats. Repeated measures ANOVA results indicated significant differences in attitudes toward TNR and impoundment as management types ( F =142.17, p <.001, 2 =.27); TNR was perceived as significantly more effective than impoundment, ( M =0.96, SD =1.43, t =13.13, p <.001, r =.56). We conducted a MANOVA to determine whether CAC predicted attitudes toward cat management. There were no significant outliers or violations of assumptions of
33 normality, linearity, singularity or equal variances ( p >.001). There was a significant effect of CAC across the 11 attitudes toward managemen t items ( F =5.27, p <.001, 2 =.19), suggesting a moderate association between CAC and attitudes toward management. Individuals with lower CAC values had higher scores on the majority of items measuring attitude s about management ; two of the 11 items were not significant, r using tax dollars for low cost spay/neuter 2 6). Of the individual attitude items, CAC had the 2 =.074). Lower CAC values predicted support for active management strategies, including government control, the confinement of cats indoors, mandatory TNR, and the prohibition of outdoor cats. Discussion T olerance for wildlife is a function of experiences, attitudes, perceived risks and perceptions of current population trends (Carpenter et al., 2000; D ecker & Purdy, 1988; Riley & Decker, 2000b) This study indicates that tolerance for outdoor domestic cats is also a function these variables, but experiences wit h outdoor cats and socio demographic variables were not signif icant predictors of tolerance. It is possible that this finding is unique to our sample of undergraduate students and more research is n eeded to answer this question. Further, this study confirm e d the link between tolerance and support for active management for this domestic non native species While students agreed that cats pose risks to wildlife and faced increased risks compared to indoor only cats this knowledge failed to translate into supp ort for mandatory spay neuter laws or the confinement of cats indoors. Gender did not significantly pred ict tolerance for cats. Our results supported previous results with th e general public that found no significant gender differences in
34 WAC for mountain lions (Riley & Decker, 2000b) wolves (Peyton, Bull, & Holsman, 2007) and bears (Siemer, Hart, Decker, & Shanahan, 2009) In our study, m en had slightly higher CAC scores than women. This difference may be due to variation in perceptions of domestic an i mals rather than wild animals. Women often report more concern over animal cruelty, stronger attachment to domestic pets (Kellert & Berry, 1987) and concern for species conservation than men (Czech, Devers, & Krausman, 2001) Therefore, women may be more concerned about the possible dangers to cats and wildlife from allow ing cats to live outdoors and therefore expressed less tolerance. Among respondents, cat owners fed more cats than non owners. These results compare to previous studies of caretakers in Florida (Centonze & Levy, 2002) and residents in Ohio (L ord, 2008) Rates of cat feeding were similar to findings from Ohio (26%) (Lord, 2008) Rates of ownership and feeding were higher than previous reports of cat ownership (18%) and cat feeding in Alachua County (12%) (Levy, Gale, et al., 2003) Respondents were asked about feeding unowned outdoor cats, but without visible tags or collars, ownership status is difficult to d etermine. It is possible that respondents reported feeding animals owned by other people. High feeding levels may also be attributed to an increase in cat ownership; in the U.S., cat ownership has steadily increased and was estimated at 93.6 million in 201 0 (American Pet Products Manufacturers, 2010) The increase could be attributed to a higher conce ntration of outdoor cats on college campuses compared to other areas, an increase in people feeding outdoor cats locally, or differences in the behavior of college students compared to the general public.
35 Previous studies of cat caretakers indicated that the primary reason for feeding outdoor cats was sympathy and love (Centonze & Levy, 2002) Therefore, we expected cat fee ding and ownership to predict CAC. Neither feeding nor ownership was a significant predictor of CAC. However, negative attitude s about cats (e.g. hate) decreased tolerance for the outdoor cat population, while positi ve feelings increased support. These findings are consistent with previous research indicating that negative attitudes reduced hunter support for increasing cougar po pulations and strong and favorable attitudes toward wildlife increased tolerance (Riley & Decker, 2000b) and reduced stakeholder concern about bears (Siemer et al., 2009) Our results indicated no significant predi ctive relationship between negative or positive experiences and CAC. In previous studies, WAC decreased as the frequency and severity of the experiences increased (Lischka et al., 2009; Riley & Decker, 2000b) Negative experiences with wildlife decreased WAC for beavers, white tailed deer, geese (Loker et al., 1999) black bears (Siemer et al., 2009) and prairie dogs (Zinn, Manfredo, & Vaske, 2000) Negative experiences with cats influenced perceptions of cats as nuisance animals (Ash & Adams, 2003) and increased support for lethal management (Loyd & Miller, 2010a, 2010b) The aforementioned study did not ask respondents about positive experiences and was embedded within a larger survey sponsored by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. It is possible that our focus on cats rather than natural resources or the addition of positive experiences contributed to this difference. It is also possible that respondents do not view negative experiences with outdoor cats with the same degree of concern as interactions with a larger non domestic sp ecies, such as panthers, black bears, or deer.
36 It could be argued that results of the present study are limited by the selection of undergraduat e students on a college campus. We do not believe that the significant relationship s we reported and toleranc e for outdoor cats (CAC) would be any different in this populat ion than in the general public. This assertion is supported by the fact that our findings mirror previous results from studies of WAC with the general public (Carpenter et al., 2000; Decker & Purdy, 1988; Riley & Decker, 2000b) However, it is possible that the non significant relationships between experiences, socio demographic variables and tolerance were the result of limited student experiences with ou tdoor cats, including cat ownership and cat feeding due to residence in a dormitory. Best Predictors of CAC We assessed the influence of situational variables (i.e., experiences), affective variables (e.g., beliefs about cats, attitudes toward cats) and demographic items, such as cat ownership, feeding and gender on tolerance or CAC. Demographic variables contributed an insignificant amount to the final predictive model. Our findings are consistent with previous research citing demographic variables alon e as poor predictors of resident tolerance of wolves (Peyton et al., 2007) and indicating that psychological variables are at least as important as situational specifics, species characteristics, and experience in predicting WAC. The situational and affective model predicted more than 50% of the variance in CAC. Strong and favorable reduced respondent concern and increased tolerance for outdoor cats. In this study, people who decreased cat numbers. This is consistent with findings f rom Wisconsin where resident (Coleman & Temple, 1993)
37 Previous researchers have suggested that it is the interaction of perceived benefits (subsistence, recreation, aesthetic, and scientific) and potential threats (damage, a ttack, or disease) that determine individual WAC or willingness to absorb the cost of living with animals (Riley & Decker, 2000b; Riley et al., 2002; Zinn et al., 2000) For example, perceived risk of deer vehicle r elated accidents influenced respondent tolerance for wildlife population levels (WAC) (Decker & Purdy, 1988) ; as perceived risk increased so did support for a smaller population ( Stout, Stedman, Decker, & Knuth, 1993) Respondents in Montana with a low WAC perceived greater risk of attack by cougars and worried more about attacks compared to other respondents (Riley & Decker, 2000a) Moreover, previous studies indicate that perceived benefits from a risk item can increase willin gness to accept the costs of living with that risk (Fischhoff, Slovic, Lichtenstein, Read, & Combs, 1978) Our model confirmed that increased risk perceptions lessened tolerance, while increased perceive d benefits amplified tolerance. Although the consequences of interactions with outdoor cats are not as potentially dire as a negative interaction with a mountain lion or a deer related vehicle accident, a number of nuisance behaviors, including the potential spread of diseases to pets (e.g., rabies, feline leukemia) and the fouling of yards, can increase t he perceived cost of living with outdoor cats. Despite the fact that the transmission risk of rabies to people is low, people continue to express concern over this high consequence event (Levy & Crawford, 2004) In addition, there are a number of widely discussed potential ecological risks to wildlife from outdoor cats, in cluding predation and disease transmission (Roelke et al., 1993) This is the first study to confirm the relationship between perceived ecological risks and toler ance and to acknowledge that the potential
38 benefits outdoor cats provide people (e.g. companionship, comfort) can influence tolerance and attitudes toward cat management. CAC and Attitudes toward Management Respondents generally supported outdoor access for cats and opposed laws prohibiting or confining cats indoors Moreover, few respondents were concerned about the consequences of fa iling to manage outdoor cats. A majority of respondents perceived TNR programs as an effective meth od of controlling outdo or cats. It is possible that visible TNR efforts across the community and the spay/neuter clinics supported through the Veterinary School contribute to general support for outdoor cats and perceptions of TNR as more effective than impoundment. CAC had a positive and significant effect on support for management methods low cost spay/neuter programs (low varia tion) and high variation in support for taxes, such that CAC did not influence these attitudes as strongly as the other items. Our results indicate that CAC plays an important predictive role in individual attitudes toward cat management. Specifically, low CAC predicted support for government control, the confinement of c ats indoors, and mandatory TNR. Implications for Conservation Outreach Human activities, such as cat abandonment, contribute to increased numbers of outdoor cats Therefore, effective cat control messages must target human behavior. C onservation organizations have attempted to reduce the outdoor cat population by developing education campaigns focused on the risks of cats to wildlife and the risk to outdoor cats from the outdoor lifestyle (American Bird Conservancy 2004) The
39 assumption of many of these initiatives is that education about risks will convince peo ple to keep their cats indoors. In this study, students were aware of the negative impacts of cats on wildlife and the environment and believed that cats negatively affected wildlife through the transmission of diseases, competition and direct killing. At the same time, respondents were supportive of outdoor access for cats and opposed laws confining cats. This fi nding suggests that knowledge of the potential impact of cats may not translate into attitudes favo ring aggressive cat management. Moreover, beliefs about cats significant predictor of to lerance, but Our results suggest that knowledge of ecological risks, or the risks cats pose to wildlife and the environment, may not direc tly influence tolerance or attitudes toward cat management. Despite variability in attitudes about cats, cat management, and risk perceptions, few (5%) individuals support ed a n increased cat population. Of all the predictors, perceptions about the current cat population had the strongest influence on tolerance. We suggest future studies test the effectiveness of various messages, including risks/benefits, cat welfare, and/or po pulation reduction on tolerance and attitudes toward management. Since its development, WAC has been used to evaluate public support for various management methods (Decker & Purdy, 1988) It is a useful tool, allowing managers to balance the competing interests of different groups and manage wil dlife populations in accordance with stakeholder tolerance and the biological limits of the environment (Kellert, Black, Rush, & Bath, 1996) Previous studies focused on WAC for
40 native wildlife; t his study expands the domain of this concept by identifying significant predictors of tolerance for a non native, domestic animal and identifying the predictive relationship between tolerance and support for active management methods. This research provide s important insights into the relationship between public perceptions, tolerance, and attitudes about outdoor cats that can inform policy decisions, support the development of creative and humane management strategies to improve cat welfare, and protect wi ldlife from the potential risk s associated with outdoor cats. This research is the first to expand the concept of acceptance capacity to a domesticated and non native species and suggests that many of the same variables that inf luence WAC apply to this mod el. However, additional studies are needed to explore the relationships between socio demographic, situational and affective variables and tolerance for outdoor cats among the general public and other stakeholders.
41 Table 2 1 S tudent experiences with out door cats Total (%) Positive Fed an outdoor cat 138 (36) Adopted an outdoor cat 83 (22) Enjoyed watching an outdoor cat 230 (60) Pet an outdoor cat (i.e. touched) 140 (37) Negative Observed a cat scaring birds 65 (17) Had a pet attacked by an outdoor cat 85 (22) Heard about problems with outdoor cats 202 (53) Personally injured by an outdoor cat 37 (10) Observed a cat hunting 134 (35) Neutral Observed a cat in my neighborhood 361 (95) Observed a cat in my yard 283 (74)
42 Table 2 2. F actor loadings and item responses based on an exploratory factor analysis with varimax rotation for 10 items from the reduced cat beliefs scale Responses (%) Factor Loadings Agree Neutral Disagree Mean (SD) Factor 1 Factor 2 Beliefs about ca ts Cats deserve to be free outdoors like other animals 35 47 18 3.24 (.94) .63 -Outdoor cats live happy healthy lives, comparable to indoor cats 27 44 29 2.99 (1.0) .57 -Most outdoor cats can find their way home on their o wn 47 38 15 3.43 (1.0) .52 -Outdoor cats do not pose a significant threat to wildlife 33 50 17 3.21 (.88) .52 -Wildlife and cats should have equal access to outdoors 41 44 15 3.37 (1.0 ) .47 -Most outdoor cats are able to survive without human he lp 47 33 20 3.35 (.96) .41 -Cat impact beliefs Outdoor cats kill wildlife 48 38 14 3.40 (.92) -.65 Outdoor cats compete with wildlife species for food 53 32 15 3.35 (.93) -.64 Outdoor cats transfer diseases to wildlife 41 45 14 3.35 (.88) -.51 I am willing to reduce outdoor cats to benefit wildlife 33 43 24 3.12 (.98) -.32 Note. Beliefs were estimated from a 5 poin t scale; collapsed here into 1= strongly disagree/disagree, 2=neither, 3=strongly agree/agree. KMO =0.72
43 Table 2 3. Perceptions of the risks cats pose based on the 9 item risk scale Mean (SD) Factor 1 To what extent do you believe outdoor cats ha ve an impact on the environment 2.78 (.70) .654 To what extent are the effects of outdoor cats on natural ecosystems acceptable to you 3.03 (.83) .731 What level of emotion do you feel when you think about outdoor cats and their effect on natural ecosys tems 2.88 (.72) .738 To what extent are the effects of outdoor cats on native wildlife acceptable to you 2.79 (.87) .704 What level of emotion you feel when you think about outdoor cats and their effect on native wildlife 2.81 (.73) .717 What threat do outdoor cats pose to wildlife 2.89 (.87) .521 To what extent do you believe outdoor cats have an impact on you 2.94 (.84) .698 To what extent is the presence of outdoor cats in your community acceptable to you 2.90 (.92) .802 What level of emotion do you feel when you think about outdoor cats and their effect on your community 2.85 (.75) .690 Total Scale a 2.87 (.65) a Note : Perceptions were measured on a 5 point scale with (1= negative and unacceptable and 5=positive and acceptable )
44 Table 2 4 Respondent attitudes toward cat management based on the reduced 11 item management scale Responses (%) Agree Neutral Disagree Mean SD Trap Neuter Return programs are an effective method of controlling outdoor cat populations 66 26 8 3.90 1.0 Trapping and impounding cats is an effective method for controlling outdoor cat p opulations 33 28 39 2.94 1.0 C at owners should be required to provide identification (tag or microchip) for their cats 66 22 12 3.78 1.1 Local governments should be responsible for controlling outdoor cats 34 41 25 3.09 1.0 Cats should be kept strictly indoors 21 33 46 2.66 1.0 I su pport mandatory spay neuter laws for cats 39 36 25 3.21 1.1 I support using tax dollars for low cost spay neuter programs 33 31 36 2.92 1.2 I support laws requiring that cats be vaccinated against rabies 76 20 4 4.07 0.87 Failing to address the manageme nt of outdoor cats will have serious implications for my community 36 40 24 3.16 1.0 There should be a law prohibiting cats from roaming freely 19 28 53 2.53 1.2 Cats should be allowed to roam free a 42 37 21 3.29 1.1 Note. Scores estimated from a 5 po int scale; collapsed here into 1= strongly disagree/disagree, 2=neither, 3=strongly agree/agree. a Reverse coded for calculations Table 2 5 Results of a stepwise logistic regression evaluating the potential predictors of tolerance f or outdoor cats ( CAC ) with demographic variables entered as a separate step Tolerance for outdoor cats (CAC) Model 1 Model 2 Independent Variable Positive Experiences 1.290 1.341 Negative Experiences 1.162 .854 Attitudes toward cats 0.474* .5 25** Beliefs about cats 1.199** 1.042** Cat Impacts .184 .096 Perceived Benefits .841* .843* CurrentPop (The right number of cats) 2.554** 2.609** Gender (Female) .703 Feed (No) .508 Own (No) .351 R 2 .52 .540 2 109.356** 5.084 Note. Cur rentPop represents a dichotomous measure of perceptions of the current cat population. values were reversed for ease of analysis. p <.05. ** p <.01.
45 Table 2 6 A comparison of attitudes toward cat management predicted by individual tolerance towa rd outdoor cats Tolerance toward cats (CAC) Increase or stay the same Decrease M S.E M S.E F p 2 Spay neuter and release programs are an effective method of controlling outdoor cat populations 3.76 0.10 4.14 0.08 9.25 .003 034 Trapping and impounding cats is an effective method for controlling outdoor cat populations 2.70 0.11 3.27 0.10 15.07 <.001 .054 Cat owners should be required to provide identification (tag or microchip) for their cats 3.58 0.11 4.03 0.09 10.29 .00 2 .038 Local governments should be responsible for controlling outdoor cats 2.96 0.10 3.32 0.08 7.68 .006 .028 Cats should be kept strictly indoors 2.39 0.10 2.90 0.09 14.53 <.001 .052 I support mandatory spay neuter laws for cats 2.98 0.11 3.43 0.09 10.58 .001 .039 I support using tax dollars for low cost spay neuter programs 2.92 0.11 3.01 0.10 0.399 .528 .002 I support laws requiring that cats be vaccinated against rabies 4.05 0.09 4.13 0.07 0.453 .501 .002 Failing to address the management of outdoor cats will have serious implications for my community 2.90 0.10 3.49 0.08 21.10 <.001 .074 There should be a law prohibiting cats from roaming freely 2.28 0.12 2.81 0.10 11.96 .002 .043 Cats should be allowed to roam free a 2.38 0.11 2.97 0.09 17.17 <.001 .061 Note For all tests df (1, 263) and n=265 a Reverse coded for analysis
46 CHAPTER 3 THE INFLUENCE OF PERCEPTIONS, ATTITUDES AND EXPERIENCES ON THE PERCEIVED RISKS AND BENEFITS OF OUTDOOR CATS The Perceived Risks and Benefits of Outdoor Ca ts Outdoor cats ( Felis catus ) pose a potenti al risk to wildlife and people. Incidences of cat predation and competition with wildlife have been widely addressed in the fields of wildlife conservation (Baker et al., 2 008; Beckerman et al., 2007; Coleman et al., 1997) and veterinary medicine (Barrows, 2004; Jessup, 2004; Levy & Crawford, 2004) The spread of diseases from domesticated cats to wildlife and people is a poorly unde rstood risk. C ats serve as incidental hosts of rabies (Dubey, Miller, & Frenkel, 1970; Nutter, Dubey, et al., 2004) Cats make up the largest percent of rabies cases in domestic animals ; A total of 303 rabid cats, 7 1 cattle and 69 dogs were reported in 2010 (CDC, 2012b) However, the rate of rabies infection in cats is much lower than that of wildlife (Department of Health and Human Services 2010; Slater, 2004) Despite the potential threat from rabies, there have been only 2 cases of rabies to human tran sm ission in the last 50 years (CDC, 2012 a ). In 2010, t he majority of reported rabies cases (92%) were associated with wildlife (CDC, 2012a) Therefore, t he risk of rabies transmission from cats to people is a low probability risk (Levy & Crawford, 2004) Rabies transmission is an example of the type of high consequence low probability event that is often overestimated by the public and therefore widely discussed in the existing literature about outdoor cats (Slovic, 2000a; Zeckhauser & Viscusi, 1990) I ndirect effects of cats on wildlife and e cosystems have also been cited. These inc lude temporal or spatial avoidance of cats, including the alteration of foraging patterns, habitat selection, and other behaviors that affect adult and juvenile survival, clutch size, or clutch number (Baker, Ansell, Dodds, Webber, & Harris, 2003;
47 Beckerman et al., 2007; Sims, Evans, Newson, Tratalos, & Gaston, 2008) Cats also deposit large quantities of fecal matter into the environment, a source of fecal coliform bacteria that can pollute fresh and salt water syst ems (Dabritz et al., 2006) O utdoor cats are also subject to health risks including disease, starvation, collision with vehicles, and attack by dogs, coyotes, and humans (Slat er, 2004; HSUS 2010) N umerous examples of people inflicting intentional harm (e.g., shooting, poison) on outdoor cats (Jessup, 2004) exist A study of 169 outdoor kittens found 75% of the newborns died or disappeared within 6 months of birth; the overwhelming majority of the incidents (68%) involved attacks by stray dogs or car col lision (Nutter, Levine, & Stoskopf, 2004) This has led to speculation that the lifespan for indoor only cats is significantly greater than that of outdoor cats (Jessup, 2004) Risk/benefits perceptions (whether from technological or natural hazards) play a critical role in individual risk assessments and are therefore as important as determining the true risk of exposure to injury or disease (Gore & Knuth, 2 009) Perceived risk/benefits can influence stakeholder tolerance of animals (Riley & Decker, 2000a) attitudes toward management (Agee & Miller, 2009) and support for conservation or eradication (Kell ert, 1985) There was a strong and direct relationship between perceived risks of outdoor cats on wildlife and the environment and tolerance of outdoor cats, which in turn predicted attitudes toward cat management techniques, such as removal to a long ter m no kill shelter, support for Trap Neuter Return activities, and the confinement of cats indoors (Wald & Jacobson, 2013) Therefore, efforts to manage outdoor cats require an understanding of indivi dual perceptions and toler ance.
48 This study examined the influence of situational variables (e.g., experiences with outdoor cats), cognitive variables (e.g., attitudes toward cats), and demographic variables (e.g., gender, cat ownership) on perceptions of the risks that outdoor cat s pose to the ecosystem and the benefi ts that cats provide to people. This study quanti fied the positive experiences or perceived benefits cats provide to people, including companionship and the control o f pest species (e.g., rodents). These benefits are i mportant to address when measuring risk, due to the inverse and potentially attenuating influence of benefits on individual risk perceptions (Fischhoff et al., 1978; McDaniels, Axelrod, Cavanagh, & Slovic, 1997) and have previously been ignored in studies of cat related impacts on the environment and people. In addition, we analyzed the potential role that perceptions of risks and benefits play in mediating the relationship between attitudes toward outdoor ca ts and tolerance for the future outdoor cat population. A Risk Perception Framework Risk is the probability that an event will occur and the likelihood that exposure will result in a negative outcome (e.g., injury, damage, or loss) (Breakwell, 2007) Perceptions of ecological risks are defined as threats to the health and produc tivity of individual species, communities, environmental processes, and the ecosystem (Mc Daniels et al., 1997) As perceptions of ecological impact increase, perceptions of risk increase and human benefits decrease (McDaniels et al., 1997) Ecological risks have previously been studied with regard to human activities and their negative impact on ecosystem services (e.g., clearcutting in forests, air pollution) (Cavanagh, McDaniels, Axelrod, & Slovic, 2000; McDaniels et al., 1997; Williamson, Parkins, & McFarlane, 2005) Few studies have addressed the risks associated with natural
49 hazards (e.g., floods, earthquakes, volcanoes) (Axelrod et al., 1999; McDaniels et al., 1995) Four factors expla in significant variability in lay perceptions of ecological risk (R2=.96), including impact on species (humans and nonhumans), human benefits, perceived control, and knowledge of the impacts (McDaniels et al., 1997) Impact on species was the most important factor predicting ecological risk perceptions (McDaniels et al., 1997) McFarlane and Witson (2008) expanded this theory to include risks associated with a natural disturb anc e event in protected areas. This study further expands the concept of ecological risk by treating domestic cats as a source of natural risk and measuring risk perceptions associated with cat predation on wildlife. We focus on risk within the assumptions an d limitation s of the psychometric paradigm. This paradigm assumes risk is subjective, quantifiable, and predictable, and therefore can be modeled and measured using a variety of survey techniques (Slovic, 2000a; Slovic Flynn, & Layman, 2000) ; it also assumes that individual evaluation of risk is influenced by psychological, social, institutional and cultural factors (Slovic, 2000a ; Slovic et al., 2000) Results of previous empirical research on wildlife related risk have provided a basis for expectations about the explanatory relationship between risk perceptions and several cognitive, situational, and demographic variables (Sjoberg, 1998) Familiarity with a risk should increase knowledge and therefore lower risk perceptions (Slovic, 2000a; Slovic et al., 2000) E xperi ence with a carnivore reduce d perceptions of risk from carnivores (Bjurlin & Cypher, 2005; Rskaft, Bjerke, Kaltenborn, Linnell, & Andersen, 2003) Seeing the endangered San Joaquin kit fox ( Vulpes macrotis mutica ) (Bjurlin & Cypher, 2005) black bears, or a sign about black bears re duced concern (Siemer et al.,
50 2009) In Norway, fear of carnivores declined as experience increased (Rskaft et al., 2003) However, i t is important to note that the type of experience, the type of animal, and the frequency of the in teractions matter. Perceived risk increased as the severity of the experience with cougars incre ased (e.g., observing the animal in the wild vs. attack or threat to pet, livestock or self) (Riley & Decker, 2000a) People were less tolerant of wolves and bears in close proximity to people than of lynx and wolverines (Kleiven, Bjerke, & Kaltenborn, 2004) Moreover, negative experiences (e.g., damage to property) with beavers, white tailed deer and geese (Loker et al., 1999) black bears (Siemer et al., 2009) and prairie dogs (Zinn et al., 2000) amplified concerns. Risk, in the latter instance, referred to more than just the probability or perception of risk from injury or death to the individual; it also included concerns about zoonotic diseases, economic damage, and damage to property (e.g., des troying garden, fouling yard). Negative experiences with outdoor cats influenced respondent perceptions of cats as nuisance animal s (Ash & Adams, 2003) and support for lethal management (Loyd & Miller, 2010a, 2010b) People in rural Wisconsin were more likely to attempt cat population control if they perceived a higher density of cats in their area (Coleman & Temple, 1993) Affect is an involu ntary, immediate emotional response to an external event (Slovic, 2000a; Slovic et al., 2000; Zajonc, 1980) Affect can be positive (like) or negative (dislike); it can influence decision making and action (Zajonc, 1980) Affection is among the first and most important human feelings guiding cognition and behavior, including perceived risks and benefits (Finucane, Akhakami, Slovic, & Johnson, 2000;
51 Zajonc, 1980) Affect pred icts individual attitudes and perceived benefits of a risk object (Finucane et al., 2000; Slovic, 2000b; Slovic et al., 2000) There is a strong correlation between affection, attitudes, and risk perceptions; if an activity is liked, it is valued as highly beneficial and perceived as a low risk event (Finucane et al., 2000; Slovic, 2000a) People are more willing to accept the costs of livi ng with a risk if they perceive immediate benefits from the object (Fischhoff et al., 1978) There are a number of potential physical and psychological benefits of pet ownership that may reduce risk perceptions and support for the lethal management of outdoor cats (Friedmann, 1995; Friedmann, Katche r, Lynch, & Thomas, 1985; Poresky & Hendrix, 1990; Vining, 2003; Zasloff & Kidd, 1994) In California and Ohio, cat owners were more likely to oppose government initiatives to control cats than non owners (Dabritz e t al., 2006; Lord, 2008) and in Australia, cat owners were generally less supportive of cat control initiatives than non owners (Grayson, Calver, & Styles, 2002) The human cat bo nd appears to exist approach outdoor animals. Many caretakers report feeling a strong bond with unsocialized outdoor cats and voluntarily spend significant amounts of time, e ffort, and money (ranging from $260 to $2,400 annually) caring for them (Centonze & Levy, 2002) Previous researchers have reported dramatic differences in attitudes and most (Kellert & Berry, 1987) Men are generally less concerned about hazards and risk than are women
52 (Slovic et al., 2000) Women reported higher levels of personal risk from mountain lions (Thornton & Quinn, 2010; Zinn & Pierce, 2002) However, there were also cases where gender did not result in signif icant difference in concern over mountain lions (Riley & Decker, 2000b) wolves (Peyton et al., 2007) and bears (Siemer et al., 2009) Identifying the perceived risk/benefits from outdoor cats will help predict individual tolerance, attitudes toward management, and support for eradication o r education programs. To explore these issues, we address ed the following questions: Which individual characteristics, such as cat ownership, cat feeding, affection for cats, and gender, will predict risk percep tions/benefits of outdoor cats? How do situa tional and cognitive variables influ ence risk/benefits perceptions? Do perceived risks/benefits mediate the relationship between attitudes toward outdoor cats and tolerance for the future cat population? Methods Survey research was conducted from Decemb er 2010 to May 2011. The survey owned and unowned friendly and unapproachable free roaming cats. The written questionnaire contained 11 primary items focused on 1) experiences with outdoor cats, 2) beliefs about cat s and cat management, 3) perceptions of current cat population and tolerance of future cat populations, and 4 ) perceptions of risk/benefits. Experiences included positive items (i.e., enjoyed watching cats, fed cats, pet cats, and adopting a cat) and negat ive items (i.e., observed a cat scaring birds, had a pet attacked, personally injured by a cat, heard about problems with cats, observed a cat hunting). We created two summative scales of both pos itive and negative experiences. We measured cat frequency on a 4 point progressive scale ranging from ( 1 = never see cats) to (4 = daily sightings). Current
53 population measured participant perceptions of current cat population levels as ( 1 = too many cats), or (0 = the right number or too few cats). Attitudes towar d cats was coded on a 5 point scale (1 = hates cats, 5 = loves cats). Beliefs about cats were measured using a list of 12 statement s about outdoor cats (Table 3 1). Respondents were asked to indicate the extent to which they agreed with the statements on a 5 point, bi polar scale that ranged from (1 = strongly dis agree) to (5 = strongly agree). To measure perceptions of risks/benefits we used a reduced set (10 items) of the aforementioned risk dimensions related to the impact, acceptability, and emotionalit y of the impact of cats on a) ecosystems, b) wildlife, and c) people on a 5 poi nt progressive scale (Table 3 2). In discussing these measures below, we will refer to two composite scales ecological risks Tolerance for future cat populations was treated as a dichotomous variable in which 1 = decrease the cat population and 0 = all other responses. The survey concluded with general questions regarding cat ownership, cat feedin g, gender, and years in school. Cat owners were also a sked about the number of owned cats, their ability to control outdoor access, and the vaccination and sterilization status of their cats. Participants included 474 undergraduate students (191 males and 259 females) enrolled in two different general educati on ecology courses at the University of Florida. Course credi t was given for participation. These students were selected because course assignments addressed the issue of outdoor cats and therefore we assumed respondents would have some a priori knowledge about cat related risks and the animal welfare concerns.
54 A subsample of these data was used to examine factors influencing tolerance for outdoor cats ( Reported in Chapter 2 ). Results Dat a Reduction and Scale Reliability To interpret our results, we reported factor loadings > 0 .30, factors that accounted for at least 5% of the total variance, and Eigenvalues greater than 1. For all tests, 0 .60 were considered acceptabl e (Nunnally, 1978; Vaske, 2008) and items were removed if they detracted significantly from scale reliability. The positive experiences scale had a potential range of 0 1; the negative experiences scale had a potential range of 0 0 .80. An exploratory f actor analysis with orthogonal rotation confirmed previous findings (Wald & Jacobson, 2013 ). Therefore, we removed two item measure with two factors, about cats beliefs These factors explained 32% of the total variance and had potential ranges of 1 5 (Table 3 1). The risk perceptions items comprised two separate scales, one addressing the perceived impact and acce ptability of the risks cats pose to wildlife and the environment (7 0 .84 and a scale measuring perceived 0 .79 (Table 3 2). To evaluate demographic differences in risk perceptions and benefits, which were measured using a single scale, w e ran a series of repeated measures analysis of variance (ANOVA) with between subject factors of cat ownership and gender. Partial 2 is reported as a measure of effect size. Post hoc i ndependent t tests were used to further evaluate significant results. Due to small cell sizes, differences between feeders and non feeders on perceived risks were analyzed separately from
55 gender and cat ownership. In addition, w e conducted a repeated meas ures ANOVA test comparing the influence of cat feeding on risk perceptions and benefits We used ordinary least squares (OLS) regression to determine the variables ecological risks The independent var iables tested included perceptions of current cat populations, affection for cats, perceived frequency of outdoor cats, experiences with cats, and attitudes toward outdoor cats. Previous research suggested that strong support for cat rights and positive pe rceptions of cat benefits increased individual tolerance for outdoor cats, while risk perceptions decreased tolerance (Wald & Jacobson, 2013 ). To further explore this relationship, we examined whether perceived risks and benefits mediated the relationship between attitudes toward outdoor cats and tolerance. A mediating variable is one that influences, partially or completely, the relationship between a predictor and outcome variable (Baron & Kenny, 1986) To determine a mediating relationship, we beliefs about cats igure 1, path c). Next, we established a beliefs about cats ecological risks 3 3 1, path a2). We then tested the predictive relationship betw een both of the risk scales as potential mediators of tolerance (Figure 3 1, path b1 and b2). Finally, mediation was confirmed by establishing that the difference between the total effect (c path) and the direct effect t effect f=a 1 b 1 + a 2 b 2 was significantly different from zero. To test mediation we used bootstrapping, a nonparametric sampling procedure ( Preacher & Hayes, 2008) Bootstrapping is an improvement over the causal steps
56 model, proposed by Barron and Kenny (1996), and the Sobel test (Sobel, 1982, 1986) because it does not assume normality and c an be used to estimate models where the outcome variable, in this case tolerance, is dichotomous (Hayes & Preacher, 2010; Preacher & Hayes, 2008) This approach requires responses with complete data on the variables of interest, so for this test we used a subsample of n= 333 in dividuals with complete data on the variables of interest Risk Perceptions A total of 827 students received a copy of the survey; 474 completed it, for a response rate of 57%. On average, participants perceived more benefits from outdoor cats to people (M=3.01, SE= 0 .04) than risks to the environment (M=2.89, SE= 0 .03) F(1,433)=22.0, p< 0 2 = 0 .05 There were no significant gender differences in risk perceptions. S ignificant differences were obtained across both risk scales between owners (M=3.04, SE= 0 .06) and non owners (M=2.87, SE= 0 .03) F(1,433)=7.00, p< 0 .01, 2 = 0 .02. A significant interaction was observed between cat ownership and risk perceptions F(1,433)=4.60, p< 0 2 = 0 .01. Owners perceived fewer serious risks from cats to the environment (M=2. 95, SE= 0 .05) than non owners (M=2.83, SE= 0 .03) and this difference approached significance t(445) = 1.91, p= 0 .057, r= 0 .09. Owners perceived cats as more beneficial to people (M=3.13, SE= 0 .07) than non owners (M=2.90, SE= 0 .04) t(445) = 3.26, p< 0 .001, r= 0 .15 We compared the influence of feeding on participant perceptions of the ecological risks feeders differed in their overall perception of risks F(1,445)=8.33, p< 0 2 = 0 .02. Feeders scores on both risk scales were higher (M=3.04, SE= 0 .06) than non feeders (M=2.86, SE= 0 .03). In addition, there was a significant interaction between feeding and risk perceptions
57 F(1,445)=8.26, p< 0 2 = 0 .02. Overall feeders viewed fewer risks to the ecosystem (M=2.94, SE= 0 .05) than non feeders (M=2.85, SE= 0 .03), but this difference was not significant t(445) = 1.76, p= 0 .08. Feeders perceived a significantly greater benefit from outdoor cats to people (M=3.14, SE= 0 .07) than non feede rs (M=2.88, SE= 0 .04) t(158.3) = 2.95, p< 0 .01, r= 0 .23. Situational and Cognitive Variables and Risk N agreement increased ecological risk perceptions whereas positive exp eriences with cats and strong beliefs about cats reduced ecological risk perceptions (Table 3 3). Positive attitudes toward cats and perceived frequency of seeing cats, while not significant predictors of perceived risks, had signs in the expected directio n. Positive attitudes toward cats positive experiences with cats, and positive beliefs about cats predicted positive benefits from cats to people. Negative experiences, perceptions of belief s predicted nega tive perceptions of the benefits to people. Mediation Mediation results indicated that beliefs about cats was a significant predictor of 1.167, Wald=34.51, p< 0 .001 (Figure 3 1 path c) along with both of the 0 ecological risks 0 .202, t=4.12, p< 0 .001 (Figure 3 1, path a 2 and a 1 1.16, Wald=20.00, p< 0 .001 (path b 2 Ecological risks were 0 .289, Wald= 0 .86, p= 0 .35 (path b 1 beliefs about cats 1.17, Wald=34.51, p< 0 beliefs about cats
58 through both risk scales 1.14, Wald=25.82, p< 0 significant (Table 3 beliefs about cats ecological risks ecological risks cat impact beliefs and tolerance for outdoor cats (Figure 3 Cat im pact beliefs 0 .472, Wald=7.92, p< 0 .005 (Figure 3 0 .418, t= 7.09, p< 0 ecological risks 0 .370, t= 8.21, p< 0 .001 (Figure 3 2, path a 1 and a 2 1.16, Wald=21.25, p< 0 .001 (path b 2 Ecological risks .363, Wald=1.30, p=.25 (path b 2 cat impact 0 .472, Wald=7.92, p< 0 .005 (path c). The direct effect of cat impact 0 .019, Wald= 0 .008, p= 0 .927 0 .620 and were significant (Table 3 5). ecological risks Discussion This study provides insight into the influence of situational, demographic, and cognitive variables on t he perceived risks and benefits related to outdoor cats. Our results confirmed an inverse relationship between risks and benefits related to cats and provided insight into the role that experiences, beliefs and socio demographic variables play in influenc e risks and benefits. However, t his study also suggest ed that when separated into two scales, perceived benefits to people are more important than
59 ecological risk perceptions in predicting individual tolerance for outdoor cats. Campaigns such as those sp onsored by the American Bird Conservancy, are aimed at reducing the outdoor cat population As motivation they provide numerous examples of the ecologic al risks cats pose to wildlife. Given the non significa nt mediation of risk perceptions on the relationship between beliefs and tolerance, which is a known predictor of support for cat management (Wald and Jacobson, 2013 ), this research suggests that providing evidence of ecological risks from cats may not dir ectly decrease tolerance or increase support for active cat management or efforts to keep cats indoors Low Levels of Cat Related Risk In general, perceived risk scores were moderate (2.70> M <3.06), suggesting that most participants found the risks of c ats to wildlife and the environment acceptable and the perceived benefits to people modest There are a number of possible explanations for this finding. It is possible that the risks associated with outdoor cats are perceived as a natural hazard rather th an an anthropogenic one. Natural risk items, such as disease or wildfire, are generally perceived as less harmful to the environment, wildlife, and people than man made events, such as pollution or urbanization (McFarlane & Witson, 2008) Secondly, the killing of birds by cats often takes place outdoors in wooded areas, not visible to most people. Perceived risks often increase as the severi ty of the experience with wildlife increase; therefore, individuals perceive greater risks when they have been threatened or attacked themselves than if they have passively observed the animal in the wild (Riley & Decker, 2000b) It is possible that the hunting behavior of outdoor cats, taking place away from human hab itation, has contributed to reduced perception s of risk. It is possible that students living on campus
60 had few experience s with outdoor cats which contributed to the reduced perceptions of ecological risk The Attenuation of Risk Americans own approxima tely 86.4 million cats (APPMA 2012) The majority of pet owners view their animals as a significant member of the family (McNicholas et al., 2005) (Kellert & Berry, 1987) In a study of attitudes toward outdoor cats in Ohio, 48.7% of the participants cited positive feelings, while 14.3% expressed negative or angry feelings (Lord, 2008) Undergraduate students at the University of Florida reported similar rates of affection for cats (53%) (Wald & Jacobson, 2013 ). Affection generally increases positive attitudes toward a risk event and lowers risk perceptions (Slovic et al., 2000) These results confirmed an inverse relationship between positive attitudes toward cats, high rates of cat ownership, and positive experiences with outdoor cats and risk perceptions. Consistent with other studies, we found a number of significant differences between cat owners and non owners and cat feeders and non feeders. Owners and feeders reported more negative experiences with outdoor cats than non owners/ non feeders. Two of the negative experience items measured included observations of cats scaring birds or cats hunting. Cats often bring prey home and this behavior may have contributed to cat owner observation of wildlife predation and hun ting (Turner & Bateson, 2000) Despite these experiences, o wners and feeders perceived fewer negati ve risks to the environment and more positive benefits from cats to people than non owners. Owners and feeders acknowledged risks to wildlife from cats. However,
61 ecological risk s Australia, which found that owners were less concerned about risks to wildlife from cats than non owners (Grayson et al., 2002) and less concerned about the environmental impact of free ranging cats (Dabritz et al., 2006) cat owners expressed stronger opposition to governmental control of cats (Dabritz et al., 2006; Lord, 2008) and lower support for aggressive o r lethal cat control initiatives than non owners (Grayson et al., 2002) This finding corroborates an inverse relationship between perceived risks and perceived benefits, with the former decreasi ng as perceived immediate benefits from the object increase (Fischhoff et al., 1978) In the case of cats, the positive benefits perceived by cat owners/feeders may contribute to their acceptance of these animals and counteract the perceived risks associated with cats. Experience, Beliefs and Risk Perceptions The more negative experienc es individuals had with outdoor cats, the more likely they were to express negative perceptions of ecological risk. Previous research has suggested a similar relationship between experience with nuisance animals and risk perceptions Negative experiences ( e.g., damage to property) with beavers, white tailed deer and geese (Loker et al., 1999) black bears (Siemer et al., 2009) and prairie dogs (Zinn et al., 2000) amplified concerns over the presence of these anima ls. Negative experiences with outdoor cats increased negative perceptions of cats (Ash & Adams, 2003) and support for lethal management techniques (Loyd & Miller, 2010a, 2010b) However, the context of the experience as well as the frequency of the experience appears to be important in predicting perceived risk. Indeed, in this study the frequency of the positive experiences was associated with both increased perceived positive benefits to people and lower perceived risks from cats to the environment.
62 cat impact s negative perceptions of the risk cats pose to ecosystems than participants with low beliefs about cats from cats to people and individual tolerance. These findings are consistent with previous research indicating that negative attitudes toward cougars ( Puma concolor ) reduced hunter support for increasing po pulation levels (Riley, 1998) and strong and favorable wildlife benefits beliefs lessened stakeholder concern about bears (Siemer et al., 2009) Our findings, along with the results of previous research, indicate that willingness to absorb the cost of living with wildlife is d ependent upon individual attitudes and perceptions (Riley, 1998; Riley et al., 2002; Zinn et al., 2000) Generating Tolerance for Cats The relationship between beliefs and tolerance was mediated by individual percep tions of the perceived benefits to people from outdoor cats. P erceived benefits from a risk item increased individual willingness to accept the costs of living with that risk (Fischhoff et al., 1978) Our results suggest that the perceived risks of cats to wildlife and the environment alone may not be enough to influence tolerance for out door cats or a ttitudes toward cat management. Instead, perceived benefits to people was more important than perceived risks to wildlife and the environment, and more important in predicting tolerance for cats than beliefs alon e. This finding has implicatio ns for the future development of effective cat management pol icies and education campaigns. Current messages focused on reducing the number of cats outdoors almost always focus on the potential risks that cats pose to wildlife and ecosystems and the potent ial risks that the outdoor lifestyle imposes on cats. Our results suggest that risks are not the most important predictor of tolerance. Policy makers, managers, and educators may
63 be better off framing the issue of outdoor cats as it relates to perceived be nefits from cats rather than focusing on risks to wildlife, cats, or people. Moreover, campaigns indicated that this variable was a significant predictor of both risk pe rceptions and perceived benefits and might therefore play a more important role in influencing tolerance and attitudes about managemen t than risk perceptions alone. In addition, students did not appear to be overly concerned a bout issues with outdoor cats. Education campaigns aimed at this population would likely need to raise awareness about this issue before targeting behavior.
64 Table 3 1. Factor analysis results of scales Factor Loadings SD Factor 1 Factor 2 Beliefs about Cats 0.71 Cats deserve to be free outdoors like other animals 3.29 0.96 0.67 -Outdoor cats live happy healthy lives, comparable to indoor cats 3.05 1.0 0.60 -Most outdoor cats can find thei r way home on their own 3.51 1.0 0.57 -Wildlife and cats should have equal access to outdoors 3.39 1.0 0.50 -Outdoor cats do not pose a significant threat to wildlife 3.20 0.91 0.44 -Most outdoor cats are able to survive without human help 3.40 0.98 0.43 -Cat Impacts 0.61 Outdoor cats kill wildlife 3.44 0.92 -0.68 Outdoor cats compete with wildlife species for food 3.49 0.94 -0.67 Outdoor cats transfer diseases to wildlife 3.35 0.88 -0.51 I am willing to reduce outd oor cats to benefit wildlife 3.13 0.98 -0.30 a Scores were estimated from a 5 point progressive scale, with 1 indicating strong disagreement, 5 strong agreement and 3 neither. b KMO =0.71
65 Table 3 2. Perceptions of risks to the environment and perc eived benefits to people Scale Endpoints M SD Risks to the environment To what extent do you believe outdoor cats have an impact on the environment 1=very negative impact 5=very positive impact 2.81 0.67 To what extent are the effects of o utdoor cats on natural ecosystems acceptable to you 1=very unacceptable 5= very acceptable 3.06 0.80 What level of emotion do you feel when you think about outdoor cats and their effect on natural ecosystems 1=very negative emotion 5=very positive emo tion 2.90 0.72 To what extent do you believe outdoor cats have an impact on native wildlife 1=very negative impact 5=very positive impact 2.70 0.72 To what extent are the effects of outdoor cats on native wildlife acceptable to you 1=very unaccept able 5= very acceptable 2.84 0.85 What level of emotion you feel when you think about outdoor cats and their effect on native wildlife 1=very negative emotion 5=very positive emotion 2.83 0.71 What threat do outdoor cats pose to wildlife 1=very ser ious 5=no threat 2.94 0.72 Benefits to people Please rate the extent to which you believe outdoor cats have an impact on you 1=very negative impact 5=very positive impact 2.97 0.84 Please rate the extent to which the presence of outdoor cats in your community is acceptable 1=very unacceptable 5= very acceptable 2.98 0.93 Please rate the level of emotion you feel when you think about outdoor cats and their effect on your community 1=very negative emotion 5=very positive emotion 2.89 0.77
66 Table 3 3. OLS regression estimates of variables associated with perceptions of risks from outdoor cats to the ecosystem and perceptions of benefits to people Risk to the Ecosystem b Benefits to Humans b SEB b SEB a CurrentPOP .272 .055 .229** .407 .067 .266** Affection .014 .023 .030 .077 .028 .130* Frequency .032 .031 .046 .004 .038 .004 Positive Exp .352 .096 .194** .641 .118 .275** Negative Exp .489 .137 .172** .840 .168 .230** Belie fs about Cats .153 .041 .170** .160 .050 .138* Cat Impacts .301 .055 .229** .320 .048 .266** R 2 2 *p<.01, **p<.001 a CurrentPOP represents a measure of participant perceptions of the current cat population b In this table signs for risk were reversed for ease of interpretation, so the .272 on Current Population means that perceived increases to the population are associated with higher perceptions of risk.
67 Table 3 4. Mediation of the effe ct of beliefs about cats on tolerance for cat populations through perceptions of risks to ecosystems and benefits to people Bootstrapping Percentile 95% CI BC 95% CI Bca 95% CI Point Estimate SE Lower Upper Lower Upper Lower Upper Benefi ts to People 0.3176 0.1391 0.6374 0.1030 0.6284 0.1000 0.6196 0.0937 Risks to Ecosystems 0.0586 0.0757 0.2225 0.0865 0.2405 0.0664 0.2321 0.0685 TOTAL 0.3762 0.1411 0.6868 0.1372 0.6676 0.1165 0.6603 0.1071 Note BC, bias corrected, B ca, bias corrected and accelerated; 1000 bootstrap samples. Table 3 5. Mediation of the effect of attitudes toward cat impact beliefs on tolerance for cat populations through perceptions of risks to ecosystems and benefits to people Bootstrapping Percentile 95% CI BC 95% CI Bca 95% CI Point Estimate SE Lower Upper Lower Upper Lower Upper Benefits to People 0.4857 0.1362 0.3783 0.9434 0.2776 0.7885 0.2768 0.7837 Risks to Ecosystems 0.1344 0.1382 0.1284 0.4278 0.1265 0.4417 0.1264 0. 4417 TOTAL 0.6200 0.1401 0.3783 0.9434 0.3753 0.9417 0.3744 0.9381 Note BC, bias corrected, Bca, bias correct ed and accelerated; 1000 bootstrap samples.
68 Figure 3 1. Illustration of the potential mediation of risks and benefit Beliefs about Cats Beliefs are hypothesized to exert an indirect effect on tolerance through perceived risks and benefits. Figure 3 2. Illustration of the potential mediation of risks and ben cat impacts beliefs and tolerance. Beliefs are hypothesized to exert an indirect effect on tolerance through perceived risks and benefits. Beliefs about Cats To lerance of Outdoor Cats c Cat Impact Beliefs Tolerance of Outdoor Cats c Ecological Risks Beliefs about Cats Tolerance of Outdoor Cats a 1 b 1 c' Benefits to P eople a 2 b 2 Ecological Risks Cat Impact Beliefs Tolerance of Outdoor Cats a 1 b 1 c' Benefits to P eople a 2 b 2
69 CHAPTER 4 IDENTIFYING DIFFERENCES BETWEEN STAKEHOLDER AND PUBLIC RISK PERCEPTIONS, BELIEFS, AND ATTI TUDES ABOUT OUTDOOR CAT MANAGEMENT Who Cares about Outdoor Cats? Conflict between stakeholder groups or between the public and wildlife management agencies over management interventions can result in legal action against wildlife agencies, citizen ballot i nitiatives dictating policy, delayed management action, and increased tension and distrust between managers and stakeholders (Chase, Schusler, & Decker, 2000; Manfredo, 2008; Perry & Perry, 2008) Stakeholders are p eople who affect or are affected by a wildlife species or management issue (Decker, Brown, & Siemer, 2001) Public and stakeholder support for management influences the success or fai lure of intervention programs. In Key Largo, FL cat management has evoked vociferous arguments between re sidents of the Ocean Reef Club who support the existence of managed cat colonies and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission which is concerned about cat predation on the endangered Key Largo wood rat ( Neotoma floridana smalli ) and cotton mo use ( Peromyscus gossypinus allapaticola ) (Pittman, 2003) The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service plan to cull cats in the Florida Keys using live trapping and euthanasia was met by strong opposition from animal advocates (Clark, 2011) The debate over outdoor cats has pitted neighbors against eac h other, some who have filed lawsuits to remove cats and others who support petitions to protect cats (Graham, 2012) Stakeholders involved in this issue include cat owners, cat colony feeders, animal rights organizations, veterinarians, wildlife organizations, birding associations, animal shelters, and others.
70 s contribut e (Peterson et al., 2012) For these individuals cats represent a signific ant source of ecological risk, (threat to the health and productivity of species and ecosystems) (McDaniels et al., 1997) For many environmental advocates feral cats are not a natural predator and this status as an exotic and/or invasive species justifies the confinement of cats indoors and the removal from natural systems (Peterson et al., 2012; Williams, 2009) The Audubon S ociety has published a number of brochures, informational handouts and videos informing members about the risk cats pose to wildlife, people and the environment an d actively encourages members to keep cats indoors (American Bird Conservancy 2 004; Drennan, 2012; Williams, 2009) In contrast, many animal welfare advocates perceive significant benefits from outdoor cats and (Cento nze & Levy, 2002; Levy & Crawford, 2004) Alley Cat Allies supports the rights of advocates for the protection of existing outdoor cat colonies (Alley Cat, 2009) Some cat advocates argue that cat critics exaggerate the risks of cats; suggesting that cat predati on primarily influences introduced animals rather than native species (Barratt, 1997) and may be fi lling a niche historically filled by predators, now depressed by huma n activities (Bradshaw, 1992) As a result of these differences, TNR advocates and bird or wildlife advocacy groups are often portrayed in the media as strongly polarized both in their perceptions of outdoor cats and preferences for cat management (Clark, 2011; Gorman, 2003) In addition to differing perspectives about cat classification, stakeholder groups often differ in their support of cat management
71 initiatives and perceptions of the effectiveness of these methods (Peterson et al., 2012) One method of managing cats, called Trap Neuter Return (T NR), typically involves trapping the animal, anesthetizing it, spay or neutering it, marking it with a tipped or notched ear and then returning the cat to its original location (Slater, 2004) TNR advocates support the use of TNR to control the cat pop ulation (Peterson et al., 2012) Alley Cat Allies, the largest cat advocacy organization in the US, supports the use o f 009) (Alley Cat Al lies 2009) Alley Cat Allies estimates that there are approximately two hundred non profit organizations dedicated to TNR across the US (Williams, 2009) In Florida, we identif i ed 35 cat advocacy groups involved in TNR for unowned outdoor cats (not including individual ve terinary clinics that do pro bono spay neuter), many of which provide low cost spay neuter programs and support and facilitate the management of existing outdoor cat colonies. In contrast, the National Audubon Society actively opposes the practice of TNR a nd cat colonies (Drennan, 2012). The Audubon society has 44 chapters in Florida and approximately 40,000 members (Audubon Florida, 2012) This research utilized a perception of risk framework to explore areas of conflict and agreement between stakeholder g roups and the genera l public. To gain a better understanding of the underlying factors dividing stakeholder groups, we utilized the Potential for Conflict Index and a multivariate analysis to test whether factors (a) ecological risk perceptions, (b) impact beliefs, (c) belief s about cats, (d) attitudes toward cats, (e) attitudes toward management and (f) preference for management differed significantly between Audubon members, TNR members and the general public.
72 Finally, we identified the combined set of predictors that best differentiated between group membership. Risk Perception Framework Human interactions with animals subject us to risks as well as benefits. Potential risks include injury, zoonotic disease, economic loss, property damage and death. Potential benefits in clude improved health, enhanced quality of life, companionship, pest control etc. Risk is defined as a construct made up of both the probability that an event will occur and a value based judgment about the impact of the exposure (e.g., injury, damag e, or loss) (Breakwell, 2007) Risk includes both individual perceptions of the ris k (cognition) and emotional responses to the risk event (affect) (Slovic, 2000a; Zajonc, 1980) This research explores risk perceptions within the psychometric framework that assumes risk perceptions can be measured using survey techniques, and that risk is subjective, quantifiable, a nd predictable (Slovic, 2000a) The psychometric paradigm has previously been used to estimate native wildlife related risk perceptions (Gore, Siemer, Shanahan, Schuefele, & Decker, 2005; Riley & Decker, 2000a; Thornton & Quinn, 2010) Risk perceptions (whether from technological or natural hazards) play a critical role in individual risk assessment and are therefore as impor tant as determining the true risk of exposure to injury or disease (Gore et al., 2005) Perceived risk can influence stakeholder tolerance for animals (Riley & Decker, 2000a) attitudes toward management (Agee & Miller, 2009) and support for species conservation or er adication (Kellert, 1985) Perceptions of Ecological Risk Ecological risk perception is a measure of the perceived threat to the health and productivity of individual species, communities, environmental processes and the
73 ecosystem (McDaniels et al., 1997) Ecological risks have previously been studied with regard to human activities and their negative impact on ecosystem services (e.g., clearcutting in forests, auto emissions and air pol lution, etc.) (Cavanagh et al., 2000; McDaniels et al., 1997; Williamson et al., 2005) A few studies have addressed the risks associated with natural hazards (floods, earthquakes, volcanoes) (Axelrod et al., 1999; McDaniels et al., 1995; McFarlane & Witson, 2008) McFarlane and Witson (2008) expanded this concept to include risks associated with a natural disturbance event in protected areas. To the best of our knowledge few previous studies have examined ecological risks related to exotic or invasive species. This study will address this gap by examining risk perceptions related to outdoor cats among stakeholders and the general public in Florida. McDaniels et al. (1995) id entified four factors that explained a significant amount of the variability in lay perceptions of ecological risk (R 2 =.96), including impact on species (humans and nonhumans), human benefits, perceived control, and knowledge of the impacts (McDaniels et al., 1997) Impact on species was the most important factor predicting ecological risk pe rceptions (McDaniels et al., 1997) As perceptions of ecological impact increase, percep tions of risk increase and human benefits decrease (McDaniels et al., 1997) Risk perc eptions can influence stakeholder acceptance for management and public policy. Perceived risk from black bears predicted stakeholder support for lethal control (Agee & Miller, 2009) Concern over wildlife increased respondent support for lethal management methods, independent of the species (beaver, white ta iled deer, and Canada geese) (Loker et al., 1999) Support for wildfire interventions increased (e.g.,
74 putting out fires) as perceptions of risks to personal property increased (Kneeshaw, Vaske, Bright, & Absher, 2004) Perceived risk to aquatic environments predicted stronger support for restrictions on development and industry (McDaniels et al., 1997) Perceived risks to forest biodiversity influenced favorable attitudes toward protected area creation and stricter industry regulati on (McFarlane, 2005) Ecological risk perceptions of the Mountain Pine Beetle ( Dendroctonus ponderosae ) influenced support for controlling outbrea ks within the national park (McFarlane & Witson, 2008) Higher perceptions of ecological risk to aquatic environments predicted stronger s upport for restrictions on development and industry (McDaniels et al., 1997) Environme ntal cognition (attitudes and beliefs) form the basis of environmental risk perceptions and attitudes toward management (O'Connor, Bard, & Fisher, 1999) Significant correlations have been reported between individual attitudes toward th e risk item and perceived benefits of the risk (Finucane et al., 2000; Slovic et al., 2000) Moreover, negative associations with risk items were strongly and negatively associated with political support for the dev elopment of a nuclear power plant (Slovic et al., 2000) Beliefs about cats and attitudes toward cats were significant predictors of environmental risk perceptions (Wald, unpub. data) The first objective of this research was to detect differences between stakeholder groups utilizing the potential for conflict index (PCI) and multiv ariate statistical techniques. The second objective was to use the risk perception framework to identify the most parsimonious set of predictors of st ake holder group membership. Based on previous research and the involvement of TNR group members in TNR or non lethal management and Audubon member concern over ecological risks from outdoor cats
75 (Centonze & Levy, 2002; Peterson et al., 2012) the following hypotheses were proposed. We predict that stakeholder group members will differ significantly: H1 Ecological perceptions and impact beliefs. TNR group members will percei ve fewer ecological risks, fewer negative impacts on people and wildlife and greater perceived benefits and positive impacts to people than either the general public or Audubon group members. H2 Attitudes toward cats. TNR group members will hold more fav orable attitudes about outdoor cats than both of the other groups. Audubon members will be members or the public. H3 Attitudes toward management and management preference. TNR group members will express more support for TNR than Audubon members and the public. Audubon group members will be more supportive of impounding cats than members of TNR groups and the public. There will be similarities between groups in support for reducing cats and requiring owners to be responsible for pets. Non lethal management methods, such as TNR and adoption will have greater overall support than lethal methods. H4 Group membership will be determined by ecological risk perceptions, impact beliefs, beliefs about and attitudes toward outdoor cats, attitudes toward and preference for management. Methods Stakeholders and Study Site In collaboration with TNR organization employees and volunteers, 10 TNR organizations across four counties were recruit ed to participate in the survey. These groups were identified as the most active in Florida with large membership lists and ongoing TNR e fforts throughout each county. From this list of 10 organizations, we identified which counties included both active TN R groups and existing Audubon chapters. We contacted stakeholder groups in seven counties. Four counties representing either north or south Florida were selected; Alachua, Duval, Broward and Miami Dade, and organizations (both TNR and Audubon groups) in th ese counties agreed to participate in this research. According to 2010 census results, Alachua County has a population of 244,247, Duval County has a population of 854,848,
76 Broward County has a population of 1.7 million and Miami Dade County has a populati on of 2.4 million. Sample Design and Survey Administration From April 201 2 to September 2012 randomly selected members of the three groups (TNR groups (n=800), Audubon stakeholders (n=796) and the general public across all four counties (n=2600) received a copy of the survey in the mail. Members were selected from existing lists of people who have expressed interested in group newsletters and events or donate money or time to the identified organizations. The wave tailored design method (Dillman, 1999; Dillman, Smyth, & Christian, 2009) The materials were distributed in two week intervals. Survey questions were pre tested through focus groups with stakeholders, small meetings with experts in the fields of wildlife ecology and anima l welfare and an in person survey with undergraduate students at the University of Florida (Wald & Jacobson, 2013 ) The 28 question survey measured perceptions of the risks and benefits related to cats (10 items), impact beliefs (12 items), general beliefs and attitudes about outdoor cats (11 items), attitudes about management (14 items), and preferen ce for cat management (1 item). The survey concluded with three demographic questions about gender, cat ownership and cat feeding. The survey used the term owned and unowned, social and unapproachable animals. We specifically asked respondents to answer questions about outdoor cats not owned by them. For public respondents, non respon se bias checks were performed. Non respondents wit h valid phone numbers ( 216 ) were telephoned in September 201 2. Of those contacted 12% responded to the eleven survey questions. There were more
77 female respondents (68%) than non 2 =6.68, p =<.01). Respondents were more likely to own cats (38%) than non 2 =4.23, p= <.05) and less likely to feed cats (21%) than non 2 =5.73, p= <.05). There were no significant differences between non respondents and respondents in the importance of the issues related to ou tdoor cats, in feelings about outdoor cats or in management preference. Despite differences in ownership and feeding rates there were no significant differences in the variables of interest and therefore the results presented here are based on unweighted data. Survey Items Ecological r isks and p erceived b enefits We measured perceived risk as a set of 9 items related to the impact, acceptability, and emotionality of the risks to the environment, native wildlife and people, similar to McDaniels et al. (199 7) and McFarlane & Witson (2008). Respondents were asked to indicate on a 7 point scale the level of risk cats pose (serious to not serious) to ecosystems and native wildlife, the level of emotion they felt about the effect (positive to negative), and the acceptability of the risk (acceptable to unacceptable). Three items measure perceived benefits to people including one item directly measuring personal benefits to people and two others measuring the acceptability (i.e., unacceptable to acceptable) and le vel of emotion respondents felt about these benefits (i.e., negative to positive) Impact b eliefs Beliefs about the impacts of cats were measured using a series of 12 statements:
78 ; 2). R espondents rated statements on a 7 point scale with 3=strongly disagree to 3=strongly agree Beliefs about c ats Nine Likert scale items addressing general beliefs about outdoor cats were measured ( 3=strongly disagree to 3=strongly agree ; Table 4 1). At titudes toward outdoor cats were measured using a 7 po int scale ( 3=hate to 3=love). Participants were asked to classify outdoor cats as (1) native or (0) exotic. Exotic was used instead of the term invasive because the former was identified in focus group s as less polarizing and easier to understand. Management Attitudes toward management were assessed using 14 items. Three items specifically related to attitudes toward Trap Neuter Return (TNR). Respondents rated statements o n a 7 point scale (Table 4 3 ). Preference for management was measured by asking the respondents to indicate which of the listed management methods they preferred for managing outdoor cats. Choices included TNR ; placement in a long term no kill sanctuary ; trap and euthanize ; and no m anagement. Choices were collapsed into three categories (1=non lethal methods, 2=lethal and 3=do nothing). Socio demographic information included group membership, gender, cat ownership, and cat feeding. All survey items Data A nalysis We conducted a series of chi square tests to evaluate group differences in preference. In addition, we measured differences in attitudes about out door cats using a
79 1 way ANOVA. Effect sizes for significant chi V ). 2 ) represents effect size ( 2 =.01 is a small effect, 2 =.09 is a medium effect, and 2 =.25 is a large effect) (Cohen, 1988). Univariate differen ces between stakeholder members and the public in ecological risk perceptions, impact beliefs, general beliefs and attitudes, attitudes toward and preference for management were assessed using the potential for conflict index (PCI). PCI scores range from 0 (minimal conflict) to 1 (maximum conflict) and measure the distr ibution of response frequency. Therefore, minimum PCI occurs when 100% of the respondents either strongly agree or strongly disagree with an item and maximum PCI represent extremes of agreem ent among stakeholders (e.g., 50% strongly agree and 50% str ongly disagree) (Vaske, 2008) Potential Conflict Index result s are presented in Figure 4 1. Scale means are represented by th e center point of the bubbles. PCI values are reflec ted in t he size of the bubble. Larger bubbles or PCI values represented greater potential for conflict among groups which generated large PCI values (e.g., > 0.6), while low to moderate PCI values (e.g., < 0.25) indicated greater agreement among groups. Multivari ate differences between stakeholders were assessed using a multivariat e analysis of variance MANOVA. MANOVA results include a composite measure of group differences across all of the scale items as well as a follow up univariate ANOVA measuring gr oup diffe rences for each item. We evaluated significant hoc pair wise comparison tests. Discriminant Function Analysis was used to identify the best model (or linear combination of variables) for discern ing between the three groups Nine variables, including positive impact beliefs, negative impact beliefs, perceived risks,
80 perceived benefits, attitudes toward TNR, attitudes toward outdoor cats, cat ownership, general beliefs about cats and beliefs about Results Respondent Characteristics and Preliminary Results A total of 4,396 questionnaires were mailed out. After removing invalid addresses we estimated a response rate of 51% for the Audubon group (n=384), 47% for the TNR group (n=361) and 23% amo ng the general public (n=618). Participants included more w omen (n=966) than men (n=353). Respondents were generally split among cat owners (n =685) and non owners (n =635). Approximately a quarter of the participants fed o utdoor cats not owned by them (28%) and half of the respondents owned cats (52%). TNR group members were more likely to own cats (81%) compared to Audubon members (45%) and the general public (38%) ( 2 =165.53, p V =.35). TNR group members a lso fed more cats (52%) than Audubon members (16%) and the public (21%) ( 2 =139.12, p V =.33). The majority of the respondents in all three groups were women, but there were more women in the TNR group (83%) than in the Audubon group (71%) an d the public (68%) and this difference was significant ( 2 =26.61, p Group Differences Identified by PCI For all three stakeholder groups, the PCI for perceptions that c ats kill pest species was low. It was moderate for the remaining impact belief items. Within the negative impact beliefs items, the highest PCI values were among the public and the Audubon groups over the nuisance of cats defecating in the yard, the transfer of diseases to people and cat related risks to wildlife. Conf lict over the perceived ecological risks and benefits t o people was moderate to high. The 7 attitude toward
81 management items ha d moderate to high PCI levels. However, there was stronger agreement among the TNR group that they support TNR, that TNR was effe ctive and that they would provide funding for TNR. There was more support for TNR than for impounding cats. Members of all three groups were supportive of taxes for animal manage take more responsibility for cats (PCI<.25). Attitudes toward Outdoor C ats There were significant differences between groups in feelings toward outdoor cats ( F (2, 1287)=78.71, p <.001 ). TNR group members expressed significantly more positive feelings (mean(SD) = 5.46(1.81)) than Audubon members (mean(SD) = 3.74(2.16) or the general public (mean(SD) = 3.90(2.15) p <.001 ) Audubon members were more likely to describe public ( 2 =51.54, p Management Preference The majority of respondents (83%) preferred non lethal management methods; fewer preferred lethal management (13%) or doing nothing (4%). There were significant differences between stakeholder grou ps in management preference ( 2 =55.23, p <.001, V =.15). Among TNR group members (77%) of them preferred TNR, among the public ( 54 %) of them preferred TNR and among the Audubon respondents ( 49%) supported TNR Within the groups, m ore Audubon group m embers were supportive of placement in a long term no kill shelter ( 30 %) than the public (25%) or TNR group members ( 18 %). Audubon respondents were more supportive (18%) of trapping and euthanizing cats that either the TNR (4%) or public ( 15 %) respondents. While there was
82 Ecological Risks and Perceived Benefits There were significant multivari ate effects between the groups across the ecological risk items (F=11.24, p <.000, 2 =.076). Across all of the ecological risk items the three groups diffe red significantly (Table 4 2). TNR members perceived significantly lower risks compared to the oth er t wo groups. Audubon members perceived higher risks than the other two groups. There were significant multivariate group effects across the benefits to people items (F=21.91, p <.000, 2 =.056). TNR group members perceived higher benefits than the other group s. Scores on the benefit items were not significantly different between the public and the Audubon members. Impact Beliefs There was a significant and moderate group effect across all the negative impacts to wildlife items (F=7.85, p <.000, 2 = .06) (Table 4 2). The public agreed with Audubon members that cats compete with wildlife for food and spread diseases to wildlife, but expressed less agreement that cats kill wildlife and pose a significant risk to wildlife. There was a significant group effect acros s the negative impacts to people items (F=13.41, p <.000, 2 = .06). TNR group members differed significantly across all four items compared to Audubo n group members and the public. There were significant differences between the groups across the positive impacts to people items (F=9.98, p <.000, 2 = .04). TNR group members and the public agreed more strongly than Audubon group members that cats kill mice and pests and reduce the spread of diseases. TNR group members were more likely to agree that cats provide them with companionship and improve their quality of life when compa red with the other two
83 groups. TNR group member scores were higher (stronger agreement) across the positive impact to people items and less supportive (stronger disagreement) of the negative impact items, both to people and to wildlife. Audubon m ember scores were reversed, respondents were less likely to agree with the positive impact items and more likely to agree with the negative impact items. Beliefs about Outdoor Cats There were significant group differences across the belief items ( F =7.23, p <.000, 2 = .08) (Table 4 1). There were no significant differences between the groups in public and TNR group members agreed that cats should have equal access to the outdoors, be free roaming and lead happy healthy lives. There were significant differences between all three groups in agreement that people should be responsible for cats; TNR group members expressed the greatest agreement, followed by Audubon group members and f i nally the general public. There were significant differences between all three groups about whether cats should have the right to hunt; TNR group members more strongly agreed, followed by the public and then Audubon group members. Audubon members were more supportive of cat confinement indoors and more likely to believe that cats are a problem in Florida than TNR group members. The public beliefs about cats as a problem in Florida overlapped with both stakeholder groups. The public more strongly agreed that cats are able to survive without human help than members of either stakeholder group. Cat Management There were significant differences between the groups across the composite TNR management items ( F =365.59, p <.000, 2 = .48). There were significant differences
84 between TNR group respondents and Audubon respondent s across all of the TNR items. TNR group members were the most supportive of TNR efforts, perceived them as more effective and were more willing to support tax dollars for low cost spay/neuter programs Groups varied across the management items ( F =6.33, p <.000, 2 = .13). Five of the management items were not significantly different between the groups (Table 4 3). TNR supporters more strongly opposed removal to an animal shelter than members of the other groups. The public was significantly less supportive of using tax dol lars to support animal control. The public was less supportive of mandatory spay neuter laws, but not significantly so, compared to Audubon membe rs. TNR group members and the public were more strongly opposed to local government management of cats than the Audubon group members. Public response to whether cats should be allowed to roam outdoors was not significantly different from either stakeholde r group. Discriminating Between Stakeholder Groups To ensure that the constructs used were reliable we estimate sc ale measures for Based on these results, t 1). did not fit in well with the f inal 10 item scale (Table 4 3). To create the scales, all item scores were added and divided by the number of items to create a compos ite score ranging from 3 to 3. These scales were then entered into a discriminant function analysis to identify the best set of predictors of group membership. The final predictors
85 included ecological risk perceptions perceived benefits to people, positive impacts to people, negative impacts beliefs positive impact beliefs general beliefs about outdoor cats and attitudes toward management. In addition, we included single items measuring attitudes toward cats, classi management and cat ownership. The MANOVAs were followed by discriminant analysis, which identified two significantly different discriminant functions that distinguished between two stakeholder groups T 7 4 % of the variance, canonical R 2 explained 2 6 % of the variance, canonical R 2 =. 06 The combination of the two functions differed from th e treatment groups, = 76 2 (16)= 279.68 p< .001. After removing the first function the second remained significantly different = 93 2 (7)= 77.23 p< .001. Cat ownership had followed by attitudes towar d outdoor cats, attitudes toward TNR and perceived cat related benefits. Negative and positive beliefs about outdoor cats loaded fairly evenly on both functions but in opposite directions with high positive beliefs and low negative beliefs predicting the (Table 4 4). Perceptions of risk had the greatest influence on the 2 nd and belief s about cats outdoors. The members and non TNR members (Figure 4 2). discriminated between Audubon group members an d the other two g roups. The factor solution correctly classified 55 % of the original cases. The functions were found to
86 distinguish between groups based on cat ownership, ecological risk perceptions, attitudes about outdoor cats, general beliefs about outdoor cats, classif ication of cats as 5). Discussion Our findings expand the ecological risk perception framework by identifying risk perceptions and impact beliefs as significant predictors of Audubon group membership. In additi on to support for TNR, TNR group membership was influenced by positive attitudes toward cats and perceived benefits from cats. Our findings suggest that TNR members and Audubon members care about significantly different issues when it c omes to outdoor cats These results confirmed previous findings of significant differences between stakeholders in attitudes about outdoor cats and perceptions of the impacts cats have on people, wildlife and the environment (Loyd & Hernandez, 2012; Peterson et al., 2012) Our results also contribute important insight into are as of agreement between stakeholder groups (e.g., support for mandat ory identification rabies vaccination ; greater support for non lethal methods than lethal methods) that may reduce conflict between stakeholder groups over cat management techniques. Cat Related Risks and Benefits Concern over cat related risks by Audub on members appears to be attenuating any recognition of cat benefits, while perceived benefits from cats to people is tempering concern over cat predation among TNR group members. TNR group members ildlife though they strongly agreed This supports p revious research indicating disagreed that cats contribute to the decline of native birds (Peterson et al., 2012)
87 Uncertainty over ecological risks is contributing to these differences and rigorous and unbiased scie ntific evidence about the impacts of cats on urban and suburban wildlife, the population and community level impacts of cat predation and whether these effects are compensatory and additive will serve to reduce uncertainty and allow for stakeholder collabo ration based on scientific evidence and shared management objectives. TNR group members expressed high levels of affection for outdoor cats. In other studies, cat colony caretakers indicated that love was the primary motivation for feeding cats (Ce ntonze & Levy, 2002) generally viewed as beneficial (Finucane et al., 2000; Slovic, 2000a) Positive attitudes toward out door cats were directly and significantly correlated with perceived benefits related to outdoor cats (Wald, unpubl. data). In this study, TNR group members perceive significantly greater benefits from cats than members of the other two gr oups. Perceived ri sks and benefits have an inverse relationship; as one increases the other declines (Fischhoff et al., 1978; McDaniels et al., 1997) Therefore, it is possible that affection for cats and perceived benefits from cats are contributing to reduced risk perceptions among TNR group members. Cat predation on wildlife has been widely document ed (Baker et al., 2008; Barrows, 2004; Beckerman et al., 2007; Clancy et al., 2003; Coleman & Temple, 1993; Colema n et al., 1997; Jessup, 2004; Levy & Crawford, 2004) On islands, cat predation has contributed to drastic population declines and the extirpation of endemic and endangered prey However, ambiguity remains about the impacts of cat predation on urban and c ontinental wildlife (Calver et al., 2011) Cat density estimates combined with
88 evidence of wildlife predation have contributed to conjectu re about the ecological risks cats pose and la rge estimates of wildlife mortality (Dauphine & Cooper 2008 ; Pimentel et al., 2001) Animal advocates have disputed these estimates as inflammatory and imprecise hi ghlight i ng uncertainty about the ecological risks cats pose (Berkeley, 2004) This uncertainty may have contributed to the moderate to large PCI scores across all the perceived bene fits and perceived risk items. In this study, PCI scores were larger for perceived risks and bene fits than for the negative impact belief items, specifically competition with wildlife, spreading diseases to w ildlife and wildlife predation. This suggests that among stakeholder groups there is more agreement that there are impacts than with the level of risk these impacts pose to wildlife and the ecosystem. Affection for Outdoor Cats Attitudes toward animals can predict support for management techniques, protection efforts (Fulton, Skerl, Shank, & Lime, 2004; Tar rant, Bright, & Ken Cordell, 1997; Vaske & Donnelly, 1999; Vaske & Needham, 2007) and influence behavioral intentions (Ajzen & Fishbein, 1980; Fishbein & Ajzen, 1975) Other research has f ound widespread favorable feelings for outdoor cats among college students (Tennent, Downs, Wald, & Watson, 2010 ; Wald & Jacobson, 2013 ) and the general public in Ohio (Lord, 2008) Affect has been identified as an important antecedent guiding judgment (Zajonc, 1980) decision making (Finucane et al., 2000; Zajonc, 1980) perceptions of a nimals (Ke llert, 1983) and perceptions of risk and benefit (Alhakami & Slovic, 1994) Favorable attitudes toward outdoor cats are likely influencing TNR group member perceptions of risk and support for non lethal management.
89 Does Origin M atter? th e public or TNR group members. The domestication of cats took place in the Nea r East Cats were eventually transported by people from the near and middle east into Europe and from there to the United States (Turner & Bateson, 2000) The non native origin of cats in combination with documented predation on native wildlife have contributed to the classification ife advocates (Hawkins, 1998) This result corroborates findings that conservation supporters were more likely to support the management of cats as invasive species than animal welfare supporters p<.05 (Loyd & Hernandez, 2012) These results indicate two important differences between grou status. First, TNR group members and the public are less likely to perceive cats as (Centonze & Levy, 2002; Levy & Crawford, 2004; No Kill Advocacy, 2006) Secondl y, i t appears that the classification of cats as exotic is less important to members of the public or TNR group as a justification for lethal management. Previous research suggests that exotic status was not identified as a sufficient reason to control outdoor cats among University staff and faculty (Ash & Adams, 2003) This result suggests that the public and TNR group members may be Preference for Non Lethal Management Respondents generally preferred non lethal management, including TNR, placement in a long term shelter or no kill sanctuary. Cat sanctuaries have been
90 reported as the preferred management method in other studies (Loyd & Hernandez, 2012) However, t he cost of these programs for materials, maintenance and staff can be extensive and impracti cal for large numbers of cats. A series of recent high profile cases of inhumane treatment in cat sanctuaries and charges of cruelty and neglect have heightened concern about the sustainability of sanctuaries for cat management (Swirko, 2011) O f those individuals supporting lethal manageme nt, more than half wer e members of the public (53%). Previous research has found that the public generally prefers non lethal methods of managing wildlife and perceives them as more humane than lethal management techniques (Reiter, Brunson, & Schmidt, 1999) However, the pub lic has been found to support euthanasia as a method to manage feral cats (Loyd & Miller, 2010b) (Lord, 2008; Loyd & Miller, 2010b) Conversely, the use of terms such as euthanasia rather than killing, culling or eradication can influence support for lethal management. Membership in an animal welfare organization i ncreased support for TNR among Georgia residents (Loyd & Hernandez, 2012) There was also widespread support for TNR in Ohio among urban (79%), suburban (80%) and rural (71%) residents (Lord, 2008). In this study, agreement with statements supportive of TN R was high (mean > 1 on a 3 to 3 scale) across all three groups. Audubon group members were significantly more supportive of using tax dollars for low cost spay neuter than the general public. There was stronger support for TNR as a management strategy ( across all three groups) than support for impoundment in a shelter. These findings confirm previous
91 research indicating that TNR was perceived as more effective method of controlling outdoor cats than impoundment (p<.001) (Wald & Jacobson, 2013 ). The ter minology utilized in survey research is important (Dillman, 1999; Dillman et al., 2009; Vaske, 2008) perceived by stakeholders as much less negative than the te been used in previous surveys (Peterson et al., 2012) It is possible that stakeholders view as a different subset of animals are willing to unsocialized animals. It is possible that this distinction contributed to the high lev els of support for TNR exhibited in this study. Across the perceived humaneness of management and attitudes toward management items, the TNR group had smaller PCI values compared to the Audubon and public groups. This may be attributed to the broader foc us of the Audubon mission to protect birds and address a variety of environmental issues compared to the narrower f ocus of the TNR organizations. Despite general levels of support for TNR within the Audubon and public groups moderate PCI scores (Audubon > .40 and public >.38) suggest greater conflict among Audubon group members and the public over whether TNR and their support for this management approach than among TNR group members. It is possible that p revious reports of strong opposition to TNR among bird conservation professionals can be attributed to differences in the sample methods (Peterson et al., 2012) In the previous study they used purposive sampling to target bird conservation specialists and wildlife conservation employees, while in this study we randomly surveyed members of the
92 Audubon society who reported m ore to lerance for TNR efforts. It is also possible that al The public is less concerned about the issue of outdoor cats compared to stakeholder gr oup members. Previous studies have also reported low levels of concern among University employees related to this issue (Ash & Adams, 2003) Distinguishing Between Stakeholders A previous study exploring stakeholder beliefs about feral c ats, found stakeholders with polarized views on whether or not cats contributed to the decline of native birds (Peterso n et al., 2012) This study corroborated these findings and indicated that not only are risk perceptions different among stakeholder groups, but that risk perceptions are the most important factor influencing membership in the Audubon stakeholder group. P erceived risks to wildlife from cats are important because they can influence support for management and public policy. Respondents who believed that healthy ecosystems and protecting wildlife were important were more likely to oppose TNR legislation in At hens, GA (Loyd & Hernandez, 2012) The issues that individuals perceive as risky and decide to concern themselves with are shaped by social, cultural and political factors (Pidgeon, Kasperson, & Slovic, 2003) The social amplificati on of risk framework posits that risk perceptions are amplified and reduced by interactions within social and cultural groups and organizations (Kasperson & Kasperson, 1996; Pidgeon et al., 2003) A number of attributes of organizations can contribute to the attenuation and amplificati on of risk signals (Freudenburg, 1992) The Audubon website includes information about the importance of keeping cats indoors and the threat cats pose to wildlife through
93 predation, competition and the transmission of di sease (Audubon Flo rida, 2012) Confining cats indoors is listed as one of the top ten ways to protect migratory bird sp ecies (Audubon Florida, 2012) It is possible that the materials and messages being transmitted by these groups and interactions among group members are increasing or attenua ting individual risk and benefit perceptions and making them more salient (Kasp erson et al., 1988) This might explain the important role that risk perceptions played in predicting Audubon group membership and the polarized positions of the stakeholder groups on the negative impact beliefs and perceived risk items relative to the ge neral public. Numerous studies have documented the perceived physical and psychological benefits of owning and/or interacting with cats (Friedmann, 1995; Poresky & Hendrix, 1990; Vining, 2003; Zasloff & Kidd, 1994) Cat ownership has been found to influence support for cat management methods (Dabritz et al., 2006; Grayson et al., 2002; Lord, 2008) perceptions of whether cats impact birds or harm wildlife (Dabritz et al., 2006; Grayson et al., 2002; Loyd & Hernandez, 2012) It is possible that these positive feelings contributed to the importance of cat ownership as a predictor of group membership. Implications for Cat Managemen t To be successful, management initiatives whether they target native or non native species, must include significant input and involvement of all relevant stakeh older groups (Jacobson, 2009) Conflict over cat management preference has in many cases prevented and delayed the implementation of policies that could reduce the cat population, enhance animal welfare, and reduce potential risks to wildlife (Longcore et al., 2009; Sterba, 2002) Communication between stakeholder groups often breaks
94 down beca use discussions focus on areas of disagreement (Fisher & Ury, 1991) This can lead to both parties becoming so entrenched in their position that the negotiation nd published articles and reports enhance this perception B ird love (Carey, 2012; Gorman, 2003; Hatley, 2003; Rosenthal, 2011) One potential solution to the current conflict and stalled debate is to shift the focus to areas of agreement or shared goals and interests (Fisher & Ury, 1991) Our study suggests that there are some important areas of agreement between group s: Audubon and TNR group members agreed that cats should be kept indoors, that cats can find their way home, and survive without human help There was also agreement among the Audubon members and the public that cats are a problem in Florida. Though there were significant differences between the three groups, across all three groups there were high scores, indicating agreement, over increased personal re sponsibility for outdoor cats. Given the general level of concern about cats in Florida and support for c ats indoors there may be room for compromise between stakeholder groups on some type of regulation or educational campaign desig ned to encourage cats indoors. There may also be room for compromise over the use of lethal methods for animals and the use of TNR for socialized animals. We detected important similarities in attitudes toward management: (1) there was very little support 2 ) there was higher support for TNR than any other management method ( 3 ) there wa s support for mandatory rabies vaccination and owner provided identification. These similarities suggest that members of all three groups support efforts
95 to take action to address cat management If a solution to this issue and current conflict is desired, stakeholders and policy makers will need to move past the current deadlock and away from debate over whether cats kill birds; focusing instead on the areas of potential agreement identified in this study.
96 Table 4 1. Stakeholder and public beliefs abou t outdoor cats TNR Audubon Public Beliefs about outdoor cats* Mean F Sig N2 Cats deserve to be outdoors and free like other animals 0.097a 0.896b 0.372a 7.60 0.001 0.021 Wildlife and cats should have equal access to the outdoors 0.238a 0.7 82b 0.183a 11.15 0.000 0.030 Cats should be kept indoors as pets a 0.987ab 1.378a 0.874b 4.09 0.017 0.011 More people should take responsibility for outdoor cats b 2.286a 1.834b 1.196c 29.00 0.000 0.075 Outdoor cats are a problem in Florida a 0.476a 1.036 b 0.532ab 4.41 0.012 0.012 Outdoor cats should have the right to hunt 0.930a 0.513b 0.425c 23.19 0.000 0.061 Outdoor cats live happy and healthy lives 0.004a 0.813b 0.196a 9.07 0.000 0.025 Most outdoor cats are able to find their way home on their o wn b 0.366a 0.399a 0.694a 2.17 0.115 0.006 Most outdoor cats are able to survive without human help b 0.648a 0.653a 0.080b 12.07 0.000 0.033 a Reversed for multivariate analysis. b Removed from the final scale
97 Table 4 2. Stakeholder and public beliefs about cat impacts, perceptions of risks and the salience of risks TNR Audubon Public Mean F Sig N2 Positive impacts for people Outdoor cats kill mice and pests 2.106a 1.613b 1.850a 7.68 0.000 0.016 By killing pests, outdoor cats reduce the spread of diseases 1.175a .1513b 0.537a 17.74 0.000 0.036 Outdoor cats provide me with companionship 0.026a 1.351b 1.233b 35.78 0.000 0.0 69 Outdoor cats improve my quality of life 0.150a 1.362b 1.239b 27.98 0.000 0.055 The use of my yard as a litter box by outdoor cats is a nuisance 1.152a .3765b .2425b 35.85 0.000 0.075 Outdoor cats spread diseases to people 1.576a 0.447b 0.177b 35.42 0.000 0.074 Outdoor cats make loud calls and noises 0.655a 0.16 1b 0.223b 13.78 0.000 0.030 Outdoor cats can spread diseases to owned pets 0.102a 1.098b 1.131b 25.69 0.000 0.055 Outdoor cats compete with wildlife for food 0.279a 1.000b 0.659b 14.71 0.000 0.056 Outdoor cats spread disease to wildlife 0.927a 0.453b 0.031b 18.53 0.000 0.074 Outdoor cats kill wildlife 0.257a 1.577b 0.833c 15.45 0.000 0.062 Outdoor cats pose a significant risk to wildlife 0.890a 1.015b 0.091c 26.34 0.000 0.101 Perceived Ecolo The effect of outdoor cats on native wildlife is (positive negative) 0.066a 1.282b 0.530c 36.88 0.000 0.082 The effect of outdoor cats on native wildlife is (acceptable unacceptable) 0. 599a 1.064b 0.162c 49.48 0.000 0.108 The effec t of outdoor cats on the ecosystem is (positive negative) 0.515a 1.052b 0.345c 48.80 0.000 0.106 The effect of outdoor cats on the ecosystem is (acceptable unacceptable) 0.859a 0.710b 0.041c 43.30 0.000 0.095 What level of risk does predation by o utdoor cats pose to wildlife? 0.476a 0.905b 0.055c 39.47 0.000 0.088 What level of risk do outdoor cats pose to the ecosystem? 1.062a 0.222b 0.394c 32.89 0.000 0.074 The effect of outdoor cats on me is (negative positive) 1.003a 0.334b 0.206b 46.33 0.000 0.077 The effect of outdoor cats on me is (unacceptable acceptable) 1.332a 0.118b 0.000b 46.20 0.000 0.076 Outdoor cats provide me with personal benefits 0.391a 1.150b 1.122b 60.79 0.000 0.980
98 Table 4 3. Stakeholder and public attitudes toward the management of outdoor cats TNR Audubon Public F Sig N2 I support programs to Trap Neuter Return ou tdoor cats 2.470a 1.296b 1.423b 40.23 0.000 0.065 Trap Neuter Return programs are a good way to manage outdoor cats 2.314a 1.133b 1.383b 37.82 0.000 0.061 I support using tax dollars for low cost spay neuter and return programs 2.275a 1.364b 0.954c 44.5 2 0.000 0.071 I support programs to trap and impound outdoor cats 1.397a 0.376b 0.314b 33.41 0.000 0.124 I oppose any program that reduces outdoor cat population 1.815a 2.007a 1.886a 0.394 0.674 0.002 Owners should be prohibited from allowing cats t o roam outdoors 0.178a 0.617b 0.000ab 3.86 0.022 0.016 Owners should be required to provide identification (tag or microchip) for their cats 1.274a 1.433a 1.617a 1.34 0.264 0.006 Local governments should be responsible for controlling outdoor cats 0.3 56a 0.766b 0.137a 12.30 0.000 0.050 The outdoor cat population should be left alone b 1.719a 1.936a 1.771a .722 0.486 0.003 Removal to an animal shelter is a good way to manage outdoor cats 1.267a 0.007b 0.217b 15.16 0.000 0.061 I support mandatory spay neuter laws for cats 2.000a 1.773ab 1.383b 4.28 0.014 0.000 I support laws requiring cats to be vaccinated against rabies 2.301a 2.340a 2.280a 0.014 0.986 0.000 I support using tax dollars to fund animal control shelters 2.048a 1.993a 1.029b 14.67 0.000 0.059 Local governments do a good job of managing outdoor cats a 1.630a 1.596a 1.234a 3.45 0.033 0.014 *Not included in multivariate analysis a Removed from the final scale b Reverse for analysis
99 Table 4 4. Structure matrix results for the two function solution predicting group membership Function 1 2 Positive impact beliefs 449 3 96 Negative impact beliefs 453 451 Ecological risk perceptions 4 97 768 Perceived Benefits .5 14 .3 90 Attitudes toward TNR 6 3 3 1 3 3 General beliefs 202 6 28 Attitudes toward outdoor cats 720 .3 45 Cat ownership 7 58 0 50 094 761 Table 4 5. Independent predictors of group membership Independent Variables Statistic df1 df2 Sig. Cat ownership .890 1 2 .000 Ecological risk perceptions .834 2 2 .000 Attitudes toward cats .810 3 2 .000 General beliefs .786 4 2 .000 .773 5 2 .000 Attitudes toward TNR .764 6 2 .000
100 Figure 4 1. Potential for Conflict Index values across three stakeholder groups. Center point of each bubble represents the scale mean, bubble size represents PCI value. Scale used to measure level of approval ranges betwee n 3 (strongly disagree) to 3 (strongly agree). Significant results are indicated *p<0.05. F igure A reflects respondent scores for p ositive i mpact b eliefs. Figure B reflects respondent scores for negative impact beliefs. Figure C r eflects respondent scores for perceived benefits. Figure D reflec ts respondent scores for perceived risks. Figure E reflects respondent scores about cat beliefs and Figure F reflects respondent attitudes toward management. Audubon TNR Public B. A.
101 Figure 4 1 continued. D. C. C. D.
102 F igure 4 1 continued. F. E. E F
103 Fi gure 4 2. Discriminant function analysis results illustrating the separation between stakeholder groups and the public Audubon TNR Public
104 CHAPTER 5 A MULTIVARIATE MODEL OF STAKEHOLDER PREFERENCE FOR OUTDOOR CAT MANAGEMENT Outdoor Cats and Stakeholders in Florida An esti mated 3.1 million unowned cats roam outdoors in Florida and another 2.3 million owned cats spend time outdoors (Levy, Woods, et al., 2003) In Florida, outdoor cats have been implicated in the predation of threatened and endangered species, including the Lower Keys mars h rabbit ( Sylvilagus palustris hefneri ) (Forys & Humphrey, 1999) the Florida scrub jay ( Aphelocoma coerulescens ) (Woolfenden & Fitzpatrick, 1993) an endemic beach mouse ( Peromyscus polionotus ) (Frank & Humphrey, 1996) and least terns ( Sterna antillarum antillarum ) (Gore, 1996) The transmission of diseases from cats to wildlife and people has also been highlighted as a potential cat r elated risk. The transmission of diseases from cats to wildlife and people, along with nuisance issues (destroying gardens, fouling yards, noise, smell etc.) have also been highlighted as potential cat related impacts. These concerns have contributed to calls by wildlife and birding organizations for people to keep cats indoors and to remove cat colonies using lethal and non lethal management techniques (American Bird Conservancy 2004; Drennan, 2012; Williams, 2009) Animal welfar e advocates have also express ed concern about the welfare of outdoor cats at risk of injury from people, free roaming d ogs and wildlife (Slater, 2004; HSUS 2010) There is current ly substantial conflict among stakeholders and managers over whether current approaches to managing outdoor cats are appropriate, effective or humane (Loyd & Hernandez, 2012) Stakeholders are p eople or groups that have an interest, or stake in an issue or management concern. Traditional nuisance animal management approaches include lethal control, such as trapping followed by
105 euthanasia, hunting, or culling using shooting and/or poison. Animal welfare advocates, opposed to the use of lethal cat control have strongly advocated for the use of non lethal management methods primarily the use of Trap Neuter Return (TNR) which involves catching the animal, sterilizing it and returning it to where it was found Debate about the use of lethal or non lethal control has led to a sharp ethical division between stakeholder groups that has incited rancorous debate and litigation (Carey, 2012) On one side of this divide are environmental advocates, who view cats as and for whom the risks associated with outdoor cats are severe (Longcore et al., 2009; Peterson et al., 2012) Alternatively, animal welfare advocates consider feral cats to be (No Kill Advocacy, 2006) and advocate non lethal methods of control and protection for existing outdoor cat colonies on public and private land ( Alley Cat Allies, 2009; Centonze & Levy, 2002; Levy & Crawford, 2004; Loyd & Hernandez, 2012) Stakeholders can make or break a management initiative and influence public policies toward natural areas and wildlife management. Knowledge about the factors driving stakeholder support or opposition to lethal management is therefore critical to the success of any management approach. In this study, we utilize d the cognitive hierarchy to model stakeholder preference for non lethal management This model explore d multivariate relationships between values that influence beliefs, which effect attitudes that, in turn guide behavioral intentions. We expected specific attitudes to be more strongly related to specific actions t han general attitudes. We utilize d multivariate relationships between cognitions and stakeholder preference for management actions in order to reveal the structure of the psychological variables underlying management preference We identified the complex
106 c ausal chains linking values and beliefs to provide insight into the cognitions that influence individual preference for non lethal management with the goal of identifying a priori support for management approaches with broad stakeholder support. The Cogn itive Hierarchy The cognitive h ierarchy is a model that suggests a hierarchical relationship between cognitions such as beliefs, attitudes, behavioral intentions and in certain cases behaviors (Decker et al., 2001; Fulton, Manfredo, & Lipscomb, 1996; Homer & Kahle, 1988; Vaske & Donnelly, 1999) Based on this model intention to support TNR will be influenced by beliefs about the outcome (e.g, the outdoor cat population will be reduce d) and attitudes toward TNR (e.g., TNR is humane or effective). W hile general attitudes predict general behaviors, the specificity hypothesis posits that the relationship between beliefs, attitudes and behavior is stronger in cases where specific beliefs a nd attitudes predict specific behaviors (Fishbein & Ajzen, 197 5 ; Donnelly & Vaske, 1995) General attitudes are important because they often mediate the relationship between values and specific wildlife protection attitudes (Tarrant et al., 1997) Values have been proposed as the foundation for attitudes toward wildlife (Kellert, 1996; Purdy & Decker, 1989) Values can differ significantly between stakeholder groups involved in natural resource use and recre ation (Decker & Connelly, 1989; Manfredo, Sneegas, Driver, & Bright, 1989) T he cognitive hierarchy proposes that values form the base of the cognitive pyramid and influence beliefs, which in turn influence attitudes and behaviors (Decker et al., 2001) The framework suggests that each step in the cognitive hierarchy builds on the next. Values which are at the
107 foundation are few in number, slow to change, and formed early in life (Fulton et al., 1996; Rokeach, 1973) Measures in the M odel Attitudes Attitudes are expressed as a positive or negative eva luation of the attitude object (Vaske & Donnelly, 1999) In this model, we measured both general attitudes toward outdoor c ats and specific attitudes toward Trap Neuter R eturn (TNR) and lethal management. We expect general attitudes to influence specific attitudes. Positive attitudes toward wildlife have been correlated with favorable assessments of their right to exist (Brooks, Warren, & Nelms, 1999) and tolerance for future populations (Riley & Decker, 2000b) P ositive attitudes toward wolves increased support for wolf reintroduction (Bright & Manfredo, 1996) Negative attitudes toward wildlife increased support for aggressive management, including removal (Ericsson & Heberlein, 2003) or le thal techniques (Vaske & Needham, 2007) Participants with negative attitudes toward (Jonker, Muth, Organ, Zwick, & Siemer, 2006) Specific attitudes toward moose hunting predicted a ttitudes toward hunting as acceptable (Donnelly & Vaske, 1995) Attitudes toward TNR and the humaneness of euthanasia, shooting or poisoning cats will be treated as specific attitudes and are expected to mediate the relationship between attitudes about outdo or cats and management acceptance. Beliefs The cognitive hierarchy provided theoretical support for the influence of impact beliefs, both positive and negative, on attitudes and management preference (Decker et al. 2001) Support for lethal control and e valuation of these methods as humane was
108 influenced by beliefs about human safety, animal suffering and the severity of the wildlife damage (Reiter et al., 1999) Perceived deer impacts were a strong predictor of tolerance for the future deer population (Lischka et al., 2009) Public acceptance of beaver impacts wa s influenced by perceived recreational benefits from beavers (Enck, Connelly, & Brown, 1996; Siemer et al., 2004) There was a strong relationship between perceived impacts from bovine tuberculosis and support for management to eradicate the disease (Dorn & Mertig, 2005) In some cases, economic and nuisance damage related to animals more strongly predicted support for lethal management than concern over health and safety (Loker et al., 1999) In the case of outdoor cats, we address both the perceived negative impacts to people (fouling yards, noise, defecation in and around gardens etc.); the perceived negative impact to wildlife and the environment through pred ation, competition, and the spread of diseases; and the perceived positive impacts or benefits cats provide to people through companionship and pest control. Perceptions (Loyd & Miller, 2010a) staff increased support for removal methods over TNR (Ash & Adams, 2003) Stronger control methods wer (Tennent et al., 2010) If beliefs about the negative and positi ve impacts associated with outdoor cats are salient and readily associated with the referent species, then they will influence attitudes (Ajzen & Fishbein, 1997; Fishbein & Ajzen, 1975) Worldviews The New Ecological Paradigm (NEP) is a survey instrument that measures how individuals view the natural world (Dunlap & Van Liere, 1978) Significant differences in NEP scores represent divergent environmental values among stakeholder groups
109 (Edgell & Nowell, 1989; Friedmann, 1995; Kaltenborn, Bjerke, & Strumse, 1998) Respondents with a more dominant perspective (i.e., the Dominant Social Paradigm) or a more nature centered perspective (i.e., The New Ecological Paradigm) may differ in their beliefs, attitudes and m anagement preference. NEP is designed to measure five components of an ecological worldview: the reality of limits to growth, and the possibility of an ecocrisis. Ind ividuals with ecocentric perspectives agree more strongly with the positive elements of the NEP scale while people with more anthropocentric beliefs (or a more dominant social paradigm) agree more strongly with the negative items in the scale. Environment al worldviews (NEP) influenced attitudes toward the management of the non native mountain pine beetle ( Dendroctonus ponderosae ) (McFarlane, 2005) the protection of national forests (Vaske & Donnelly, 1999) and increased concern over government management of an enviro nmental issue (Hart, Nisbet, & Shanahan, 2011) Previous research has suggested that stak eholder groups (i.e., TNR proponents and ecological impacts on wildlife and the environment (Peterson et al., 2012) It is possible that these differences are based on differing views about the fragility of nature and the importance of protecting wildl ife from human sources of risk. Our mo del posits that conflicts over how to humanely and effectively manage the outdoor cat population are driven by differences in the value people place on nature and natural systems. Therefore, we suppose that values form the basis of beliefs and we use NEP a s a measure of environmental values or worldviews (Figure 5 1).
110 Utilizing the framework provided by the cognitive hierarchy, t he objective of this study was to determine the influence of cognitive variables on intention to support non lethal management f or outdoor cats (i.e., TNR and placement in a long term no kill shelter) (Figure 5 1). Based on these objectives we tested four hypotheses concerning the relationships between cognitions and behavioral intentions related to outdoor cats. H1 Worldviews wi ll predict general and specific beliefs. (a) Respondents with ecocentric worldviews will be less supportive of cats outdoors. (b) Respondents with ecocentric worldviews will perceive significantly more negative impacts from cats than individuals with a d ominant worldview. H2 Beliefs will influence attitudes toward outdoor cats. (a) Respondents who believe cats have the right to live outdoors will express more positive attitudes about outdoors cats. (b) Respondents who agreed with positive cat impact b eliefs will express more positive attitudes about outdoor cats. (c) Respondents who express greater agreement with positive impact beliefs will express more positive attitudes about TNR. H3 General attitudes will predict specific attitudes. (a) Respond ents with positive attitudes about outdoor cats will report greater support for TNR. (b) Respondents with positive attitudes about outdoor cats will perceive lethal management as less humane. H4 Both general and specific attitudes will influence behavio ral intentions. (a) Respondents with positive attitudes about TNR will express greater support for TNR than respondents with negative attitudes (b) Respondents who perceive lethal management as humane will express less support for TNR. Methods Survey D esign and Distribution We identified 10 TNR organizations across four counties in the state of Florida that represented both North and South Florida. These groups were identified as the most active in Florida with large membership /volunteer lists and ongoi ng TNR and e fforts throughout each county. We identified active Audubon chapters across the same 10 countie s with large membership lists. The final four counties included : Alachua, Duval, Broward and Miami Dade and were selected because the y included activ e
111 stakeholder groups (both TNR and Audubon) represented both North and South Florida, and agreed t o participate in this research. According to census results, Alachua County had a population of 244,247, Duval County had a population of 854,848, Broward Co unty had a population of 1.7 million and Miami Dade County had a population of 2.4 million (United State s Census, 2005) Survey questions were developed in consultation with experts in the fields of wildl ife ecology and animal welfare. We conducted 6 focus groups with stakeholders across Florida to develop survey items addressing beliefs about outdoor cats and cat impacts and test survey te rminology and question wording. identified as the most neutral and easy to understand term for referring to free roaming domestic cats. For all questions we asked respondents to report answers about outdoor cats not owned by them. The survey was approved by UF IRB. From April 201 2 to September of 2012, we sent a mail back questionnaire to randomly selected individuals belonging to two stakeholder groups: (1) members of organizations supporting and participating in TNR efforts (n=800) and (2) members of the Audubon Society wave tailored design method (Dillman, 1999; Dillman et al., 2009) The first mailing to stakeholders included a survey, postage paid retu rn envelope, and cover letter. A remi nder postcard was sent to non respondents two weeks lat er. The final mailing, sent two to three weeks after the reminder, included another full copy of the survey, envelope and letter. The final survey measured 28 items including (1) management acceptance (2) attitudes toward cats, TNR, and lethal management, (3) general beliefs about cats and impact beliefs, and (4) environmental worldviews. We used self reported management
112 acceptance as a p roxy for behavioral intention. Respondents indicated which of th e listed mana gement methods were preferred. Choices included TNR, placement in a long term, no kill sanctuary, trap an d euthanize and no management. Items were collapsed into a binary measure so that 0=lethal methods and 1=non lethal methods. Attitudes to point scale ranging from unfavorable feeling to favorable feeling. Three items measured attitudes toward TNR on a 7 point scale with 1=strongly disag ree and 7=strongly agree (Table 5 1). Attitudes toward four lethal management approaches were measured (i.e., shelter euthanasia, veterinary euthanasia, shooting and poisoning) on a 7 point scale with 1=inhumane and 7=very humane. Seven items representing general beliefs about outdoor cats and 10 impact beliefs (6 negative and 4 positive belief items) were measured on a 7 point scale with 1=strongly disagree and 7=strongly agree (Table 5 1). Environmental worldviews were measured using the 15 item updated N ew Ecological Paradigm (NEP) scale (Dunla p, Van Liere, Mertig, & Jones, 2000) Items were collapsed into a 5 point Likert scale with 1=strongly disagree and 5= strongly agree. NEP statements with a negative loading were reverse coded. Scores ranged from 1 to 5, with actual scores from 1.40 to 5. 00. Higher scores represent stronger agreement with NEP and more ecocentric worldviews (Table 5 1). Tests for Sample Bias There is a growing body of evidence suggesting that non response rates explain only a small amount of the total non response bias (Groves, 2006) Non response bias is less of a concern because we are not interest ed in generalizing our findings and we were not interested in the marginal distributions of the variables of interest. Moreover,
113 surveys of specific populations have smaller average non response differences than surveys of the general population (Groves & Peytcheva, 2008) Non response bias is primarily a problem of reduced representation of individuals unengaged in the issue being studied By surveying members of stakeholder groups actively involved in the issue, we reduced the chance of non response due to lack of engagement. Nonetheless, we tested non response bias by evaluating the differences between early and late survey responders (t hose who responded after the final mailing was sent). First round respondents (n=586) and late responders (n=158) were compared on 10 questions from the survey. Demographic characteristics and responses did not differ significantly between respondent group s. Data A nalyses A latent growth curve model was developed to explore the hypothesized relationships among management acceptance, attitudes toward cats attitudes toward TNR, and lethal management, beliefs about outdoor cats, beliefs about cat impacts, a nd environmental worldviews. Multivariate models such as these allow us to simultaneously measure relationships between numerous exogenous and endogenous variables. Unweighted data were used to perform the structural equation model. E ach item was const rained so it loaded o n only one latent factor. Responses with missing data were removed from the model leaving a sample size of 298 (Audubon=137, TNR=161) We used maximum likelihood estimation to calculate model parameters. The comparative fit index and standardized root mean square residual values, and the theoretical meaning of the model were used to assess model fit. The higher the CFI, the better the fit of the model to the data; the CFI has a range of zero to 1.00 and values
114 >0.90 are considered ac ce ptable (Hu & Bentler, 1998) Paths with insignificant relationships were trimmed, yielding th e model shown in (Figure 5 2). Reliability estimates were performed using IBM SPSS statistical so ftware version 20. The latent growth curve model was performed using Amos v 20. The first step of the analysis included confirmatory factor analyses, a fundamental component of structural equation models, for each of our latent (unobserved) variables 1) attitudes toward TNR, 2) attitudes toward lethal management, 3) beliefs about outdoor cats, 4) impact beliefs, and 5) environmental worldview. Each scale was tested for reliability with 0 .65 considered acceptable (Nunnally, 1978; Vaske, 2008) The second step was to fit the observ ed data to the proposed model. Finally, we used post hoc modification indices to identify additional parameters that enhance d model fit. Results Characteristics of R espondents A total of 760 surveys were returned; Audubon stakeholders (n=384) and TNR supporters (n=361). Our response rate for the Audubon stakeholders was 51% and for the TNR supporters was 46%. Most respondents were fema le (78%) and cat owners (63%). Most respondents did not feed cats (67%). Structural Equation Model The data exhibited univariate normality allowing for the use of maximum likelihood to esti mate pa rameters. Confirmatory factory analysis revealed that items loaded acceptably on all 5 latent variables: 1) attitudes toward TNR, 2) attitudes toward lethal management, 3) beliefs about outdoor cats, 4) impact beliefs, and 5) environmental worldview s. Consistent with Dunlap, Van Liere et al. 2000, all NEP items
115 load ed > 0 .80 (Vaske, 2008) (Table 5 1). The initial model was not a good fit to the data (CFI=.89). We theref ore adjusted the model post hoc based on modification indices and standardized factor loadings. Modification indices suggested that beliefs about outdoor cats should be split into two latent variables: positive beliefs about cats and negative beliefs abou t cats. In addition, our post hoc analysis indicated that within factor correlations between error terms would improve model fit. Therefore, we allowed error terms to correlate on two items in the positive impact beliefs factor (cats reduce disease and ki ll pest species); the attitudes toward lethal management factor (shooting and poisoning cats) and the beliefs about cats factor (deserve to live outdoors and should have access to th e outdoors equal to wildlife). In addition to improving the model, the cor related item s also made theoretical sense. The revised model is nested within the original model and the difference between 2 values can be used to compare model fit (Table 5 3). The revised model is a significant improvement ( 2 =263.28, p< 0 .001) and improved model fit (CFI= 0 .93). The final mod el is presented in Figure 5 2. Estimates reported for each of the paths represent standardized coeffi cients. Solid lines represent significant paths ; insignificant paths are indicated with dashed lines All causal paths had si gns in the expected direction. Worldviews predicted beliefs about outdoor cats and negative impact beliefs (H1) Respondents with ecocentric worldviews expressed less support for cats outdoors (H1 a ) and g reater negative beliefs (H1b). General beliefs about outdoor cats influenced attit udes toward outdoor cats (H2). Respondents who agreed cats had the right to live outdoors expressed more positive attitudes toward outdoor cats (H2a).
116 Positive impact beliefs increased positive attitudes toward outdoor cats while negative impact beliefs decre ased positive attitudes (H2b). Positive impact beliefs did not directly predi ct attitudes toward TNR (H2c). General attitudes about outdoor cats predicted both specific attitudes about TNR and attitudes about lethal management (H3). Respondents with positive attitudes about outdoor cats expressed stronger support for TNR (H3a) and perceived lethal ma nagement as less humane (H3b). Both general and specific attitudes influenc ed behavioral intentions (H4). Respondents with positive attitudes about TNR expressed significantly greater support fo r non lethal management (H4a). Respondents who perceived lethal management as humane expressed significantl y lower support for TNR (H4b). Contrary to our expectations, worldviews did not influence positive impact beliefs. Discussion S uccessful management implementation requires an understanding of stakeholder perceptions of the humaneness of various management approaches and specific attitudes toward different management approaches prio r to management implementation. W ildlife or animal control efforts will be influenced by stakeholder and public perceptions and support (Jacobson, 200 9) This study confirmed that stakeholder c onflict over cat management preference is driven by fundamental value laden differences in attitudes about the effectiveness and humaneness of management, as well as beliefs about cat related impacts Knowledge o f the values underlying attitudes and management support c ontribut es to existing theoretical models of human behavior and can reduce conflict over environmental attitudes and natural resource management (Manfredo, Teel, & Bright, 2003) As hypothesized, results supported the relationships advan ced by the cognitive hierarchy and support for the specificity principle (i.e. specific
117 attitudes will predict specific intentions better than general attitudes) (Fulton et al., 1996; Homer & Kahle, 1988; Vaske & Don nelly, 1999) Previous research has found that preference for wildlife management is influenced by perceived management effectiveness, animal suffering, environmental impacts the severity of the problem (Reiter et al., 1999) and beliefs about the outcomes of lethal control (Fulton et al., 2004) We found that support for the management of outdoor cats is driven primarily by attitudes toward lethal management and attitudes toward TNR (e.g a good management strategy, general support). Mul tivariate Relationships between Cognitions Reliable information about stakeholder attitudes toward management and support for management is a crucial step in minimizing conflict over the lethal management of wild life (Lauber, Knuth, Tantillo, & Curtis, 2007) Managing outdoor cats and communica ting with stakeholder groups involved in this issue requires an understanding of the social psychological beliefs and attitudes driving support or opposition to T NR and lethal management. Previous research has provided valuable information about public sup port for cat management (Loyd & Hernandez, 2012; Loyd & Miller, 2010a, 2010b; Peterson et al., 2012) but has not explored the multivariate relationships between cognitions and support for management techniques amon g active stakeholders. This model confirms that the reasons for individual management preference are multifaceted and influenced by multiple cognitive factors (Fulton et al., 2004) A univariate analysis may have overlooked these relationships. Attitude Specificity In this study, attitudes toward lethal management was the strongest predictor of management acceptance. Attitudes toward cat management was also the strongest
118 predictor of support for cat man agement among the general public in Georgia (Loyd & Hernandez, 2012) As expected, general attitudes about outdoor cats did not directly predict management acceptance. Previous research has sugg ested that the relationship between beliefs as a predictor of attitudes and behaviors is stronger in cases where the beliefs address specific situations or issues (Ajzen & Fishbein, 1997; Fishbein & Ajzen, 1975) General beliefs about hunting were less predictive of support for moose hunting in New Hampshire than specific bel iefs about the planned hunt (Donnelly & Vaske, 1995) A ttitudes toward healthy ecosystems, cat rights, beliefs about cat management and harm to wildlife were important predictors of support for TNR legisla tion (Loyd & Hernandez, 2012) Our results suggest that in a multivariate analysis specific attitudes about lethal management and TNR were more important than general attitudes toward outdoor cats. Other models and approaches have highlighted t he hierarchical relationship between values, attitudes and behaviors and the importance of attitude specificity The value belief norm theory is an adaptation of Stern and Dietz original hypothesis that a person's more general set of values predict attitud es of concern about environmental issues (Stern, Dietz, & Kalof, 1993) The model links environmental values (egoistic, altruistic, and biospheric), with behaviors using individual beliefs and norms as mediators (Stern, Dietz, Abel, Guagna no, & Kalof, 1999) Similar to the mode l proposed in this study, the foundation for the value belief norm theory is the NEP scale (Dunlap & Van Liere, 1978) Our findings suppor t the applicability of a model based on the cognitive hierarchy with worldviews, measured as NEP, as a basis for beliefs about
119 animals and animal impacts, which predict attitudes toward the humaneness and effectiveness of management, that, in turn influenc e behavioral intentions. Cat Related Risks and Impacts The NEP scale is a strong predictor of ecological risk rankings (Slimak & Dietz, 2006) proenvironmental behavior (Cordano, Welcomer, & Scherer, 2003) environmental attitudes and behavioral intentions (Stern, Kalof, Dietz, & Guagnano, 1995) In this study, NEP was a significant predictor of negative impact beliefs a nd beliefs about outdoor cats. This result suggests that ecocentric worldviews may contribute to both incre ased concern about the wildlife risks to cats from predation and competition and concern over the cat welfare and risks rel ated to the outdoor lifestyle. More research is necessary to test this finding. Our results underscore the important causal link be tween negative impact beliefs associate d with an animal and attitudes toward or support for lethal management. Previous research indicates that support for lethal management for white tailed deer ( Odocoileus v i rginianus ), beaver ( Castor canadensis ) and C anada geese ( Branta canadensis ) was related to beliefs about animals as a nuisance (Loker et al., 1999) The acceptability of lethal wildlife management increased as the severity of the impacts to people increased (Wittmann, Vaske, Manfredo, & Zinn, 1998) A study of Illinois residents reported that negative experiences with outdoor cats (problem with cats on property, probl em killing birds or small mammals and scaring birds from the birdfeeder) significantly reduced support for TNR (p<.001) (Loyd & Miller, 2010a) In our study, individuals who perceived significant negati ve impacts from outdoor cats were more likely to perceive lethal management methods as humane ; negative impacts predicted more of the variance in management support than attitudes about outdoor cats.
120 Previous research suggested that ecological risk per ceptions (the perceived threat to wildlife and ecological systems) are an essential predictor of attitudes toward the lethal management of cats (Loyd & Hernandez, 2012; Peterson et al., 2012) Our findings confirm the importance of impact beliefs on attitudes toward management. Little is currently known about whether cat predation on wildlife influences population or commu nity distribution, diversity and abundance and how important these impacts are compare d to alternate sources of wildlife mortality (Calver et al., 2011) It is important to note that even with increased certainty about actual risks affect for cats (i.e. positive attitudes toward outdoor cats) and positive impact beliefs may continue to minimize risk perceptions and motivate behaviors for s ome stakeholders (Epstein, 1994; Finucane et al., 2000)
121 Table 5 1. Reliability and confirmatory factor analysis o f latent variables i n t he final structural equation model Survey item Factor loading 1 Cron b ach' The New Ecological Paradigm (NEP) 0.86 We are approaching the limit of the number of people that the earth can support 0.67 Humans have the right to modify the natural environment to suit their needs 2 0.47 When humans interfere with nature i t often produces disastrous consequences 0.50 Human ingenuity will insure that we do NOT make the earth unlivable 2 0.58 Humans are severely abusing the environment 0.61 The earth has plenty of natural resources if we just learn how to develop them 2 0 .53 Plants and animals have as much right as humans to exist 0.51 The balance of nature is strong enough to cope with the impacts of modern industrial nations 2 0.65 Despite our social abilities humans are still subject to the laws of nature 0.39 Th e so called "ecological crisis" facing humankind has been greatly exaggerated 2 0.73 The earth is like a spaceship with very limited room and resources 0.71 Humans were meant to rule over the rest of nature 2 0.59 The balance of nature is very delicate and easily upset 0.59 Humans will eventually learn enough about how nature works to be able to control it 2 0.45 If things continue on their present course, we will soon experience a major ecological catastrophe 0.74 Beliefs about outdoor cats 0.90 Cats deserve to be outdoors and free like other animals 0.80 Wildlife and cats should have equal access to the outdoors 0.79 I like seeing outdoor cats 0.82 Outdoor cats should have the right to hunt 0.77 Outdoor cats live happy and healthy lives 0.70 Cats should be kept indoors 2 0.59 Outdoor cats are a problem in Florida 2 0.64 Perceived negative impacts associated with outdoor cats 0.88 The use of my yard as a litter box by outdoor cats is a nuisance 0.77 Outdoor cats spread diseases to people 0.80 Outdoor cats make loud calls and noises 0.70 Outdoor cats can spread diseases to owned pets 0.74 Outdoor cats compete with wildlife for food 0.71 Outdoor cats pose a significant risk to wildlife 0.74 Perceived positive impacts associ ated with outdoor cats 0.84 Outdoor cats improve my quality of life 0.97 Outdoor cats provide me with companionship 0.93 Outdoor cats kill mice and pests 0.40
122 Table 5 1 continued. Survey item Factor loading 1 By killing pests, outdoor cats reduce the spread of diseases 0.60 Attitudes toward TNR 0.86 I support programs to trap neuter and return outdoor cats 0.90 Trap neuter and return programs are a good way to manage outdoor cats 0.86 I su pport using tax dollars for low cost spay neuter and return programs 0.69 Perceived humaneness of management 0.77 Placement in a short term shelter followed by euthanasia 0.94 Veterinary induced euthanasia 0.86 Shooting 0.55 Poisoned baits 0.47 1 Factor loadings were standardized and were all significant at p <0.05 2 Items were reverse coded Table 5 2. Test statistics for hypothesized multivariate model Model 2 df CFI 1 RMSEA 2 2 df 1. Initial 2383 384 0.827 0.083 2. Revised 809 379 0.926 0.062 1574 5 1 Confirmatory Fit Index 2 Root mean square error of approximation
123 Figure 5 1. A theoretical model of the hypothesized relations hips between worldviews beliefs, attitudes and intention to support management. The four major hypotheses tested are indicated.
124 Figure 5 2 Path diagram used in the final structural equation model. Solid black lines indicate significant direct eff ects (p< 0 .05) with standardized regression coefficients shown for each line. The error terms associated with the three belief items were allowed to correlate. Therefore the correlation between negative impact beliefs and beliefs about outdoor cats was 0 737. Correlation between positive impact beliefs and beliefs about outdoor cats was 0 .768 and the correlation between negative and positive impact beliefs was 0 .585.
125 CHAPTER 6 CONCLUSION The purpose of this dissertation was to determine how cat related risk perceptions and benefits influence d tolerance for outdoor cats, attitudes toward cat management, stakeholder group membership and preference for lethal and non lethal cat management. Chapters 2 and 3 illustrated the importance of perceptions of the current cat population combined with risk perceptions and perceived cat related benefits in predicting tolerance for outdoor cats. Chapters 4 and 5 confirmed that risks and benefits play a critical role in predicting support for non lethal managem ent but suggested that perceptions and the importance of these variables differ s significantly between stakeholder groups. The multivariate model tested in Chapter 5 confirmed the importance of specific attitudes about the effectiveness and humaneness of lethal management strategies in predicting management support. These findings contribute to the theoretical framework of risk perceptions and the cognitive hierarchy and provide concrete improvements to the design and implementation of cat management ini tiatives with widespread stakeholder and public support. Chapter 2 confirmed the importance of perceptions of the cat population in predicting tolerance for outdoor cats. This finding suggests that campaigns based on concern about the future growth of th e cat population may produce decreased tolerance, which could increase support for active management. Unlike previous studies with wildlife, e xperiences and perceptions of cat related impacts to wildlife were not significant predictors of tolerance. It is possible these differences were the result of sample selection. Respondents were undergraduates enrolled in general education courses at the University of Florida. It is possible that these students had little direct
126 experience with outdoor cats, which co ntributed to the observed differences. It is possible that the lack of concern about this issue, as described by respondents, reduced the role of impact beliefs. These results confirm the importance of Wildlife Acceptance Capacity as a predictor of managem ent support, but experiential differences between respondents may reduce the generalizability of this research. In the third chapter, we addressed the hypothesis that affection for cats and positive interactions with cats will result in a reduction i n the perceived risks cats pose to wildlife and the environment. The benefits perceived from outdoor cats have often been ignored by managers and environmental groups concerned about the potential risks cats pose to the environment. Our results suggest th at these benefits are extremely important because they reduce risk perceptions and support for lethal management and should be recognized prior to the implementation of a cat management approach. This finding indicates that messages aimed at generating sup port for a specific management action may fail if they focus solely on the potential risks or impacts cats may pose to wildlife. In designing an outreach program aimed at generati ng support for cat management, educators and communicators should consider th e important role benefits perceptions played in this study and the minimal role that risk perceptions played This is the first study to approach conflict between stakeholders from a neutral perspective. Avoiding reference to cats as feral or wild, use o and the acknowledgement of potential benefits stakeholders perceive from outdoor cats represent a significant contribution to this literature I believe that the high rates of stakeholder and public support for TNR are due to the use of t
127 reported much higher support for euthanasia (Loyd & Miller 2010b). I believe these differen the welfare of these animals and the affection people feel for them, which influences management preference. Terminology in quantitative surveys is extremely important and may be driving this result, but it may also ref lect the importance of context and species specific characteristics in public opinions of animals and management techniques (Roskaft, 2003; Riley, 2000). The fourth chapter identified differences between three stakeholder groups (i.e., Audubon Society members, TNR group members and the general public) and defined the most parsimonious model for predicting membership in these groups Results indicated that risk perceptions may drive support for lethal management among Audubon group members, but not amo ng TNR group members or the general public. Moreover, affection for cats and cat ownership may drive support for TNR among TNR group members, but not among Audubon group members or the general public. Messages aimed at generating support for management m ethods among multiple stakeholder groups may need to target different concerns for different groups of stakeholders. In addition to differences between groups, we also found concrete agreement among stakeholders over the importance of management, with su pport for mandatory rabies vaccination, owner provided identification and strategy More importantly, s terms of cat management. This desire to implement some form of ca t management can be an important starting point for discussion between stakeholder groups.
128 In Chapter 5, t he cognitive hierarchy, which posits that values form the basis for beliefs, which influence attitudes, that in turn predict behavioral intentions, was applied to a multivariate model prediction stakeholder intentions to support non lethal cat management. This research provide d support for using the cognitive hierarchy to understand and predict stakeholder acceptance of management interventions. Th e results confirmed the hierarchical relationships between worldviews, beliefs, attitudes and behavioral intentions and confirmed that specific attitudes about the effectiveness and humaneness of a management method were more important predictors of manage ment support than general attitudes These results provide important information that can inform outreach and communication efforts related to the issue of outdoor cats. Together these studies raise additional questions about the use of risk based messag es to encourage individual s to confine outdoor cats. In the case of undergraduate students, who had little self reported knowledge of or concern about cat related risks, perceived benefits mediated the relationship between beliefs and tolerance rather than risk perceptions The reduced concern over risk perceptions observed in the public and TNR groups compared with the Audubon group members suggests that for the former groups risk perceptions are not driv ing attitudes toward management or support for cats outdoors. Given the strong and significantly different opinions about cat related risks reported by stakeholders, education focused solely on risks or messages that emphasize specific stereotypes about cats may foster additional conflict or alienate stake holders rather than motivate collaboration to reduce the outdoor cat population.
129 We believe these results have implications for wildlife managers and environmental policy makers who attempt to implement lethal or controversial management strate gies to r emove wildlife. Backlash from stakeholders over the implementation of specific policies may in some cases be driven by concern over the humaneness of the management method, perceived benefits from the referent species or perceived ineffectiveness of the pr oposed management approach. As the human population grows and comes into greater contact with the environment and wildlife it is imperative that we develop multi disciplinary approaches to mitigating stakeholder conflicts and cutting edge techniques for co mmunicating with the public. Despite significant differences between groups about cat impacts and risks, there were areas of agreement about specific management approaches that could provide an important starting point for future efforts to address cat ove rpopulation. Focusing future efforts on areas of collaboration may help reduce conflict and enable effective efforts to control cat overpopulation. These results contribute to the theoretical framework surrounding s takeholder conflict and identified concr ete areas of potential collaboration that apply to a variety of native and non native animals.
130 APPENDIX A STUDENT IN PERSON SURVEY
138 APPENDIX B SURVEY OF STAKEHOLDERS AND THE GENERAL PUBLIC
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168 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Dara was born in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1979. Four years later, her family moved to Gainesville, Florida. Dara spent two years in Israel, at the age of 10, and again at 13, the first time in Jerusalem with her family and the second time as part of a Hebrew High School program on a kibbutz in the Amec valley. She finished her high school degree at Gainesville High School. Upon graduation, Dara moved to Israel and earned dual citizenship. At the age of 18, she was drafted int o the Israeli military, where she spent 2 years as a tank mechanic. After completing her service, Dara returned to the U.S. to pursue an undergraduate degree at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. While there, she spent a semester in Kenya study ing environmental politics and wildlife ecology and management. In 2004, Dara graduated from Brandeis University and received a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in biology, a minor in theater, and a certificate in Environmental Studies. After gradu ation, Dara stayed in Boston to continue her work in the field of environmental studies. She worked at the New England Aquarium as a senior Program Educator and grant coordinator. She also worked as an event coordinator with Alternatives for Community and Environment, an environmental justice organization in Roxbury, Massachusetts. In 2006, Dara Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation at the University of Florida. Dara began her Ph.D. program in 2008. Once she finishes her Ph.D., she will pursue an academic position. Dara currently lives in Gainesville, FL with her husband and young daughter