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Objectives—To describe the characteristics of unowned, free-roaming cats and their caretakers who participated in a trap-neuter-return (TNR) program and to determine the effect of the program on free-roaming cat colonies.

Design—Prospective study.

Sample Population—101 caretakers of 920 unowned, free-roaming cats in 132 colonies in north central Florida.

Results—Most (85/101; 84%) caretakers were female. The median age was 45 years (range, 19 to 74 years). Most (89/101; 88%) caretakers owned pets and of those, most (67/101; 66%) owned cats. The major reasons for feeding free-roaming cats were sympathy and love of animals. Most caretakers reported that the cats they cared for were too wild to be adopted, but many also reported that they considered the cats to be like pets. The total surveyed cat population was 920 before participation in TNR and 678 after TNR. Mean colony size was 7 cats before TNR and 5.1 cats after TNR. Most cats lived on the caretaker's property. At the time of the survey, 70% (644/920) of the cats had been neutered.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—The decrease in the surveyed free-roaming cat population was attributed to a reduction in births of new kittens, adoptions, deaths, and disappearances. Recognition of the human-animal bond that exists between caretakers and the feral cats they feed may facilitate the development of effective control programs for feral cat populations. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2002;220: 1627–1633)

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


Objective—To identify predictors of grief and client desires and needs as they relate to pet death.

Design—Cross-sectional mail survey.

Sample Population—177 clients, from 14 randomly selected veterinary practices, whose cat or dog died between 6 and 43 days prior to returning the completed questionnaire.

Procedure—Veterinary practices were contacted weekly to obtain the names of clients whose pets had died until approximately 200 clients were identified. Clients were contacted by telephone, and a questionnaire designed to measure grief associated with pet death was mailed to those willing to participate within 1 to 14 days of their pet's death. The questionnaire measured potential correlates and modifiers of grief and included three outcome measures: social/emotional and physical consequences, thought processes, and despair. Demographic data were also collected.

Results—Approximately 30% of participants experienced severe grief. The most prominent risk factors for grief included level of attachment, euthanasia, societal attitudes toward pet death, and professional support from the veterinary team.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Bivariate and multivariate analyses highlighted the impact owners' attitudes about euthanasia and professional intervention by the veterinary team had on reactions to pet death. Owners' perceptions of societal attitudes, also a predictor of grief, indicate that grief for pets is different than grief associated with other losses. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2000;217:1303–1309)

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


To assess veterinary students' perceptions regarding the importance of addressing the human-animal bond in veterinary practice and their perceptions about the adequacy of curricula on the human-animal bond as presented in US veterinary colleges.




Data were collected via a brief questionnaire mailed during the summer of 1996. Questionnaires were returned by 552 senior veterinary students representing 21 of 27 veterinary colleges in the United States.


Senior veterinary students believed that the human-animal bond should be a concern of practicing veterinarians, but most did not believe they were receiving adequate instruction about the human-animal bond in their veterinary colleges. Gender was significantly related to differences in perceptions; female students appeared to have more interest in addressing the human-animal bond than male students. Students in small animal programs viewed the human-animal bond differently than those in large animal programs. Finally, students attending schools with extensive human-animal bond or human relations curricula were more likely to believe they were receiving adequate instruction in this area than students in other schools.

Conclusions and Clinical Implications

Curricula addressing the human-animal bond need to be developed and implemented in veterinary colleges in the United States. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 1999;215:1428–1432)

Free access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association