Thompson Rivers University masters candidate Denise King is researching cats. Photo by Dave Eagles/KTW

TRU researcher wants input for cat study

Environment Canada estimates approximately 204 million birds are killed by cats each year

By Tim Petruk – Kamloops This Week

Denise King wears the title “cat lady” with pride, and the Thompson Rivers University masters of science candidate is hoping to put her feline fondness to academic use with a study looking at the impact house cats have on the world around them — and vice versa.

“The main focus of the research is to gather baseline data for Kamloops residents to determine the relationship between cats and wildlife and the environment,” King told KTW.

“Birds tend to be the main focus, but cats are natural predators. They’ll leap at anything that moves.”

Environment Canada estimates approximately 204 million birds are killed by domestic and feral cats each year across the country, but King’s research is looking strictly at feline pets.

“I thought, ‘I’d like to know more about what’s happening in Kamloops as far as cats and the environment go,’” she said. “Is it a concern? If you’re on an island, it [a cat] is certainly detrimental to the wildlife on that island. But what about Kamloops? What are the realities of the risks here? Things like, does Aberdeen have a high instance of predators, coyotes, coming in because it’s on the outskirts?”

To figure that out, King hopes to hear from as many Kamloops residents as possible — cat owner or not. She needs 400 respondents to make her research “statistically significant.”

King plans to pair her survey results with figures from area stakeholders — veterinarian offices, the BCSPCA, the Kamloops and District Humane Society and others — to paint a picture.

Once that’s done, King’s ultimate goal is to generate a conversation in the community and get cat owners thinking about how to be responsible for their pets.“It’s about how to all live together in our community,” she said. “That’s the big thing — having respect and understanding what the cat needs. It’s looking at the whole picture of what’s happening in Kamloops.”

According to King, there’s also an opportunity for local government to become involved. She hopes to see the City of Kamloops consider adopting a strategy being promoted by the Stewardship Centre of B.C. aimed at keeping cats safe and birds alive.

King hopes her findings result in a conversation at city hall.

“It’s about being a responsible cat owner,” she said. “There are ways to allow your cats to be outdoors without exposing them to risks and having an impact on wildlife.”

King said she is hoping to hear from plenty of local residents. The only requirement for respondents is to be 18 or older and to live in Kamloops.

“They can give a voice and their opinions and perceptions, whether you’re a cat owner or a non-cat owner,” King said.

“This research hasn’t been done here before. It’s about raising some awareness, maybe bringing in education campaigns — really just have people, if they’re thinking about getting a cat, think about what they need to have a happy cat.”

Just Posted

B.C. Interior free from measles

Vancouver measles outbreak hasn’t spread to the B.C. Interior

B.C. BUDGET: Surplus $374 million after bailouts of BC Hydro, ICBC

Growth projected stronger in 2020, Finance Minister Carole James says

Back in Time

Historical Perspective

High winds could lead to dangerous snowmobiling conditions

Advice for staying safe on the mountains Family Day weekend

Students give two thumbs up to no more B.C. student loan interest

Eliminating the loan interest charges could save the average graduate $2,300 over 10 years

Ontario man accused of killing 11-year-old daughter dies in hospital, police say

Roopesh Rajkumar had been hospitalized with what police described as a self-inflicted gunshot wound

Manitoba ‘pauses’ link with ex-B.C. premier Gordon Campbell after allegations

Campbell had been hired to review two major hydro projects

Heritage minute features Japanese-Canadian baseball team, internment

The Vancouver Asahi baseball team won various championships across the Pacific Northwest

UPDATE: Woman, off-duty cop in critical condition after stabbing outside B.C. elementary school

The officer was interceding in an alleged assault when he and the woman were stabbed

$10-a-day child care not in 2019 budget, but advocate not irked

Sharon Gregson with the Coalition of Child Care Advocates of B.C. says NDP on track to deliver promise

B.C. Seniors Advocate questions labour shortage in care homes

Are there really no workers, or are care aide wages too low?

B.C. business groups worry about looming economic decline in wake of NDP budget

The party’s second government budget focused on plenty of spending, business advocates say

Missing Surrey snowshoer caught in avalanche found dead on Vancouver mountain

North Shore Rescue resumed its search today after efforts were temporarily halted Tuesday due to snowstorm

Most Read