Social challenges of spatial planning for outdoor cat management in Amami Oshima Island, Japan

Kota Mameno, Takahiro Kubo, Mariko Suzuki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Outdoor cats pose substantial threats to native biodiversity, especially on islands. However, cats also provide benefits to people, such as companionship and the killing of pests. Thus, management of outdoor cats is controversial and can lead to conflicts among stakeholders. Although previous studies have examined stakeholders’ preferences for outdoor cats and their management, little is known about the differences in their attitudes toward cat occurrences and management across habitats. Identifying these attitudinal differences would provide useful knowledge for policy makers about zoning management. We conducted structured interviews with residents in Amami Oshima Island, Japan, to evaluate the residents’ attitudes to outdoor cats’ occurrence and their management across habitats (Forest, Rural, and Town areas). Furthermore, we compared the attitudes of cat-owners and non-owners. The results show that the Forest was least preferred as an outdoor cat habitat. Lethal options as a management strategy were unacceptable to the residents, whereas adoption was acceptable in all areas. Cat-owners showed a significantly higher acceptance toward outdoor cats in Town and Rural areas than did non-owners; they also showed a lower acceptance of lethal options and a higher acceptance toward Trap, Neuter and Return (TNR) than non-owners. These findings imply that it is difficult to achieve consensus regarding outdoor cat management, especially in town and rural areas; however, outdoor cats from these areas move to the forests and pose a threat to the endangered species. Communication efforts with both cat-owners and non-owners should fill these attitudinal gaps among stakeholders and lead to effective management.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)184-193
Number of pages10
JournalGlobal Ecology and Conservation
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Apr 1
Externally publishedYes


  • Cat management
  • Conservation conflict
  • Island ecosystem
  • Outdoor cat
  • Spatial planning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation


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