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Exploring Human-Feral Cat Relations in Southern Ontario

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Title: Exploring Human-Feral Cat Relations in Southern Ontario
Author: Van Patter, Lauren
Department: Department of Geography
Program: Geography
Advisor: Hovorka, Alice
Abstract: Feral cat management is an under-researched human-animal interaction. Feral cats are supported and protected by some, vilified and eradicated by others. Debates about their impacts on native fauna, welfare concerns, and human moral obligations are diverse and complex. This research critically investigates the conceptual, spatial, and ethical dimensions of human-feral cat relations through an empirical case study in southern Ontario, Canada. It explores human placement of cats using semi-structured interviews with community members. It examines more-than-human modes of inhabitation by engaging with feral cats’ lifeworlds firsthand through field observations. It also employs a performative approach to consider ways in which both human and feral cat agencies participate in the co-creation of subjectivities in multispecies interactions. Overall, this research emphasizes the importance of attending to non-human difference, subjectivities, and agency in order to challenge the processes through which non-human animals such as feral cats are made killable.
Date: 2015-04
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