The Welfare of Free-roaming Cats and Their Environment (1535)
Public and Corporate Practice |  Animal Welfare
Saturday |  3:00 PM -  3:50 PM
Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center||217A



Jenifer Chatfield DVM, Dipl. ACZM
4J Conservation Center

A board-certified zoo vet, Dr. Chatfield is the Staff Veterinarian at 4J Conservation Center, an instructor for FEMA/Dept. of Homeland Security's agroterrorism courses, National Disaster Medicine System Team Member, and coordinates a county health department's plan for bioterrorism and emerging infectious disease response. She graduated with a DVM from Texas A&M University's College of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Chatfield has pursued emergency medicine and zoo medicine throughout her career. She has owned two emergency clinics and has been the Senior Veterinarian in a zoological park. Additionally, Dr. Chatfield was the veterinarian supervising the biomedical research program at the University of Texas at Brownsville. She has completed fieldwork in Madagascar and South America and has been an Associate Editor for the Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine for the last 10 years. Dr. Chatfield is heavily involved in public health efforts as a Medical Reserve Corps member, Associate Editor of the "One Health Newsletter," and she developed the "Veterinary Support to Zoological Animals in a Disaster" for the National Veterinary Response Team's training curriculum. Dr. Chatfield is the Regional Leader for the National Veterinary Response Team for FEMA Region VII + Florida. She was an original founder of the Pasco Hernando Veterinary Medical Association (PHVMA) and has served as the PHVMA's President since 2008. Recently, Dr. Chatfield was selected as a Future Leader by the AVMA and was the recipient of a Gold Star award from the Florida Veterinary Medical Association.

Presentation Info

CE Credit(s): 1.00
CE Level: 2


Feral, or free-roaming, domestic cats are one of the top threats to biodiversity world-wide. In addition, feral cats present a persistent and nearly ubiquitous public health threat. However, these threats seem to go unrecognized by most people, including some veterinarians. Several management strategies are employed to mitigate the severe impact of feral cats on the environment and on the public health. Most professionals do not consider the welfare issues facing free-roaming cats when implementing management strategies. Any discussion of management strategies and search for better methods of control for these cats typically results in very emotional exchanges. The incredible passion on both sides of these discussions makes arriving at a reasonable solution to mitigate the significant and on-going concerns for the welfare of these cats and their impact on their environment nearly impossible.

Learning Objectives

1. Describe several significant public health/safety threats of feral cats

2. Describe current management strategies for feral cats and their welfare implications