Outdoor Cats: A special issue of the journal Society & Animals


Black Cat Walking Along the Road. Photo courtesy of David Bartus. 2018

PAN Works is delighted to announce Outdoor Cats, a special issue of the journal Society & Animals.

PAN Works reshaped the debate over cats, conservation and biodiversity in 2019 with the publication of “A Moral Panic Over Cats.” That article challenged the rigour and reasoning of claims that cats are a zombie apocalypse for biodiversity and public health. “Moral Panic” quickly became one of the top five articles in the history of the flagship conservation journal Conservation Biology.

This special issue on outdoor cats continues this research with diverse perspectives exploring the contexts and nuances of how cats interact with people, wildlife and nature.

A moral panic over cats has gripped portions of the conservation community, with claims that outdoor house cats (felis catus) are wrecking havoc on biodiversity and public health akin to a zombie apocalypse. This is a mistake, a result of poor scientific reasoning and selective attention to data, or worse, pure demagoguery. The situation is more nuanced. Outdoor cats can cause significant harm to wildlife in specific ecological contexts, even when there is no evidence they do so across the board. And like all mammals, cats can be vectors of disease, even when they pose no threat to public health overall. Careful attention to the complex questions of ethics, science, and politics is required to understand how people, outdoor cats, and nature interact, and how we ought to thrive together. This special issue brings together a diverse set of articles from different points of view to address these issues.

— from “Outdoor Cats: An Introduction”

Outdoor Cats was edited by William S. Lynn, Francisco J. Santiago-Ávila and Kristin L. Stewart. All are fellows of PAN Works, an ethics think tank dedicated to the wellbeing of animals. A special note of appreciation to all our authors (see below) and the editors at Society & Animals (Aubrey Milatz, Julie Urbanik, Robert van Gameren, and Ken Shapiro).

We cannot kill our way back to biodiversity, and Outdoor Cats is a timely alternative to the yellow journalism and prejudiced research that fans moral panic. You can download the introduction for free, and access the entire special issue here.

Outdoor Cats

A special issue of Society & Animals (2022, 30:7)

Outdoor Cats: An Introduction 693–702

William S. Lynn, Francisco J. Santiago-Ávila and Kristin L. Stewart

Estimates of Domestic Cats in Urban Areas Using Interdisciplinary Science: The Washington D.C. Cat Count 703–720

D.T. Tyler Flockhart1, Lauren Lipsey, Daniel J. Herrera, Justin Belsley, Samuel T. Decker, Sophie M. Moore, Erin Robinson, R. Julia Kilgour, Ashley Gramza, William McShea, Michael V. Cove, Roger Haston, Margaret R. Slater, Danielle Jo Bays, and John D. Boone

Confluence and Implications of Cats, Coyotes, and Other Mesopredators at a Feral Cat Feeding Station 721–741

Numi C. Mitchell, Michael W. Strohbach, Mariel N. Sorlien and Scott N. Marshall

Managing Our Relationship with Free-Roaming Cats in Zoopoland 742–760

Joan E. Schaffner

Applying One Health to Free-Roaming Cats 761–780

Joann M. Lindenmayer, Danielle Jo Bays and Julia Pesek

Consider the (Feral) Cat: Ferality, Biopower, and the Ethics of Predation 781–797

Nicholas Holm

Outdoor Cats: Science, Ethics, and Politics 798–815

William S. Lynn and Francisco J. Santiago-Ávila




People•Animals•Nature (PAN) is a publication of PAN Works, an ethics think tank dedicated to the wellbeing of animals. https://panworks.io