Feral cats as teaching tools?

Aug. 9, 2010 at 6:40 PM
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PROVO, Utah, Aug. 9 (UPI) -- A professor at Utah's Brigham Young University says he wants to use the area's feral cat population to teach students how to catch, tag and track wildlife.

Their lack of bonding with humans has made the undomesticated animals like mini-bobcats, unfit for adoption and perfect as a teaching tool for Tom Miller, associate professor of wildlife management, The Salt Lake Tribune reported Monday.

"I think it would be great for students to deal with an animal that doesn't want to deal with them," Miller said.

Miller would like to capture and track about 100 cats a semester studying the fur of the animals to learn from chemicals in the fur what they're eating.

Salt Lake City officials have asked BYU to spay and neuter the feral cats, giving the school's veterinary students a chance to practice their skills, the Tribune said.

Before he can implement his plan Miller has to gain approval from BYU's Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee which reviews all animal research to ensure the animals will be treated humanely.

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