From a study published in Biological Conservation by scientists at Nanjing University. The article, titled “Where there are girls, there are cats,” was published in February, then retracted without explanation.
The growing population of outdoor, free-ranging cats poses an increasingly serious threat to biodiversity. In this study, we provide robust estimates of free-ranging cat density at thirty universities in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, China. We found that the population density of free-ranging cats is linearly related to the proportion of female students at a university. An online questionnaire confirmed that human females were more concerned about the living conditions of free-ranging cats than were human males in China. A socialization test on twenty-seven free-ranging cats suggests that cats may react more sociably to human females, an important factor to consider in cat population management.