Cats are particularly interesting in New Zealand as is the case for other countries where mammalian predators are either scarce or wholly absent. Cats represent an introduced species with a marked effect on native wildlife meaning many see them as a pest, however, simultaneously they are the most populous (and likely most loved) of New Zealand's companion animals. This has resulted in cats being treated with ambivalence both socially and legislatively. How the cat population is or should be managed to improve both the cats' welfare and reduce their negative impacts is not an easy one to answer. However a suite of studies in New Zealand and Australia hope to provide some of the answers.
Outside his work with cats Mark is particularly interested in how animal welfare is integrated into people's everyday lives and the decisions they make. He has explored topics as diverse as public perception of the welfare of fish during angling to the management of free-roaming dogs in the Pacific Islands.