International Cat Care sits on the council of stakeholders for the Alliance for Contraception in Cats and Dogs, who have just published a new study revealing how to humanely and effectively manage free-roaming cat populations.
The study showed that over a 10-year period, free-roaming cat populations managed by a high-intensity trap-neuter-return (TNR) program experienced 31 times fewer preventable cat deaths than when no action at all was taken.
Using sophisticated modeling software to simulate the impacts and associated costs of seven different management strategies on reducing cat populations, the study’s key findings include:
- TNR can be effective for reducing preventable deaths
When performed effectively, TNR can reduce preventable deaths drastically while also reducing population size.
- Intensity matters
The ability of TNR to reduce preventable deaths and population size largely disappears when implemented at lower levels (sterilizing 25% of cats every six months, as compared to 75%).
- Kitten mortality deserves more attention
Kitten deaths comprise a large majority of preventable deaths under all management scenarios, including removal where trapped cats are euthanized.
- Reducing abandonment is important
More than with any other option, TNR outcomes (especially population size reduction) can be improved by efforts to reduce abandonment and adopt out friendly cats.
- Comparing approaches
Culling (waiting until populations reach a certain level before removing and euthanizing cats) is likely to be ineffective for population management regardless of intensity, while the effectiveness of regular removal (a certain percentage of cats removed every six months) varies with intensity.
For a summary of the research and its findings please click here.