An increasing number of feral and free-ranging cats roam the United States; the repercussions of which have become apparent to both the scientific community and caretaker community alike. Due to the steadily increasing population of feral and free-ranging cats in the United States and globally, research and caretaker interest about this issue is also increasing. However, the most effective control methods for these non-native predators is debated. Management decisions do not always rely on the best available science, partly because the science is inadequate for many issues related to feral and free-ranging cats. For example, estimates of immigration and emigration rates into and out of feral cat colonies is limited in the scientific literature. In a previous pilot study conducted in 2015, an attempt was made to add important empirical data to this debate through the investigation of immigration and emigration rates into and out of local feral and free-ranging cat colonies. Although the results of this small study were inconclusive, it became clear that these data were important and an expansion of the pilot study was warranted. As a follow-up to the previous study, a larger scale study will be conducted to add the data that is lacking to the discussion. In addition, education of the public is also critical; without it, we cannot create a collaborative environment within which we can identify common solutions and develop best strategies focused on reducing cat overpopulation.
Dr. Gregory Smith
As the population of feral cats increases in the U.S., the repercussions have both become apparent to scientists and caretakers and has sparked an increase in interest about this issue. While debates continue about the most effective control methods for these non-native predators, basic ecological data is lacking; for example, estimates of immigration and emigration rates into and out of feral cat colonies. In a previous pilot study an attempt was made to add this important empirical data to the debate. Although results of the previous study were inconclusive, it became clear that these data were important and further investigation was warranted. Education of the public is also critical; without it, we cannot create a collaborative effort in enforcing these programs and reducing cat overpopulation.