California Department of Fish and Wildlife

Feral Cat Colonies

Neutering Feral Cats as an Alternative to Eradication Programs - K. I. Zaunbrecher and R. E. Smith. 1993. J. Amer. Vet. Med. Assoc., 203(3):449-452.
An evaluation after 36 months of a capturing/neutering program at a federal disease research facility/hospital. [See J. Amer. Vet. Med. Assoc., 203(9):1256-1257, for reader's comments and author's responses acknowledging wildlife impacts and addressing other concerns.]

Should Feral Cats be Euthanized? - R. Donald/Shelter Sense, HSUS
An assessment critical of "TTVAR," or managed "cat colony," claims.

The Rights (and Wrongs) of Cats - G. Slack, Calif. Academy of Sciences.
Concern that "feral cat colonies" in the San Francisco Bay area threaten local biodiversity at Golden Gate Park and East Bay Regional Parks.

The Cat Rescue Movement vs. Wildlife Defenders - P. Roberto/Calif. Coastal Conservancy.
"Feral cat colonies have become established in parks and other wildlife habitat areas with the help of advocates dedicated to saving them from "death row". But to wildlife defenders these cats are unnatural predators, destroying vast numbers of birds and other small creatures."

Policy Letter Preventing Feral Cat and Dog Populations on Navy Property – Department of the Navy, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations. (dated 1 January 2002).
Policy requires implementation of pet management measures to preclude establishment of feral cat and dog populations and terminates existing Trap/Neuter/Release programs on Navy installations by 1 January 2003.

Population Estimates and Behavioral Analyses of Managed Cat (Felis catus) Colonies Located in Miami-Dade County, Florida, Parks. A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of
Master of Science in Environmental Studies by Daniel Castillo, Florida International University, 2001. (Web version)

A Management Program and Study of the Population Characteristics and Dynamics of Feral Cats on the Texas A&M University Campus: Year 1 Project Summary (August 1998 to 1999)

Natural Areas Coalition of South Florida
"The establishment of feral/stray managed cat colonies, in county parks, is causing big problems for south Florida's migratory and resident songbirds, reptiles, and small mammals."

Feral Cat Colonies and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, by Ellen Paul, Executive Director, The Ornithological Council. Published in The Animal Policy Report, A Newsletter on Animal and Environmental Issues, Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine Center for Animals and Public Policy, Volume 14, Number 3, September 2000. 


Q. What's wrong with this statement about domestic cats?

"In seven years, one female cat and her offspring can produce 420,000 cats."

A. That result is not biologically possible.  This is only a mathematical exercise. Cats certainly have a well-deserved reputation for multiplying rapidly when their health, safety, and forage conditions are good, but nowhere can cat populations grow to the magnitude and at the rate this statement portrays. This theoretical population growth rate would be possible only if there were no limits to population growth. This is termed the "biotic potential" of a population.  What keeps this potential from being realized - in everything from bacteria to whales - are the many factors that cause mortality and restrict breeding, such as disease, starvation, predation, and behavioral and physical abnormalities. These create an "environmental resistance" to uncontrolled population growth.

Find out more about biotic potential and environmental resistance.  On-line sources of information on Population Biology, Population Growth, and Animal Population Dynamics include Oregon State University (Population Dynamics), College of St. Benedict/St. John's University, Ecology: Population Biology, and The Geometry Center, University of Minnesota (Modeling Population Growth).



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