Neutering project curbed feral cat population

Aug 22, 2014
Neutering project curbed feral cat population
Rates of impoundment, euthanasia dropped dramatically in targeted area, study says.

(HealthDay)—An intensive effort to sterilize feral cats reduced the number of felines taken to an animal shelter in Florida and euthanized, a new study reveals.

"We investigated whether we ever could neuter enough cats to slow their intake into animal control," Dr. Julie Levy, a professor of shelter medicine at the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine, said in a university news release.

"Neutering a few cats here and there wasn't making a big impact," she explained, "so we wanted to pick a focused area and throw all our resources into it."

The program was conducted in an area of Alachua County with a large population of feral cats. The researchers trapped and sterilized more than 2,300 feral cats, or about 54 percent of the estimated population of in the targeted area. After neutering, the cats were returned to their original location or adopted.

The number of cats taken to the local animal shelter fell 70 percent after the neutering program—from 13 to 4 cats per 1,000 residents. Euthanasia of cats decreased 95 percent—from 8 to less than 1 per 1,000 residents, the researchers said.

In the rest of the county, the number of cats brought into shelters fell 13 percent (from 16 to 14 per 1,000 residents) and the number of cats euthanized declined 30 percent (from 10 to 7 per 1,000 residents), according to the study recently published in the Veterinary Journal.

"The figures were incredible as were the adoptions," Levy said. "Adoption wasn't part of the original plan, but it happened organically as residents offered to take in kittens and the friendlier adults."

This type of targeted sterilization could save the lives of some of the millions of and other animals euthanized each year in shelters across the United States, according to the researchers.

Explore further: Study shows impact of feral cats on lizards in Greek Islands

More information: The American Veterinary Medical Association has more about spaying and neutering.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

ISFM takes a stand on welfare of unowned cats

Sep 06, 2013

Long-term confinement is not a humane option for the control of feral and stray or abandoned cat populations, according to new guidelines issued by the International Society of Feline Medicine (ISFM) in its Journal of Fe ...

Fur flies as US gets to grips with feral cats

Apr 14, 2014

It's Friday night in Eckington, a quiet residential corner of Washington, and the back alley is crawling with feral cats—rich pickings for seasoned cat-trapper Marty King.

Cats found to eat more in the winter

May 28, 2014

Cats eat more during the winter and owners should give their pet more food during this time, University of Liverpool research has found.

Recommended for you

Dogs hear our words and how we say them

19 hours ago

When people hear another person talking to them, they respond not only to what is being said—those consonants and vowels strung together into words and sentences—but also to other features of that speech—the ...

Amazonian shrimps: An underwater world still unknown

20 hours ago

A study reveals how little we know about the Amazonian diversity. Aiming to resolve a scientific debate about the validity of two species of freshwater shrimp described in the first half of the last century, ...

Factors that drive sexual traits

21 hours ago

Many male animals have multiple displays and behaviours to attract females; and often the larger or greater the better.

User comments : 5

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Tangent2
2.3 / 5 (3) Aug 22, 2014
This type of targeted sterilization could save the lives of some of the millions of cats and other animals euthanized each year in shelters across the United States, according to the researchers.


What would be an even better answer, rather than killing off the animals, would be to simply release them again. Since they are neutered, there shouldn't be a problem about population control of the released animals and if they are worried about the animals chances of survival, show me an animal on this planet that has a guaranteed chance of survival. Animals have been surviving for millions of years without human intervention, and probably do so better than with human intervention since it is survival of the fittest.
supamark23
4.2 / 5 (5) Aug 22, 2014
This type of targeted sterilization could save the lives of some of the millions of cats and other animals euthanized each year in shelters across the United States, according to the researchers.


What would be an even better answer, rather than killing off the animals, would be to simply release them again.


"After neutering, the cats were returned to their original location or adopted."

They did, stated right there in the article.
Waaalt
5 / 5 (2) Aug 22, 2014
What would be an even better answer, rather than killing off the animals, would be to simply release them again. Since they are neutered, there shouldn't be a problem about population control of the released animals.


Well, a small but significant percentage would breed again. The reproductive system is the most resilient one in most animals.

This article also doesn't touch on the ecology angle. On the one hand, feral cats are fantastic and maybe even essential for the health of most cities because they help keep the rodents in check. Beyond that though, there are some issues.

Some places, particularly Australia, are having issues with cats succeeding just about everywhere at the expense of other species. Also, people who are more focused on birds see cats as predators of small birds and competition for the same food sources as the raptor etc population.
Shootist
2 / 5 (4) Aug 22, 2014
Don't take the trouble to neuter them, euthanize and use use as shark food. Better yet, just use them for shark food.
Tangent2
1 / 5 (1) Aug 25, 2014
"After neutering, the cats were returned to their original location or adopted."

They did, stated right there in the article.


You missed my point. I am saying that if they were to simply neuter the animals that are already in the shelters and then release them rather than euthanize them that would be a better solution. Killing an animal because you don't know what else to do with it (who says you should do anything with it in the first place?!) is just ridiculous.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.