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Start Date

2-3-2021 10:20 AM

End Date

2-3-2021 11:25 AM

Abstract

Free-roaming cats have a devastating impact on wildlife populations with stray/feral cats being the most problematic. In some areas, community members provide these cats with food, water, and shelter often in conjunction with a trap, neuter, return (TNR) program. Regardless of TNR, some studies suggest that feeding stray cats allows them to live longer which increases their impact on local wildlife populations. In contrast, we documented that a constantly available food source correlated to a higher density of cats in urban areas with less wildlife value and where they can be integrated into a TNR program. The Hayden Island Cat Project has utilized TNR, cat adoption, and outreach to humanely reduce the free-roaming cat population since 2014. Many residents on the island provide feeding stations for the cats and actively participate in the TNR program. To determine how feeding might affect cat spatial distribution, camera traps were placed at 20 different stations in urban and natural areas on Hayden island. Additional data from the annual road cat count was used to compare cat density relative to feeding stations utilizing ArcGIS. Coordinates of feeding stations based on a resident survey were overlaid onto the cat location coordinates and a clear density correlation appeared. Camera traps reinforced these findings whereby only a single cat was photographed in the natural area. These results demonstrate that feeding free-roaming cats combined with management actions aimed at humanely reducing cat populations, may lessen the impact on wildlife and be ethically acceptable to local residents.

Subjects

Animal ecology, Conservation biology, GIS / modeling

Persistent Identifier

https://archives.pdx.edu/ds/psu/35477

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Mar 2nd, 10:20 AM Mar 2nd, 11:25 AM

Population Density of Free-Roaming Cats in Relation to Feeding Stations on Hayden Island

Free-roaming cats have a devastating impact on wildlife populations with stray/feral cats being the most problematic. In some areas, community members provide these cats with food, water, and shelter often in conjunction with a trap, neuter, return (TNR) program. Regardless of TNR, some studies suggest that feeding stray cats allows them to live longer which increases their impact on local wildlife populations. In contrast, we documented that a constantly available food source correlated to a higher density of cats in urban areas with less wildlife value and where they can be integrated into a TNR program. The Hayden Island Cat Project has utilized TNR, cat adoption, and outreach to humanely reduce the free-roaming cat population since 2014. Many residents on the island provide feeding stations for the cats and actively participate in the TNR program. To determine how feeding might affect cat spatial distribution, camera traps were placed at 20 different stations in urban and natural areas on Hayden island. Additional data from the annual road cat count was used to compare cat density relative to feeding stations utilizing ArcGIS. Coordinates of feeding stations based on a resident survey were overlaid onto the cat location coordinates and a clear density correlation appeared. Camera traps reinforced these findings whereby only a single cat was photographed in the natural area. These results demonstrate that feeding free-roaming cats combined with management actions aimed at humanely reducing cat populations, may lessen the impact on wildlife and be ethically acceptable to local residents.