We are in the middle of a study looking at the impact of TNR in areas of high stray-cat intake. Our goal is to measure the change in free-roaming cat populations after intensive trapping. The work is really pretty nifty – we have teamed up with some folks at the Lincoln Park Zoo who regularly count wildlife to help us count the cats.
The cats have been counted in both our experimental sites and our control sites using two methods: visual counting while walking particular transects, and motion-activated cameras. The cameras have captured some great shots of cats in NYC –
and some that are not cats at all…
A wide array of cats were found during the visual cat counts. What was most interesting (and potentially important for your trapping work), however, is that the population of cats caught by the motion-activated camera was different than the population counted when the counters walked and counted the cats they saw. The cats observed through human eyes, as opposed to cameras, were at least minimally tolerant of human interaction if not fairly social, and are potentially significantly behaviorally different than the population counted through the motion-triggered cameras. These cats likely behave differently in regards to potential to trap, potential to be rehomed and more.
This cat was observed through visual count:
We also found that there were some distinct patterns of activity for the cats captured through the motion-triggered cameras – some cats are likely most active soon after midnight, others late morning, and many other cats were active around 5pm. If trapping occurs only at one or two times during a day or night, it is likely you could miss many cats!
We will continue to count the cats and publish the data around our findings – and we will continue to share our findings with you. For now, remember –
- The cats you see may be just a subset of the total free-roaming cats.
- If you are trapping at only 1 time of day, you may be missing a significant number of cats.