Objective—To examine demographic differences during a 1-year observational period between urban feeding groups of neutered and unneutered free-roaming cats following a trap-neuter-return procedure.
Animals—Free-roaming adult cats (n = 184) and kittens (76) living in 4 feeding groups in an urban region of Israel.
Procedures—Cats in 2 feeding groups were subjected to a trap-neuter-return (TNR) procedure. Cats in 2 other feeding groups were untreated. Data were collected on a weekly basis before and during feeding time over a 1-year period. Following individual cat identification, presence of adults and kittens was recorded throughout the year. Rates of immigration, emigration, and kitten survival were compared between neutered and unneutered groups.
Results—The number of adult cats in the 2 neutered groups increased significantly during the study period because of higher immigration and lower emigration rates than in the unneutered groups, in which the number decreased. In the neutered groups, annual presence of neutered cats was significantly higher than that of sexually intact cats. Kitten survival in the neutered groups was significantly higher than in the unneutered groups.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Targeting the TNR method mainly at feeding groups in urban residential neighbourhoods may result in increased group size, as a consequence of 2 major changes in group dynamics: sexually intact cats immigrate into the neutered groups more readily and neutered cats reduce their emigration rates, possibly because of a reduction in reproductive and competitive pressures. To maintain a high proportion of neutered cats in such cat groups, persistent TNR campaigns are therefore necessary.
Objective—To examine behavioral differences during a 1-year observational period between urban feeding groups of neutered and sexually intact free-roaming cats following a trap-neuter-return procedure.
Animals—Free-roaming cats (n = 184) living in 4 feeding groups in an urban region of Israel.
Procedures—Trap-neuter-return procedures were applied to 2 cat feeding groups (A and B). Their social and feeding behaviors and frequency of appearance at feeding time were compared with those of 2 unneutered cat groups (C and D). Behavioral data were obtained from weekly observations before and during feeding over a 1-year period.
Results—A lower rate of agonistic interactions was observed in the neutered groups than in the unneutered groups. Sexually intact male cats participated in more agonistic male-male encounters than did neutered male cats. Of 199 such encounters in the feeding groups, only 1 occurred between 2 neutered males. Neutered cats in group A appeared earlier and had higher frequencies of feeding and appearance at the feeding site, compared with unneutered cats.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Less aggression was observed in the neutered groups, specifically, fewer agonistic neutered-neutered male encounters occurred. This reduced agonistic behavior of neutered males resulted in reduced fighting and vocalizations, potentially leading to fewer injuries and reduced transmission of fight-related infectious diseases and reduced noise disturbance from a human perspective. Regarding food delivery, the feeding groups were time-and-place dependent, exhibiting context-related social interactions. When competing for food resources, as neutered cats time their arrival in accordance with food delivery, they thereby gain access to the choicest items.