Objective—To evaluate the effect of a long-term trapneuter-return program, with adoption whenever possible,
on the dynamics of a free-roaming cat population.
Design—Observational epidemiologic study.
Animals—155 unowned free-roaming cats.
Procedures—Free-roaming cats residing on a university
campus were trapped, neutered, and returned to
the environment or adopted over an 11-year period.
Results—During the observation period (January
1991 to April 2002), 75% of the cats were feral, and
25% were socialized. Kittens comprised 56% of the
original population. Male cats were slightly more
numerous (55%) than females. At the conclusion of
the observation period, 47% of the cats had been
removed for adoption, 15% remained on site, 15%
had disappeared, 11% were euthanatized, 6% had
died, and 6% had moved to the surrounding wooded
environment. Trapping began in 1991; however, a
complete census of cats was not completed until
1996, at which time 68 cats resided on site. At completion
of the study in 2002, the population had
decreased by 66%, from 68 to 23 cats (of which 22
were feral). No kittens were observed on site after
1995, but additional stray or abandoned cats continued
to become resident. New arrivals were neutered
or adopted before they could reproduce.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—A comprehensive
long-term program of neutering followed by
adoption or return to the resident colony can result in
reduction of free-roaming cat populations in urban
areas. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2003;222:42–46)