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, 225 (12), 1871-6

Use of Matrix Population Models to Estimate the Efficacy of Euthanasia Versus Trap-Neuter-Return for Management of Free-Roaming Cats

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Use of Matrix Population Models to Estimate the Efficacy of Euthanasia Versus Trap-Neuter-Return for Management of Free-Roaming Cats

Mark C Andersen et al. J Am Vet Med Assoc.

Abstract

Objective: To evaluate the efficacy of trap-neuter-return and trap-euthanatize management strategies for controlling urban free-roaming cat populations by use of matrix population models.

Design: Prospective study.

Sample population: Estimates of free-roaming cat populations in urban environments.

Procedure: Data from the literature describing the biology of free-roaming cat populations in urban environments were gathered. A matrix population model was developed with a range of high and low survival and fecundity values and all combinations of those values. The response of population growth rate to a range of management actions was assessed with an elasticity analysis.

Results: All possible combinations of survival and fecundity values of free-roaming cats led to predictions of rapid, exponential population growth. The model predicted effective cat population control by use of annual euthanasia of > or = 50% of the population or by annual neutering of > 75% of the fertile population. Elasticity analyses revealed that the modeled population was most susceptible to control through euthanasia.

Conclusions and clinical relevance: Free-roaming cat populations have a high intrinsic growth rate, and euthanasia is estimated to be more effective at reducing cat populations than trap-neuter-return programs.

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