Back to School: An Updated Evaluation of the Effectiveness of a Long-Term Trap-Neuter-Return Program on a University’s Free-Roaming Cat Population
Independent Researcher, 4758 Ridge Road, #409, Cleveland, OH 44144, USA
Best Friends Animal Society, 5001 Angel Canyon Road, Kanab, UT 84741, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 25 July 2019 / Revised: 11 September 2019 / Accepted: 4 October 2019 / Published: 8 October 2019
Since the early 1990s, the use of trap-neuter-return (TNR) as a humane alternative to the lethal management of stray and feral cats (also known as community cats) has expanded in the United States. Over this time, numerous studies have pointed to the effectiveness of TNR at reducing community cat numbers, although many of these investigations have covered relatively short time periods (3 years or less). A seminal paper by Levy et al. in 2003, documented a significant decline in community cat numbers on the campus of the University of Central Florida (UCF) over a 11-year period. Since 2017, a series of peer-reviewed articles have described other examples of long-term reductions in community cat numbers associated with TNR. The present study adds to this growing body of evidence by revealing the extent to which the results first reported by Levy et al. have been sustained over a subsequent 17-year period. After a total of 28 years, 10 (5%) of 204 total cats enrolled in the UCF TNR program, remain on campus and the campus community cat population has declined by 85% from the completion of an initial census in 1996 to 2019.