MT. RAINIER, Md., April 9, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A study published recently in the journal Wildlife Research is drawing attention because of its unexpected results: killing feral cats in order to decrease their numbers can actually have the opposite effect of attracting more cats to the area.
Wildlife biologist Billie Lazenby and her colleagues in Tasmania studied small mammal numbers in areas where feral cats were culled and compared them to areas where the cats were left alone. Lazenby found that while culling did reduce the number of cats in the short-term, the studied populations actually grew beyond their original size over the next year. "We recorded a 75 to 211 per cent increase in the minimum number of feral cats known to be alive in the culled areas," Lazenby told ABC Science.
This finding comes as no surprise to Alley Cat Rescue (ACR) and tracks with what they have argued for years: killing feral cats is not only inhumane, but an ineffective way of reducing their numbers. Outdated lethal control policies, often known as catch-and-kill, merely create a vacuum effect that draws new animals into a vacated area.
ACR promotes the use of Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) as the only humane and effective way of managing feral cat populations. This non-lethal process involves trapping feral cats, spaying or neutering them, administering vaccines, and then releasing the cats back to their outdoor homes. TNR immediately reduces populations by diverting sociable cats to adoption programs, while sterilization halts the breeding cycle and leads to further long-term reductions. Sterilization has the added effect of reducing behaviors found "annoying" by humans, such as fighting, roaming and spraying, and the provision of vaccines aids in forming a barrier between humans and wildlife diseases.
Alley Cat Rescue
Alley Cat Rescue is an international nonprofit organization dedicated to the welfare of stray and feral cats. ACR follows a no-kill policy that strongly advocates TNR programs for feral cats and operates a low-cost spay/neuter clinic and an adoption program. ACR has been awarded the Independent Charities of Americas "Best in America" Seal of Approval, and their newsletter has won several awards from the Cat Writers' Association.
For more information, please visit www.SaveACat.org.
SOURCE Alley Cat Rescue