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U of G researchers create new tool to manage cat population in cities

A cat in the outdoorsA new tool created by U of G researchers could improve the way urban cat populations are understood and managed.  

There are about 100 million owned cats and an estimated 10 million to 120 million free-roaming and feral cats in North America. 

The dynamic population model, created by Prof. Jason Coe at the University of Guelph’s Ontario Veterinary College and Tyler Flockhart, who worked on the study with Coe as a post-doctoral researcher and is now a professor at the University of Maryland’s Center for Environmental Science, uses accumulated data from several sources to predict overall cat numbers in a community.

Published in the journal PLOS One, the new model considers owned, unowned or stray cats and cats in the shelter system simultaneously, as well as the way cats move among these categories through human interventions. 

The main concerns the population model addresses are cat welfare and the management of outdoor and stray cats. These cats face numerous challenges, including disease susceptibility, food insecurity, lack of adequate shelter and vulnerability to predators. They also affect the natural environment by threatening birds and other wildlife and by spreading disease. 

Read the entire article about Coe and Flockhart’s research on the University of Guelph website.