Use of matrix population models to estimate the efficacy of euthanasia versus trap-neuter-return for management of free-roaming
SummaryAll scenarios of a model of free-roaming cat populations showed exponential growth. Reduction by euthanasia was more effective than TNR.
Mark C. Andersen PhD, Brent J. Martin DVM DACLAM, Gary W. Roemer PhD
J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2004 225:1871-1876
Use of matrix population models to estimate the efficacy of euthanasia versus trap-neuter-return for management of free-roaming cats
Objective - To evaluate the efficacy of trap-neuter-return and trap-euthanise 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 ≥ 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. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2004;225:1871-1876)