Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

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.

Abstract

A growing body of evidence indicates that trap-neuter-return (TNR) is not only effective at reducing community cat numbers, but that such reductions are sustainable over extended periods. Recently, a series of peer-reviewed articles documenting long-term declines in community cat populations associated with TNR have been published. The present study adds to this pool of evidence by updating and reexamining results reported from the campus of the University of Central Florida (UCF) in 2003 by Levy et al. From 1991 to 2019, a total of 204 cats were enrolled in a volunteer-run TNR program on the university grounds; 10 cats (5%) remained on site at the conclusion of the present study. The campus community cat population declined by 85% between 1996, the year an initial census (indicating the presence of 68 cats) was completed, and 2019. In addition, 11 of 16 total colonies were eliminated over a 28-year period. These results occurred despite significant growth in enrollment at UCF over the same time frame, which suggests that with sufficient ongoing management of colony sites, declines in community cat populations associated with TNR are sustainable over long periods and under varying conditions.