Andersen, M.C., B.J. Martin, and G.W. Roemer (2004). Use of matrix population models to estimate the efficacy of euthanasia versus trap-neuter-return for management of free-roaming cats. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 225(12): 1871-1876. ISSN: 0003-1488.
Abstract: OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the efficacy of trap-neuter-return and trap-euthanatize 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 > or = 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.
Descriptors: castration, cats, euthanasia, animal population control methods, population dynamics, program evaluation, prospective studies, survival analysis.