Evaluation of a Trap-Neuter-Return Management Program for Feral Cat Colonies: Population Dynamics, Home Ranges, and Potentially Zoonotic Diseases.

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dc.contributor.advisor Richard B. Ford, Committee Member en_US
dc.contributor.advisor Roger A. Powell, Committee Member en_US
dc.contributor.advisor Michael K. Stoskopf, Committee Co-Chair en_US
dc.contributor.advisor Jay F. Levine, Committee Co-Chair en_US
dc.contributor.author Nutter, Felicia Beth en_US
dc.date.accessioned 2010-04-02T18:39:41Z
dc.date.available 2010-04-02T18:39:41Z
dc.date.issued 2006-03-01 en_US
dc.identifier.other etd-11302005-195423 en_US
dc.identifier.uri http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/resolver/1840.16/3891
dc.description.abstract Management of feral cats is controversial, and alternatives to lethal control methods are gaining popularity. To evaluate the effectiveness of sterilization programs, nine feral cat colonies were divided into groups of three, managed either by spaying females and castrating males, spaying females and vasectomizing males, or leaving all cats intact. Colonies were followed intensively for four years, and intermittently for three additional years. Most cats were trapped in fewer than ten trap nights each. Breeding females produced a mean of 1.4 litters/year and 3 kittens/litter. Kitten mortality was 75% by 6 months of age. Feral and pet domestic cats had similar baseline health status and prevalences of FIV, FeLV, Cryptosporidium, Giardia, and Toxocara cati, but feral cats had higher prevalences of Bartonalla henselae and Toxoplasma gondii. Castrated male and spayed female cats survived longer than intact male and female cats. Survival times of vasectomized males were equivalent to those of intact males. Control colonies decreased in size and remained stable in composition, while intact colonies increased in size and had high turnover. One neutered colony went extinct and several others had fewer than five cats at the end of the project. Home ranges of both intact and neutered cats were small, usually less than 1 ha. Vasectomized males had larger home ranges than either intact or castrated males, probably because they were searching for intact females. Community-level stakeholder meetings were successful in building consensus among groups, and a basic decision tree for feral cat management was developed. Computer simulation modeling using VORTEX software suggested that harvesting breeding colonies every one or two years at 50% to 100% can keep colonies small, but will not lead to long-term reductions in cat numbers. Models of neutered colonies suggested that 75% to 80% sterilization is necessary to cause population decrease and eventual extinction. The mean estimated time to extinction of 12.8 years fits well with ongoing observations of steady decline in sterilized colonies. en_US
dc.rights I hereby certify that, if appropriate, I have obtained and attached hereto a written permission statement from the owner(s) of each third party copyrighted matter to be included in my thesis, dissertation, or project report, allowing distribution as specified below. I certify that the version I submitted is the same as that approved by my advisory committee. I hereby grant to NC State University or its agents the non-exclusive license to archive and make accessible, under the conditions specified below, my thesis, dissertation, or project report in whole or in part in all forms of media, now or hereafter known. I retain all other ownership rights to the copyright of the thesis, dissertation or project report. I also retain the right to use in future works (such as articles or books) all or part of this thesis, dissertation, or project report. en_US
dc.subject home range en_US
dc.subject Bartonella henselae en_US
dc.subject VORTEX model en_US
dc.subject surgical sterilization en_US
dc.subject live trapping en_US
dc.subject vasectomy en_US
dc.subject feral cat en_US
dc.subject management en_US
dc.subject litter size en_US
dc.subject Cryptosporidium en_US
dc.subject survival en_US
dc.subject Toxocara cati en_US
dc.subject Giardia en_US
dc.subject stakeholder meeting en_US
dc.subject Toxoplasma gondii en_US
dc.title Evaluation of a Trap-Neuter-Return Management Program for Feral Cat Colonies: Population Dynamics, Home Ranges, and Potentially Zoonotic Diseases. en_US
dc.degree.name PhD en_US
dc.degree.level dissertation en_US
dc.degree.discipline Comparative Biomedical Sciences en_US

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