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Feral Cat Population Surveys and Management Options for the University of Hawai`i at Mānoa

  • Author(s): Davis, Alisa
  • Lepczyk, Christopher A.
  • et al.
Abstract

The effects of feral cats on Pacific island ecosystems are a well known and long standing pest problem. While control and/or eradication of feral cat populations have been successfully accomplished on several islands, they are typically in locations with little to no human population. The Hawaiian Islands have a human population of just over 1.2 million people, making certain feral cat control methods difficult, if not impossible, to implement. The University of Hawai`i at Mānoa, located in Honolulu, has a large number of feral cats living on it that often cause problems among the numerous stakeholders who use or frequent the campus. One of the primary concerns related to the cats is their feces, which may carry such diseases as toxoplasmosis and may cause illness in the employees that have to clean up after the cats. The university has implemented the use of feeding stations and litter boxes to obtain a population estimate and control the quantity of cat feces on the ground. But these two approaches have not been successful, due to inconsistent participation by the cat colony caretakers. Hence, little information exists about the status of the campus’s feral cat population. In order to begin addressing the campus cat problem, our goal is to develop a survey method for estimating the distribution and size of cat colonies, conduct health assessments, and identify ownership of cats with microchips. We are conducting surveys to estimate the population size, to see if it changes over time, and to determine basic health indices of the cats. Ultimately, we expect to provide information on whether the feral cat population is changing over time and whether or not trap-neuter-release efforts are succeeding and reducing the population relative to removal, and status quo management options.

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