Research| Cats on Campus, Trap-Neuter-Return

Scientific studies have proven that Trap-Neuter-Return works on college campuses and improves cats’ relationship with the campus community.

At Texas A&M University, a 2002 study observed the university experience the benefits of Trap-Neuter-Return in just two years, through a highly successful campus program. During the first year, participants trapped, neutered, vaccinated, and returned 123 cats. The following year, only 33 previously unidentified cats and three kittens were found or trapped on campus and no new litters of kittens were found at all. While the study did not measure the change in the total number of cats on campus over the two-year period, the researchers noted: the decrease in cats needing to be trapped from the previous year; the adoption of 32 campus cats and kittens into homes; and a decrease in the number of calls concerning cats on college property.

A long-term study on the University of Central Florida campus found that TNR keeps cat colonies stable and healthy year after year. The 11-year study observed the number of cats on campus decline by 66%, with no new kittens being born after the first four years of operation. At the end of the study, most of the remaining cats were older: 83% had been part of the program for more than six years, indicating a healthy lifespan for feral cats after TNR.

Beyond neutering feral cats and returning them to their campus home, both of these programs also provided ongoing colony care for the cats, adopted socialized cats into homes, and closely monitored the cats on campus to quickly identify and neuter newcomers. As the studies show, Trap-Neuter-Return helped both universities to create and maintain a humane balance between cats and campus.

Kathy L. Hughes and Margaret R. Slater: Implementation of a Feral Cat Management Program on a University Campus (JAAWS Vol. 5 No. 1, 2002)
Julie K. Levy, David W. Gale, and Leslie A. Gale: Evaluation of the Effect of a Long-Term Trap-Neuter-Return and Adoption Program on a Free-Roaming Cat Population (JAVMA Vol. 222 No.1, 2003)