After three years of research and development, the DC Cat Count has released its Cat Counting Toolkit, a guide for sheltering organizations, municipalities, conservation groups and beyond to estimate cat populations and design adaptive population management programs that focus on evaluating real impact in their communities.
With the Humane Rescue Alliance, PetSmart Charities, the ASPCA, the Humane Society of the United States and the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, the DC Cat Count has created a comprehensive Cat Counting Toolkit that includes scientifically-valid protocols, tools and training materials for quantifying cat populations. These tools are designed for organizations of any experience level and can be applied in projects of any scope – from counting cats in a single colony to a city-wide cat census.
The Cat Counting Toolkit builds upon the DC Cat Count’s research quantifying outdoor, owned and shelter cat populations in Washington, D.C. By placing more than 1,500 cameras, walking hundreds of miles of city streets, surveying thousands of D.C. residents and collecting 14,500 animal shelter records, the DC Cat Count has tested and refined a suite of cat-specific analytical tools that are ready to be applied in communities across the country.
“Groundbreaking research quantifying cat populations in Washington, D.C., generated the most intensive urban cat dataset ever, produced cat-specific analytical tools and drove advances in urban ecology and animal welfare. The results will benefit the study of all animals who live in cities and improve cat research in other communities exponentially,” said Lisa LaFontaine, President and CEO of the Humane Rescue Alliance. “By providing organizations with the tools they need to count cats, we can help them realize the potential of data to maximize their lifesaving results, increase their efficiency, measure their progress and understand the cat populations they seek to manage.”
With a better understanding of how many cats there are and how they interact with humans and wildlife, cat policy discussions will be better informed, and the effectiveness of management efforts can be legitimately assessed and improved.
The DC Cat Count is a unique and unprecedented collaboration of animal welfare organizations and wildlife scientists that is actively pursuing a more productive approach to the cat – wildlife debate. The project presents a model for the collaborative and constructive pursuit of shared objectives regarding the study and management of cat populations. The project’s success is rooted in the diverse group of partners, including national animal welfare organizations, conservation biologists and independent researchers, whose complementary expertise forged new opportunities to explore interactions between animals, people and community.
Access the Cat Counting Toolkit and learn more about the DC Cat Count’s research at hub.dccatcount.org.