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Feral Cat Colony Size

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
I am looking for information with regard to the following:

1. Is there a recommended MAXIMUM number of cats in a colony OR
2. Is there a recommended MAXIMUM number of cats that ONE caretaker (given reasonable resources) could care for?

post #2 of 7
I don't know if there is a set rule. In my experience, the colony should be maintained according to the criteria. How much land are they on? How many caretakers are caring for them?

On the issue of trapping and neutering, sometimes colonies where this is happening, tend to grow larger, because once you start trapping cats, the other cats catch on and refuse to be trapped. This means, that no matter how hard you try, your colony is getting bigger because trap savvy males are mating with the females and you have a proliferation of kittens before you know it.

I looked for cut and dried info on this, but didn't find anything. Perhaps our research Queen, TNR1 can!

Nice to see you again Mark. I never received that FAX from you, but I went ahead with the article anyway and it was accepted. But thanks for the offer to help-
post #3 of 7
Mark...I can certainly ask that question this weekend at the feral cat clinic..but I would really recommend reaching out to Alley Cat Allies. They are right in your backyard (no pun intended) and they truly have the greatest experience with ferals.


I don't think there are any hard and fast rules regarding numbers of ferals because there are so many different variables to caring for a colony...however, if you contact Alley Cat Allies and explain the situation to them...I'm sure they can provide you with feedback.

post #4 of 7
Mark, in the research that we've done for www.StrayPetAdvocacy.org, I honestly don't recall reading information on this particular subject. I do know we had a colony of 28 that were all trapped, and we successfully had no new kittens - there were just two of us caring/maintaining the colony. You may want to PM HouseofCats, she works with AzCats in Arizona. I believe they work with larger colonies quite successfully.

Though I do agree with Katie (TNR1) - the organization with the most experience will be Alley Cat Allies. Perhaps consider contacting them instead of trying to wade through the research on the site.
post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the replies. I've already called ACA (hit them on moving day!) and have information. I know this is not a simple question but am giving it my best effort. Appreciate the help.
post #6 of 7
Hi Mark ~

Thank you for asking the questions and for your realization of the complexity of this issue. To my knowledge, there is not a recommended maximum number of cats for a colony nor for a colony caretaker, except the ultimate goal of zero! This is due to several reasons including that colonies are generally not planned -- cats are returned where found, dependent upon conditions. Trap-Neuter-RETURN (TNR) reduces colony size -- both immediately by removal of kittens and 'tame' cats, and over the long term because of sterilization and monitoring.

The actual range of colony size varies greatly, is determined by multiple factors, and differ if a human caretaker is present or not. For your second question, one would encounter the same challenges and negative results as when attempts are made to limit the number of 'owned' pets.

Are you looking at this question for your work in Virginia, particularly Newport News and Hampton, for NACA -- or both? :-)
post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 
This is specifically for my jurisdiction however, I have been asked by a bunch of people to send them what I find out!
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