Les hommes ont oublié cette vérité. Mais tu ne dois pas l'oublier, dit le renard. Tu deviens responsable pour toujours de ce que tu as apprivoisé.
Le Petit Prince, chap. 21

Friday, 4 January 2013

Urban stray cats' spatial behaviour

Steen-Ash, S. 2004. Intraspecific spatial dynamics of urban stray cats. In: Shaw et al.,(eds) Proceedings 4th International Urban Wildlife Symposium: 222-227

Supporters of the TTVAR (trap-test-vaccinate-alter-release) approach for the control of stray cat populations assume that a group of cats sharing a common food source will defend their space and resources from immigrating individuals. Previous studies have indicated that group- living domestic cats exhibit a high degree of home range overlap, associate frequently and amicably with group members, and defend their resources against immigrating individuals. This study was designed to examine the spatial relationships among cats managed with the TTVAR method on the Texas A&M University campus. Specific objectives of this study include quantifying individual home ranges and examining the spatial overlap and degree of association between individuals.
Nineteen cats from 6 sites were fitted with radiocollars in September and October 1998, and 11 cats from 5 sites were fitted with radiocollars in January and February 1999. Males ranged an average area of 15.2 ha. The mean female home range size was 12.8 ha. No significant difference was found in home range size between males and females (P< 0.3244, Mann-Whitney U). In all 6 sites, cats exhibited a high degree of home range overlap; however, only 15 individuals were found to associate with other cats. The majority of associating pairs of individuals were found together infrequently. The findings of this study suggest that most cats living on the Texas A&M University campus do not exhibit the same spatial dynamics as expected from colonies of individuals sharing a common food source. Behaviors common to cats living in cohesive groups were observed in this population of cats only occasionally. Consequently, the assumption of resource defense by individuals sharing a common feeding area may not fully apply for this population of stray cats.

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