The District of Columbia will count all the felines living in the city for three years to implement efficient policies to help control them.
There are two types of people: those who consider cats to have the beauty of a sacred creature and a higher intelligence than the rest of the animal world; and those who have never had one, cat lovers would say.
But this discussion became serious in Washington because of the number of stray and wild cats wandering around. The increase in these has a group of citizens complaining that they eat birds and can carry diseases dangerous to humans.
A group of scientists and several animal organizations decided to invest a million and a half dollars to count all the cats before making any decision.
Within three years, the D.C. project Cat Count intends to carry out their cat census. Domestic cats included.
To accomplish the task, 60 infrared cameras will be spread around the city, the number of cats in the shelters will be analyzed and door-to-door surveys will be conducted by two people who will work full-time on this. They will also count the cats they see circulating in certain areas and then check that they match the information collected by the other routes. At Christmas, an app will be launched where citizens can upload photos of their felines or those they see in the streets.
Currently, the District of Columbia takes care of feral cats through a practice of trapping, neutering and releasing.
It doesn’t hurt, Mr. Mittens!
This program began in 2008 and has since neutralized 16,000 cats through the Human Rescue Alliance, one of the census takers. Some scientists argue that this formula may not be the cheapest or most efficient for feline control. The Humane Society of the USA, PetSmart Charities and the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute are the other organizers who are looking to discover how to better manage the lives of feral cats in the US capital and help shelters better manage their resources.
This unprecedented initiative is intended to serve as a model for other cities suffering from the same problem. In the United States, there are 86 million domestic cats - one for each household and a half - and between 30 and 40 million strays, according to Humane Society figures. With this count we will know more exactly how many cats are talking about in Washington and what their real needs are.
The results of the cat census should be released in June 2021. According to D.C. Cat Count scientists have already developed tools to better control the management of feral cats. Now all we have to do is wait and see how many there are!