Among wild, lost or abandoned cats, the number of feral cats in urban areas in the UK is estimated to be 247,429, according to a study published in Scientific Reports. Highly populated areas are those with more cats without a master. University of Bristol Veterinary School researchers Jenny MacDonald and Elizabeth Skillings analyzed data from 3,101 surveys of residents in five towns and metropolitan cities in England: Beeston, Bradford, Bulwell, Dunstable, Houghton Regis and Everton, including 2016 and 2018.
The authors analyzed the results of 877 evaluation reports and 601 evaluations. The two factors that predict the increasing presence of feral cats are poverty and population density. The results indicate that in the UK there are 9.3 non-owner cats per square kilometer in the UK, but the number ranges from 1.9 to 57 cats per square kilometer depending on the location.
The authors suggest that in densely populated areas, there are more cats and the reason may be that there are more cats owned as pets that can produce occasional litter, be abandoned or move away from the home. According to the authors, non-owned cats can breed in densely populated areas also thanks to a greater presence of food waste.
The authors caution that their study is based on data estimates and that many factors can influence populations in each region, but suggest that the model provides an overview of densities of feral cats in the UK and can help guide interventions to manage these populations.
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