Population estimates and behavioral analyses of managed cat (Felis Catus) colonies located in Miami-Dade County, Florida, parks

Document Type



Master of Science (MS)


Environmental Studies

First Advisor's Name

Alice L. Clarke

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Philip K. Stoddard

Third Advisor's Name

Joel T. Heinen

Date of Defense



The purpose of my study was to collect data on managed cat (Felis catus) colonies located in two Miami-Dade County, Florida, parks, in order to test the following assertions put forward by proponents of the colonies: 1) Managed cat colonies will decline in size over time and 2) The territorial behavior of cats living in established cat colonies will prevent additional cats from joining. I collected observational and photographic capture-recapture data in order to track colony population dynamics. Behavioral data were also collected in order to understand the role that cat behavior plays in influencing colony population dynamics. My results do not support the assertion that colonies will decline over time. Instead, my findings demonstrate that the establishment of colonies on public lands encourages dumping of cats and creates an attractive nuisance. Furthermore, my behavioral analysis suggests that territorial behavior does not play a role in excluding new cats.




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