Two new studies looking at using vaccines and medication to control reproductive capacity in wild cats

Two separate studies conducted by University of Georgia and Tufts University are seeking to find nonsurgical methods to control reproductive capacity in cats.

An estimated 60 million to 100 million free-roaming, community cats in the United States.

“The importance of finding viable, safe, humane and cost-effective techniques for nonsurgical sterilization in community cats cannot be overstated,” said Kathy Tietje, MBA, PhD, vice president of scientific operations at Morris Animal Foundation, in an organizational release.

“We’re excited about these innovative projects and their impact on population control of this specific group of cats.”

The Morris Animal Foundation, a non-profit based in Colorado that funds science research into animal care, is funding the research. The mandate is to find new strategies that move beyond trap/neuter/release programs.

MAF was first looking for research proposals on this issue back in April 2022.

By finding new ways for cat sterilization, MAF wants to reduce the number of cats entering the shelter system and improve overall feline health outcomes.

According to MAF, an additional benefit would be reducing the environmental impact of free-roaming, community cats through humane population control.

Both projects are slated to begin in 2023 and are expected to last 12-24 months.

The project at the University of Georgia is aimed at developing an oral vaccine to decrease male cat fertility by reducing reproductive hormone levels.

The Tufts University project focuses on decreasing hormone levels in female cats through an injectable medication.

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