A Smartphone App for Gathering Community Science Data on Free-roaming Domestic Cats
Dr. Jason Luscier
Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences
office: (315) 445-5487
To view and download data, visit research.lemoyne.edu/CatTrackerData.
The International Union for the Conservation of Nature has labeled the domestic cat the “world’s worst invasive species.” Most animal shelters are at (or above) capacity for domestic cats. Consequently, many domestic cats have become feral (i.e., wild-like and capable of living without human intervention). Those feral cats and people’s free-roaming pet cats are at risk of serious disease and even early death. Also, high populations of free-roaming cats in cities have been reported to negatively affect populations of native wildlife (e.g., birds, small mammals, amphibians, reptiles, etc.). Many cities have implemented Trap-Neuter-Release (TNR) programs in the hopes of reducing cat populations over time. It is imperative that we gain a better understanding of the dynamics of free-roaming cat populations in order to develop adequate future management plans, to better understand effects on native wildlife, and to help alleviate human health concerns. One of the most effective ways to gather data regarding cat distributions over expansive geographic areas such as the city of Syracuse is to rely on community science (a.k.a., citizen science). As a means for gathering community science data, I have developed a smartphone app where volunteers can submit sightings of free-roaming cats anywhere around the world. The smartphone app is called CatTracker and it is free (download from your App Store). Sightings reported through CatTracker will help us to better understand free-roaming cat population sizes and distributions throughout cities and to understand just how effective management programs (like TNR) are.
Download CatTracker for Apple IOS here: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/cat-tracker-2/id1572340472
Download for Android here: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=co.apphammer.cattracker2