Term of Award

Spring 2018

Degree Name

Master of Science in Biology (M.S.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Biology

Committee Chair

Michelle Cawthorn

Committee Member 1

C. Ray Chandler

Committee Member 2

J. Scott Harrison


Feral cats (Felis catus) are listed as one of the '100 world's worst invasive alien species'. There are as many as 70-100 million feral cats in the United States as well as an estimated 117-157 million domestic indoor and outdoor cats. Management efforts include a nonlethal feeding and sterilization program known as "trap-neuter-release" (TNR) where cats are surgically sterilized and returned to the environment. Population size and structure, immigration rates, spay/neuter rates, and data on spatial use all play a role in whether TNR is a viable management option. This study focuses on population structure and spatial use. To infer the population structure of a population of campus free-roaming cats at the individual level I used pairwise maximum likelihood estimates of relatedness and relationship category (unrelated, half-sib, full-sib, parent-offspring). Home range and movement patterns of domestic free-roaming indoor/outdoor cats were estimated with 100% and 50% adaptive local convex hull and 100% minimum convex polygon for comparison with previous studies. No differences in home range were found between sex, age, and season.

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