The Humane Rescue Alliance, the Humane Society, PetSmart Charities, and the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute are teaming up to carryout a project that may prove to be as difficult as herding cats.
The DC Cat Count is an attempt to count every cat in Washington, D.C., including feral and shelter cats as well as indoor and outdoor pet cats. The effort is expected to take three years to complete at a cost of $1.5 million. Using a network of cameras, infrared sensors, and citizen science reporting via a smartphone app, the joint effort is being undertaken to better understand the dynamics of the cat ecosystem and the interactions among the various type of cats in the area.
“The biggest concern is that we don’t know how many cats or what percentage of the population we’re helping, or what the true need is out there. And our goal is to help them all, even if they are owned.”
— Lauren Lipsey, Vice President, Community Programs, The Humane Rescue Alliance
The data collected from the DC Cat Count will be used by the participating organizations to develop better models of urban cat ecosystems which will, in turn, be used to develop better policies to promote the health and wellbeing of cat populations in the future.