Every spay/neuter project is a potential experiment

Kitizen Science wants to build a better evidence base about how sterilization programs affect free-roaming cat populations in the United States with the goal of learning the most effective ways of reducing cat overpopulation using cat-friendly methods. As a citizen science program, we are pioneering a scalable population monitoring solution: the world's first smartphone app for collecting data for photographic mark-recapture population studies!

Traditional research spends a large amount of money collecting data to publish articles in scientific journals that are read only by academics — an opaque process followed by inaccessible results. In contrast, Kitizen Science was created to conduct applied research on a smaller budget, transparently, to help solve real world problems.

By pairing established wildlife population research techniques with volunteer-driven data collection and processing, we are focusing on answering these important questions: Are sterilization programs effective at reducing free-roaming cat populations? How do levels of sterilization coverage vary in their impact on free-roaming cat populations? How long after implementing a sterilization program can we expect to see a decrease in cat numbers? How do the answers to these questions change in different contexts? Read more about our research questions.

There is broad public support for using spay/neuter instead of culling to manage free-roaming cats, and there is peer-reviewed research demonstrating that these efforts can correlate with decreases in shelter intake, lower shelter euthanasia of cats, and reduced cat nuisance complaint calls. However, there is little evidence as to whether spay/neuter programs control or reduce the actual number of cats on the landscape, so there is a need for better tools for monitoring cat populations directly. Learn about why our work is needed and the current research into spay/neuter and TNR. See our publications page to see the validation research we have been putting into developing our research methods.

Volunteer during our second year of data collection in Chicago from June 13-30, 2022.

Kitizen Science does not operate spay/neuter clinics. We partner with those who do in order to document their work and conduct impact assessments. Our community of volunteers is be both local and global thanks to the internet, so you can participate whether or not you live near a study site. See more about how our program works.