Are you interested in collaborating with Kitizen Science? Wonderful! First, please read this page, as well as the rest of our website, especially the pages on our mission and research questions, how Kitizen Science works and our page on the existing evidence about spay/neuter.
While we want our population monitoring program to be useful to you as an individual group, the knowledge we can build collectively is even more valuable. Whether your spay/neuter efforts are demonstrated to be highly impactful or less impactful than you hoped, understanding the factors behind either scenario will help everyone learn how to do more of what works and less of what doesn't work. There are truly no disappointments here, only learning experiences.
Kitizen Science’s priority is conducting long-term, controlled studies of targeted free-roaming cat spay/neuter programs by using rigorous methods for population monitoring. Each of these components will help us gather and analyze high quality data so we can draw the most accurate conclusions. For now, our focus is on the United States. Our partner organizations need to be able to comply with our research requirements explained below.
You’ll need to agree to work with us for 6 years. Free-roaming cat populations don't change overnight. If we only collect data for a short period and then your organization leaves our partnership or ceases spay/neuter work in your target area, the monitoring data has no research value and we have lost the time, money, and effort we put into collecting and analyzing it. Please carefully consider whether your organization has the budget to maintain your spay/neuter program for a number of years.
We need you to define a target area (like a zip code), where you will be focusing your spay/neuter efforts) and work with us to define a control area (a similar place which you are not targeting). We need to analyze whether the cat population size in your target area is changing due to your efforts, or if it could be attributed to something else impacting your town/region, such as a natural disaster, changes in animal control policies, or an especially harsh winter.
We need your target area to be fairly new territory for focused spay/neuter. We want to follow the progress of a targeted spay/neuter effort over time to see how the free-roaming cat population size changes. If you have already sterilized many of the cats in an area and potentially decreased and stabilized the population, there is less of an effect to detect and it will appear that your efforts aren't working, even if they are.
You need to engage in basic data sharing with Kitizen Science. We don't need your private medical or colony records, but we need you to send us a monthly summary of the cats you sterilize and return to your target area (and any that accidentally came from your control area). We will share our data with you, but our findings can't be publicly shared until the end of the agreed-upon study time period.
You are responsible for recruiting reliable local volunteers for a week-long data collection period each spring/summer that you are working with us. These volunteers will use our app for approximately 2-2.5 hours in the early evening for a week during the longest days of the year to walk an assigned survey route and photograph cats. These volunteers need to own and feel comfortable using a modern smart phone, and they need to be physically capable of walking for 2-2.5 hours without taking a break. Depending on the size of your target and control areas, and how many days each volunteer can commit to volunteering, this could require 20 people, or it could require multiple times that number. For ease of training and organizing volunteers, it would be ideal to engage people who can commit to participating for the entire data collection week. This is a great opportunity for local would-be volunteers who want to help your organization occasionally, but cannot commit to regular shifts.
If you feel like your organization can work with our requirements for collaboration, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.