DC Cat Count

Tuesday, July 17, 2018
A coalition for the betterment of animals and their communities

A coalition for the betterment of animals and their communities

As the issues surrounding policies and management of cats grow, debates often result in confrontation and confusion. Specifically, among two passionate groups of people.

  1. Humane organizations that work hard to help cats in need — whether they are owned, in the shelter or free-roaming in the community
  2. Wildlife advocates concerned about the impact cats have on native species, especially birds

It has been difficult to create a common framework that can bring these two passionate groups of people together.

Until now.

The DC Cat Count is one of the most innovative and important community projects I’ve had the honor to be a part of. As an organization, PetSmart Charities is proud to be a part of a coalition that brings people together for the betterment of animals and communities.


What is the DC Cat Count?

This unique and ambitious project takes place in Washington D.C. Over the next three years, a diverse group of experts with experience in conservation biology, animal welfare, animal control, statistical modeling and behavioral ecology will study the dynamic system around cats, wildlife and the community they live in.

This project will establish a rich, robust and scientifically valid framework that allows for a multi-stakeholder approach to building a better community for cats, wildlife and people — allowing us to start building long-term management plans that are humane, measurable and repeatable.

We chose Washington D.C. as the location for several reasons:

  • We had very strong local partners
  • There are natural geographic boundaries that helped with the design of the study
  • We thought that it was fitting that such a seminal study would be done in our nation’s capital


Who’s Involved?

Humane Rescue Alliance, based in Washington D.C., is the primary operating partner along with PetSmart Charities, The Humane Society of the United States and the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute. Never before has such a diverse set of partners come together to collaborate on a project of this size and importance.

The project will involve the most sophisticated methods for population estimation and includes the most comprehensive wildlife camera survey of cats in the world. So, smile and say “cheese” all you cats in Washington! A statistical modeling technique will give us the most accurate count of cats in an urban setting ever — enabling us to create a holistic approach to managing cats and wildlife issues together.

For more information on this project, please visit


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