Week 5: Cat Calculator
Hey all, and welcome back to my blog.
The project has accelerated since last Wednesday, and I’m very excited to share my progress with you.
I talked with the same representative from Brooklyn Bridge Animal Welfare Coalition (BBAWC) that I did in February. In the interview, I asked her a few miscellaneous questions about the organization itself and feral cat behaviors. Afterwards, she gave me her contact information, and said that she’ll ask friends of hers about dates that I can go trapping. She also said that she’d reach out about setting up a volunteering opportunity for me at the Brooklyn Cat Café. I thank her very much for being such a huge help for my project, and for going the extra mile on my behalf.
On Friday, I started towards an equation for calculating the number of kittens born into a litter that a population of females produce. UC Berkeley Ecology and Population Biology Ph.D. student, Kyle Rosenblad, helped analyze, refine, and correct my equation (I created a table to keep consistent in my assumptions and their implementations in the equation, see table 1). I also thank him very much for being such a major help.
My equation, while imperfect, is able to approximate the percentage of all feral cats in a given generation that are kittens, adult males, and adult females. With that completed, my current work focuses on calculating the population of feral cats in a given generation.
During week 2, I discovered Dr. Jeff Sharpe’s equation to calculate the number of feral cats. However, I had to omit many parts of his equation, based on available data. As a result, my answers became very unusual (e.g. negative numbers of kittens, the number of kittens changing over one generation by a factor of -14,205,004.69), and thus unusable. On a larger scale, with more time and in a setting other than NYC, his equation would be very useful for projects and calculations similar to mine. I will have calculated the number of feral cats over numerous generations by next week, and I’ll share graphs of these calculations.
I will use the three different common estimates for the number of feral cats in NYC—0.5 million, 1 million, and 1.5 million—as starting populations to track NYC’s feral cat population growth. You can view my additional research, equations, and assumptions here. I’m very optimistic based on how the project has progressed this week alone. Thanks for reading!