Belmont University Research Symposium (BURS)


Determining the Abundance and Density of Cats in an Urban Neighborhood in Nashville, TN

Publication Date

Spring 4-21-2022


Sciences and Mathematics, College of


Biology, Department of

BURS Faculty Advisor

Matthew Heard

Presentation Type

Poster Presentation


In urban ecosystems, domestic and feral cats can pose a significant threat to songbirds and other small species. However, very little is actually known about the specific impacts of cats in these areas including how abundant they are. In order to understand the impacts of domestic and feral cats on prey species, a critical first step is documenting the location that these cats are found in and attempting to quantify their density. In this study, I used a research approach based off of the one done by the DC Cat Count in order to document the number of domestic and feral cats in the urban areas adjacent to Belmont’s campus. To do this, I mapped out three, six mile transects in the neighborhoods surrounding Belmont University and walked each transect six times over the course of three months. During these walks, I collected data on each cat seen including location, time, body condition, and a photo. This data was then used to help determine the number of outdoor cats seen in these areas and their effect on prey because a higher predator count often correlates to a lower prey count. Knowing this information will allow the city of Nashville to get a better sense on how to handle the outdoor cat population in conjunction with the urban prey population. This model can also be transferred and used to analyze the outdoor cat population and its effects in other urban areas in the future.

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