In Chicago, there are an estimated 0.7 owned cats per household and 0.5 feral cats per household. The 2000 census reported 1,000,000 households in Chicago. This would mean that there are more than 700,000 owned cats in Chicago and at least 500,000 feral cats in Chicago.
The sterilization rate of “owned” cats is 82-91%. But often times female cats have at least one litter prior to sterilization especially when 50-60% of owned cats are allowed to roam freely outside. Only an estimated 2% of feral cats are spayed/neutered.
February and March are the peak pregnancy months for feral cats.
Ferals have an average of 1.4 litters per year, with an average 3.5 live births. Kitten mortality at three months is already 48%. Six months it is 67%. Two-thirds die prior to reproduction.
Let’s do the math: If there are 500,000 feral cats in Chicago, and half are female, that means that there are potentially 250,000 females having 1.4 litters a year. 250,000 females having 1.4 litters a year equals potentially 350,000 litters. These 350,000 litters with an average of 3.5 live births each equal a potential 1,225,000 live births. Two-thirds die by six months = 820,000 deaths. That leaves 405,000 left over each year to continue to multiply. These numbers seem high, but even if you divide them in half, they are still staggering.
Feral kittens are the single largest population of dying or killed animals in Chicago. Please help us to help them!
The following organizations offer information, resources, and spay/neuter services for people interested in participating in TNR. For more information about becoming a feral cat colony caretaker, please visit TNRChicago.org
Tree House Humane Society
1212 W. Carmen Ave
Chicago, IL 60640
773-784-5488, ext. 234
3516 W. 26 th St
Chicago, IL 60623
157 W. Grand Ave
Chicago, IL 60610