75% of kittens born to free-roaming domestic cats die or disappear within six months
This is going to be short because I don't have the full study results but I do have the conclusion. A study titled Reproductive Capacity of Free-Roaming Domestic Cats and Kitten Survival Rate published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association concluded that 75% of kittens born to free-roaming domestic cats died or disappeared before six months of age and trauma was the most common cause of death.
|This photo is so damned sad. It is horrible. It is from Facebook. The photographer was Chris.|
The study observed 2332 female cats brought to a TNR clinic for neutering. In addition, 71 female cats and 171 kittens from 50 litters were also incorporated into the study and they were from managed colonies (believed).
The data that they collected included pregnancy, oestrus status, lactation and the number of foetuses for pregnant cats. They also collected data for feral cats and managed colonies including the number of litters per year and kittens per litter. In addition, they collected information on the date of birth, kitten survival rate and causes of death.
They observed pregnant cats in all months of the year and the percentage of cats that were pregnant was highest in the months of March, April and May. The cats produced an average litter of 1.4 kittens with a median of three kittens/litter. The range was from 1-6 kittens per litter.
Overall, 127 of 169 or 75% of the kittens died or disappeared before six months of age. They say that trauma was the most common cause of death. The conclusion is that these cats had a high reproductive capacity and the information may be useful in controlling feral and free ranging domestic cats.