Biology, Ecology

The first cats appeared about 25 million years ago. That's when the sabertooth tiger was around. Today only two subfamilies of cats exist. The subfamily Pantherine includes the tiger, lion, jaguar, leopard, snow leopard, and clouded leopard. The subfamily Felinae includes all non-patherine cats including the domestic cat.

The Projects

Browse the participating projects

The Urban Caracal Project: Exploring how wild caracals persist in a rapidly urbanizing landscape

As global urbanization rapidly expands, wildlife species are increasingly endangered by human activities...

The first look at pumas and reintroduced endangered wolves of northern México

Puma (Puma concolor) ecology in northern Mexico is essentially unknown and thus far, has relied on camera...

i-cows: can intimidating eye patterns painted onto cows reduce lion attacks?

A major reason that lions are in decline is that many are killed every day in retaliation for eating livestock...

Identifying Snow Leopards, Tigers and other Endangered Species by developing a low-cost DNA field test kit

Endangered species, like snow leopards and tigers, are hard to identify and track using the time consuming...

How have genetics of African Lions changed over the last century?

In this study, we will compare genetic information from 100-year-old lions preserved in museums to modern...

Monitoring the Endangered Sri Lankan leopard

The Endangered Sri Lankan leopard is the second last remaining island leopard in the world. This unique...

Is the Felixer cat trap safe for native carnivores?

Feral cats are a huge threat to our native wildlife and agriculture but are notoriously hard to control...

Rarest cat in the world? Assessing the Status of the Javan Fishing Cat

The last survey of the Javan fishing cat occurred in the early 1990's. The information it collected led...

Pride in Our Prides: Can A Story Save the African Lion?

Lions and people live a tenuous coexistence. When lions kill livestock, villagers retaliate with poison...

Reputation Formation in Domestic Cats (Felis silvestris catus)

Reputation judgments allow individuals to attribute characteristics and behaviors to others without directly...

More About This Challenge

The sciency details

Challenge Amount:
Submission Deadline:
May 02, 2016
Campaign Launch:
May 19, 2016

Frequently Asked Questions

How do challenge grants work?

Challenge grants are sponsored prizes. We will accept proposals for campaigns related to cats until the May 2nd deadline. All selected projects will launch together on May 16th. The project with the highest number of backers will be awarded an additional $1,000 grant.

When will the grant be awarded?

On June 11th at 5PM PT, the prizes will be awarded according to the posted schedule.

Can I still submit a project?

We are no longer accepting projects for this grant, however we will be launching many more challenge grant opportunities. Sign up for our mailing list for up-to-date community news.

Please Note:

If we see suspicious acitivity of researchers or backers potentially cheating during the challenge, the project will be completely disqualified from winning the grant.

Challenge Aims

Human-Wildlife conflict

Big cats are often killed by humans because they are accused of killing livestock. Are the big cats really guilty of this? Can we develop better methods to keep big cats away from livestock?

Microbiome of cats

What does the microbiome of big cats tell us about where they are going and what they are eating? Can we use the microbiome to test their stress levels?


How can we prevent poaching? How can we catch poachers? How can we disincentivize poaching?

Where do house cats go?

Many pet owners suspect that their cats have a second home. How can we track where our pets go during the day? What do they eat? Who are their new friends? Do they use green spaces? If they use green spaces are they killing native species? If they're killing native species how can we protect the biodiversity in the area?

Feral Cats

How can we support feral cat communities that live in cities. If the data shows that feral cat communities are harming the ecosystem what are the most effective methods for neutering these cats and returning them to their communities? If the feral cat population is supporting the current ecosystem and native species, how can we keep them around?


How can we monitor the populations of big cats in the wild? How can we track them non-invasively?

These are just a few topics we're interested in. Submissions are open to projects outside of these topic areas. If you are unsure if your project is a good fit get in touch with us at

Project Eligilibity

All projects related to cats are eligible.

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