Feral cat

Feral cats live, hunt and reproduce in the wild. They have the body shape, acute senses and fine coordination perfectly suited for stalking and capturing prey. These traits have allowed feral cats to adapt to some of Australia’s harshest conditions and invade almost all parts of the continent.

Feral cats need large amounts of fresh meat to survive and reproduce. In Australia they mainly eat small native and exotic mammals, birds, lizards and insects. About 80 endangered and threatened species are at risk from feral cat predation in Australia. Feral cats also carry diseases which can affect humans and other animals.

Cats probably arrived in Australia as pets of European settlers and were later deliberately introduced in an attempt to control rabbits and rodents. Cats now occupy 99% of Australia, including many offshore islands.


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Act

Standard Operating Procedures – feral cat control

  • PestSmart_logo GEN003: Trapping using soft net traps - Soft net traps consist of a flexible metal frame and netting and/or bag which collapses over the animal when triggered. Soft net traps rely on entanglement to secure and hold […]
  • PestSmart_logo GEN001: Methods of euthanasia - The word euthanasia means an easy death and should be regarded as an act of humane killing with the minimum of pain, fear and distress. Euthanasia of a range of […]
  • cat-placeholder CAT002: Trapping of feral cats using cage traps - Although cage trapping is considered an ineffective tool for large areas, it may be useful in urban/residential areas where domestic cats are present, or where populations have already been reduced […]
  • cat-placeholder CAT003: Trapping of feral cats using padded-jaw traps - Live trapping followed by euthanasia is one of the main methods of feral cat control currently used. In urban/residential areas, cage traps are preferred over leg hold traps as fewer […]
  • cat-placeholder CAT001: Ground shooting of feral cats - Shooting is one of the main methods currently used for feral cat control however it is labour intensive and not considered an effective broad-scale control method. It may be of […]

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Case studies

Videos

  • CatVid1 Feral cats in Australia: Part 1 – History and Population - YouTube video: Chris Dickman is a Professor in Terrestrial Ecology at the School of Biological Sciences, Sydney University. He has studied interactions between native and introduced species in the arid […]
  • feral_cat_DPanther Feral cats in Australia - YouTube video playlist: Feral cats live, hunt and reproduce in the wild. They have the body shape, acute senses and fine coordination perfectly suited for stalking and capturing prey. These […]
Last updated: July 20, 2016