PestSmart: Feral cats
Feral cat (Felis catus)
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.
Feral Cat PestSmart Toolkit documents:
- PestSmart Factsheet: Feral Cat (340kb PDF)
- Feral cats in Australia video series (YouTube)
- Standard Operating Procedures for the humane control of feral cats
- Proceedings of the National Feral Cat Management Workshop
- PestSmart Case Study: By-laws for management of cats on Kangaroo Island, South Australia
- PestSmart Case Study: feral cat spray tunnel trials on Kangaroo Island
Contributors: PestSmart Toolkit for Feral Cats
Damien Halliday, Kana Koichi, Steven Lapidge – Invasive Animals CRC