The domestic cat as a predator of Israeli wildlife

Inbal Brickner-Braun, Eli Geffen, Yoram Yom-Tov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Predation of wildlife by domestic cats was studied in Israel. Analysis of stomach contents and data provided by observers revealed that many domestic cats enriched the diet provided by their owners with many species of wild animals, including 12 mammals, 26 birds, 18 reptiles, and one amphibian, and scavenged from garbage. The proportion of manufactured cat food and garbage dump food in the diet of urban cats decreased from 70% of stomach volume among those living in rural settlements to 44% among cats living in open areas, with the rest of the stomach contents consisting of wild animals. Of the wild animals hunted by cats, the most common category was mammals (75% of the stomach volume), followed by amphibians (10%), birds (9%), and reptiles (6%). Most cats do not wander more than 200 m away from either a food source or cover. Female cats living in (southern) desert settlements do not leave the inhabited area and have very small home ranges, while those living in the Mediterranean region (central and northern) wander outside under the cover of trees and bushes and have significantly larger home ranges. The mean distance traveled daily by females from their center of activity was 51.3 m and 103.4 m for the southern and northern populations, respectively. Males were studied only in the Mediterranean region, and their travel distances were greater than those of females. Although our results of predation are mainly qualitative, this study supports those done elsewhere in the world where the cat was shown to be a generalist predator whose potential impact on some species, especially endangered ones, may be considerable.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-142
Number of pages14
JournalIsrael Journal of Ecology and Evolution
Volume53
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2007

Keywords

  • Domestic cat
  • Felis catus
  • Israel
  • Predation
  • Wildlife

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