Feral Cat Australian Feral Cat


 

Feral cats are wild cats that originated from domesticated cats brought to Australia by European settlers from 1788 onwards. There were no cats of any sort in Australia prior to this time. Feral means once domesticated animals that have escaped and who, themselves or their offspring, reverted to their wild state and survive by hunting and scavenging. Feral cat are considered different from stray cats as stray cats will still interact with humans. Feral cats will not interact with humans.

Besides domestic animals that escaped, these animals may also have come ashore from shipwrecks, and more significantly they were released into the wild intentionally around farmland and homesteads to control rats, mice and rabbits.

Feral cats are found throughout Australia except in the wettest rain forests in the north. They are found in forests, woodlands, grasslands, wetlands and arid areas. They live in the abandoned burrows of rabbits, inside hollow logs, and under any adequate shelter.

Feral cats are carnivorous, solitary nocturnal, placental mammals. They eat other animals, live along, are active at night and are carry their babies inside their bodies. Their diets consist of native animals such as small marsupials, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish and insects.

It is claimed that feral cats threaten the existence of 35 species of birds, 36 mammals, 7 reptiles and 3 amphibians. Cats have probably contributed to the extinction of many small to medium-sized mammals and ground-nesting birds.

From the age of about one year, feral cats can breed in any season. They have up to two litters of about four kittens each year, but few of the young survive. Dingoes and foxes may restrict feral cat numbers by both direct predation and competition. Feral cats also fall prey to wedge-tailed eagles.

Related Article: Introduced Animals of Australia


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