Wildlife Research Wildlife Research Society
Ecology, management and conservation in natural and modified habitats

The diet of feral house cats (Felis catus) at a regional rubbish tip, Victoria

Susan Hutchings

Wildlife Research 30(1) 103 - 110
Published: 17 April 2003


The diet of feral cats (Felis catus) inhabiting a regional rubbish tip (dump) in Victoria was studied to determine whether cats utilised garbage or live prey from the surrounding heathlands for food. Between 30 and 50 cat scats were collected from the tip over two years in each of four sampling periods: spring 1997, autumn 1998, spring 1998 and autumn 1999. The scats were analysed to determine major dietary components, dietary breadth and seasonal overlap of diet. Bone fragments from meat scraps were the most frequent dietary item detected in the scats. Vertebrate prey species occurred less often in the cats' diet but a variety of both introduced and native species were represented. Analysis of dietary breadth confirmed that cats selected mainly meat and chicken scraps from the garbage but indicated that vertebrates were hunted opportunistically. Control measures are suggested to reduce cat numbers at regional rubbish tips to relieve potential impact on native wildlife.


© CSIRO 2003

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