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Title: The predatory behaviour of the urban domestic cat Felis catus L.
Author: Thomas, Rebecca L.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2726 9106
Awarding Body: University of Reading
Current Institution: University of Reading
Date of Award: 2011
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Domestic cats (Felis catus) are predators that can attain very high densities and have the potential to detrimentally affect prey populations. Densities of cats in the town of Reading were comparable with other UK studies, and were on average 463 cats/km", with cat density increasing as a function of housing density. Mean rates of predation were estimated at 18.3 prey items car I year' I, but this was highly spatially and temporarily variable. Predation by domestic cats may be removing up to 40% of the prey population in some species. Variation in rates of predation between individuals was high. Cat owners can influence the predatory habits of their cats by using belled collars and by restricting the access of their cats to the outdoors overnight. Male cats were found to have higher predation rates than female cats, especially when under 3 years of age. Within prey species, there was also variation in the likelihood of being predated. The roaming behaviour of male wood mice (Apodemus sylvaticus) leads to an increased likelihood of being predated, demonstrating a cost to the dispersing sex. The proportion of prey returned home by cats was investigated using faecal analysis. It was shown that as rates of predation are low in urban cats, faecal samples would need " to be collected over a longer period oftime to detect prey items. The average area ranged by a cat was 1.94ha and when occasional exploratory movements were included the ranging area increased to 6.88ha. Range area was not affected by sex or season, but ranges were found to be significantly larger at night than during the day. These data suggest that keeping cats in at night would reduce the distance that they range and reduce rates of predation. 9.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available