In many countries, high densities of domestic cats ( Felis catus) are found in urban habitats where they have the potential to exert considerable predation pressure on their prey. However, little is known of the ranging behaviour of cats in the UK. Twenty cats in suburban Reading, UK, were fitted with GPS trackers to quantify movement patterns. Cats were monitored during the summer and winter for an average of 6.8 24 h periods per season. Mean daily area ranged (95% MCP) was 1.94 ha. Including all fixes, mean maximum area ranged was 6.88 ha. These are broadly comparable to those observed in urban areas in other countries. Daily area ranged was not affected by the cat's sex or the season, but was significantly larger at night than during the day. There was no relationship between area ranged and habitat availability. Taking available habitat into account, cat ranging area contained significantly more garden and other green space than urban habitats. If cats were shown to be negatively affecting prey populations, one mitigation option for consideration in housing developments proposed near important wildlife sites would be to incorporate a 'buffer zone' in which cat ownership was not permitted. Absolute maximum daily area ranged by a cat in this study was 33.78 ha. This would correspond to an exclusory limit of approximately 300-400 m to minimise the negative effects of cat predation, but this may need to be larger if cat ranging behaviour is negatively affected by population density.
|Publication Title||Urban Ecosystems|
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