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Ranging characteristics of the domestic cat ( Felis catus) in an urban environment

By R. L. Thomas, P. J. Baker, M. D. E. Fellowes

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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
Volume 17
Issue 4
Pages 911-921
ISBN/ISSN 1083-8155
Publisher Springer
Language English
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal ecology
  2. Animal housing
  3. Animals
  4. Biological resources
  5. British Isles
  6. Carnivores
  7. Cats
  8. Characteristics
  9. Commonwealth
  10. Countries
  11. Developed countries
  12. Effect
  13. Europe
  14. Habitats
  15. Invertebrates
  16. Mammals
  17. OECD countries
  18. peer-reviewed
  19. Pets and companion animals
  20. Population
  21. predation
  22. prey
  23. Resources
  24. stocking density
  25. summer
  26. United Kingdom
  27. urban areas
  28. vertebrates
  29. Wild animals
  30. wildlife
  31. winter
  1. peer-reviewed