Feeding ecology and population dynamics of the feral cat (Felis catus) in relation to the availability of prey in central-eastern New South Wales

The diet of feral cats (Felis catus) was studied at Lake Burrendong, central-eastern New South Wales, from July 1994 to June 1997. Mammals were the major prey in 499 scats that were analysed. Rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) were the staple prey, while carrion was an important secondary food. Invertebrates, other mammalian prey, vegetation, birds and reptiles were generally minor components of the diet. Few significant seasonal differences in diet were found; however, invertebrates contributed less and possums more to the diet in winter and summer respectively. A significant dietary response was found to changes in rabbit abundance, but not for the other prey types. Cats continued to prey heavily on rabbits even after a 90% decline in rabbit abundance occurred, which coincided with the advent of Rabbit Calicivirus Disease (RCD). House mice (Mus domesticus) increased in importance in the diet ten months post-RCD. Although the abundance of cats was correlated with the abundance of some prey species, other factors may have influenced the observed patterns; these are discussed.

Author Molsher, R., Newsome, A. and Dickman, C.
Year 1999
Secondary title Wildlife Research
Volume 26
Pages 593-607
Region NSW
Links https://www.publish.csiro.au/paper/WR98058.htm