RAUK - Archived Forum - Predation from Cats

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Predation from Cats:

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David Bird
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Joined: 17 Feb 2003
No. of posts: 515


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Posted: 04 Aug 2008
I thought there had been a topic on cat predation but could not find it on the search.
Came across this abstract today that may be of interest, quite a percentage for spring.

547. DOMESTIC CATS (FELIS CATUS ) PREDATION ON
WILDLIFE FAUNA IN CENTRAL POLAND
KRAUZE, DAGNY, Warsaw Agricultural University, Poland;
Gryz, Jakub, Warsaw Agricultural University, Poland
Domestic cats (Felis catus) are common pet animals in Poland.
Many of them, especially living in the rural area, breed without control, leave settlements freely and are not properly fed.Studies began in spring 2004, carried out in field and forest mosaic of Central Poland, showed that cats are among the most numerous terrestrial predators in the area. Animals and their tracks have been found in all habitats, often far from human
settlements. Taking into account cats abundance, it appeared necessary to asses their possible influence on native wildlife fauna. From the beginning of 2005 voluntary owners were asked to register prey their cats bring home. Throughout 12 months 7 to 18 cats were observed and altogether 549 prey items were collected. An average number of prey brought home by a cat
differed between months and was the highest in September (9,8)and the lowest in February (0,5). The most frequent prey were mammals (70% of all prey items), then reptiles (11%), birds (9%) and invertebrates (7%). Mammals were the most frequent prey in autumn and winter (about 80% of all prey items) and the least in spring (46%). On contrary, reptiles had the biggest share in spring (32%) and birds in winter (20%).

http://www.eccb2006.org/file/ECCB2006_Book_of_Abstracts.pdf& nbsp;   p129

British Herpetological Society Librarian and member of B.H.S Conservation Committee. Self employed Herpetological Consultant and Field Worker.
Suzi
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Joined: 06 Apr 2005
No. of posts: 860


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Posted: 04 Aug 2008

Cats are a perfect pest here for catching slow worms. I rescue them when I see it happen but this is just a small percentage I suspect. The gardens here are large and perfect for slow worms. Sadly ALL my neighbours dislike slow worms (snakes!) and don't intervene when they see a cat playing with a slow worm. Also cats catch and kill frogs if not stopped. Nature I know.


Suz
Caleb
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Joined: 17 Feb 2003
No. of posts: 448


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Posted: 05 Aug 2008
Presumably they include amphibians in the 'reptiles' category...

It's hard to tell from the abstract whether cats are actually killing more reptiles in spring than the rest of the year, or whether reptiles just make up a bigger proportion in spring due to the lower numbers of mammals killed...

Where I live, there's a massive increase in mice & rats around houses at the end of summer- I've been told that they leave the fields at harvest time. I guess that this could result in more mammal catches by cats in autumn and winter.
ben rigsby
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Joined: 27 Apr 2010
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Posted: 03 Jun 2010
hi herpes (yes im sure you HAVE heard that i before!).
id just like to point out the obvious here. davids post was interesting but lets not get carried away by foolishly comparing unfed, unhoused moggies (are you sure the word PETS is justifiable?)in poland with the (for the most part)pampered ones here.
of course the hunting instinct in felis is innate so the uk and the polish cat will be the same in that respect. but take away hunger and the the animal isnt going to be as driven to hunting is it?
i wouldnt go to work unless i had to!
breeding is drastically reduced here by spaying.

im not saying herp predation never happens here but i had a bumper year for frogs again, have never seen mine or neighbours cats with rana (they arent interested in newts at all) and also, in the domestic environment there are few natural predators.
herp lover and cat owner,

ben

Diversity.
Suzi
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Joined: 06 Apr 2005
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Posted: 03 Jun 2010
I would suggest that the cats are playing with slow worms and frogs. Sure this often leads to their death but I don't think they intend eating them. The biggest killer round my way is one of the most well fed cats you could meet. If a thing moves and wriggles it is fair game for a cat. They often kill mice and young rabbits but don't eat them. 
Suz
David Bird
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Joined: 17 Feb 2003
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Posted: 04 Jun 2010
Ben, not sure what part of the U.K. you live in but here in Dorset the so called well fed neighbours cats, in the past, seemed to like to kill small mammals and reptiles in my garden and to add insult to injury leave the uneaten bodies close to my back door. The well manicured lawns of the neighbours not making such good hunting grounds as my wildlife friendly garden. Luckily I live next to an A road and that great predator the motor vehicle has taken out all the cats over the years and the neighbours have decided not to keep any more. I have recently been finding dead rabbits again but this time mostly eaten and suspect Polecat. I do see obviously well fed domestic cats out on the heath in some areas stalking where I find Sand LIzards and remember a note I saw in the local natural history society publication dating back to the 1920's or 30's remarking on the domestic cat as predating on Sand Lizards so the post I made was not so foolish from my and other peoples experiences.
British Herpetological Society Librarian and member of B.H.S Conservation Committee. Self employed Herpetological Consultant and Field Worker.
Caleb
Forum Coordinator
Joined: 17 Feb 2003
No. of posts: 448


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Posted: 04 Jun 2010
The mammal society have done a survey on cat predation in the UK:

Domestic Cat Predation...

Their estimate was that UK domestic cats killed 57 million mammals, 27 million birds and 5 million reptiles and amphibians during the survey period (April-August 1997).

Incidentally, has anyone here heard frogs scream while being attacked? A friend of mine rescued a frog from his neighbours' cat after hearing a 'piercing scream'.
Paul Hudson
Member
Joined: 24 Sep 2004
No. of posts: 33


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Posted: 04 Jun 2010

In a study by Ruth Henshaw , 1990,s ,she questioned domestic cat owners whose properties  were adjacent to sand lizard populations on Merseyside and quite a few of these people had mentioned that their cats would return home with "green Lizards" .I have also observed cats pouncing in the vegatation in areas where sand lizards occur


Paul Hudson
dave fixx
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Joined: 13 Mar 2007
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Posted: 04 Jun 2010
The alarm I bought and placed by my ponds has worked a treat.I only used it for two months and over a year later the cats wont go near there although they still go in other parts of my garden.I regularly see them with mice and shrews but not frogs.As mentioned before they just seem to play with them hunger doesnt seem to be a factor.

Dave Williams
davewilliamsphotography.co.uk
Alan Hyde
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Joined: 17 Apr 2003
No. of posts: 1416


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Posted: 05 Jun 2010
The domestic cat will not go away, it's here for keeps. I have seven and feel education is the only way forward.
Cat owners MUST

Get their animal neutered/Spayed (This helps prevent wandering)

Feed their animals on High quality foods that keep the animal satisfied yet not fat

Give the animal a loving environment, not buy as a novelty then ignore.

Dedicate an area in their own garden as a toilet. Turn the Earth reguarly and the cats will not be able to resist using that spot.

These methods do not solve the problem 100% , but they do have a big effect on the cats wandering nomadic behaviour.
A happy, well looked after neutered cat becomes a home lover and the desire to hunt is curbed consideribly
O-> O+>
ben rigsby
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Joined: 27 Apr 2010
No. of posts: 337


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Posted: 05 Jun 2010
well i certainly set the cat amongst the pigeons there didnt i? oops! sorry david i certainly didnt mean to offend. i was only speaking from what ive observed here in GLOS for the last decade and i only speak of amphibians NOT reptiles.

ive never been to poland but id imagine an easy option there (since these felines are clearly NOT pets) would be trapping/shooting. if the (primarily dog owning- this is significant) hunting fraternity in eastern europe is anything like that of the uk then i know there'll be no shortage of riflemen eager to oblige since such folk almost universally detest cats. otherwise hunter tourists might be interested.

i never said cats dont predate herps (though not seen it here- 2 cats next door, 8 2 doors down, own 1 myself) and as i said, there are few natural predators in urbanisation. no one picked up on that.swings and roundabouts.

alan and daves excellent advice is most welcome and helpful.

the bottom line is, cats are the uks most popular pet and as alan says they are here to stay. feline demonisation by herpers is pointless.

thanks for mucho info all and some great points raised.

caleb- i moved a log in the garden the other day and had to rescue a rana and a bufo in the process- the former screamed at me! palmates have squeaked at and even bitten!) me in the past too.

ben

PS thought id better point out- i prefer herps to cats!
Diversity.

- Predation from Cats

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