T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network

Cats (Feral) Felis catus

Species: F. catus
Binomial name: Felis catus

Feral cats are often domestic cats that have been released into the wild, or their offspring which are born in the wild and now require no input from humans for their survival. They have been in New Zealand since the arrival of the earliest Europeans, although were not recorded as feral until the mid-1800s. The cats have rapidly became pests themselves and as with ferrets, stoats and weasels have found the NZ bird life, lizards and frogs easy prey. They can carry bovine tuberculosis, and can spread disease to sheep (toxoplasmosis), resulting in the abortion of lambs. An average male cat weighs between 2 and 7 kilograms, while females weigh between 1.6 and 4.6 kilograms. Coat colours vary from pure black to orange tabby.
Another problem are free-ranging domestic cats (well-fed pets who are allowed the freedom to rove around at will by their owners) and will frequently continue to hunt and kill small birds and other wildlife if given the opportunity by their owners.

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