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


Cats (Feral) Felis catus

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Felidae
Genus: Felis
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 become pests themselves and as with ferrets, stoats and weasels have found the NZ bird life, lizards and frogs as easy prey. They can carry bovine tuberculosis and can spread a 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 is free-ranging domestic cats (well-fed pets who are allowed the freedom to move 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.
Across Australia, feral cats kill a million native birds every night and have caused the extinction of 20 native species since they were introduced. 


Distribution of the feral cat (Pink area)


Thanks to Wikipedia for text and information http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/