Feral cats rely on rabbits

Feral cats are more dependent on rabbits as prey than quolls are, and cats favour areas where rabbits are more common. They are two findings from a study into the feeding and distribution preferences of feral cats with regard to rabbits. The findings are reported in the Journal of Mammalogy.

Feral cats and quolls both eat mammals, reptiles, birds and invertebrates but quolls have a wider diet – including carrion, bats and plant matter. Quolls tend to prey on rabbits in-sync with the number of rabbits about, while cats make rabbits a mainstay of their diet regardless of rabbit abundance. Perhaps because of this, cats were more likely to be found in proximity to rabbits compared to the more flexible quolls.

Reducing rabbit numbers in such situations is a good bet if wanting to reduce feral cat numbers by removing their main food supply, without having great impact on quolls.

For more information see the article by Katherine Moseby, Melissa Jensen and Jack Tattler in the Nov 2021 edition of Journal of Mammalogy.

Feral cat. Image: Hugh McGregor (Arid Recovery)

Posted in About Rabbits, Awareness, Research and tagged , , , , .