Background information on feral cats
What do feral cats look like?
Feral cats are usually short-haired and have lost the variations in coat colour that highly bred domestic cats show. However, it is not possible to be certain that a cat is feral, just by its appearance or body size.
Where do they live?
Feral cats are found in many different types of habitat, from deserts to forests and alpine regions. They are less common in closed forests, preferring open, dryer habitats such as grasslands.
Feral cats are able to survive in dry conditions, as they do not need drinking water. They get the moisture they need from their prey.
How often do they breed?
Adult feral cats are usually solitary. They generally breed twice a year from September to March. Most litters have about four kittens. Males become mature from about one year old, while females can start to breed from around 10 months.
How far do they roam?
A feral cat's home range varies in size, depending on the availability of its food. In one study of an open forest environment, in the central west of NSW, home ranges for males were found to be on average 280 hectares, while females had smaller ranges of about 150 hectares.
What do they eat?
Feral cats are carnivorous and prey mostly on small animals, particularly rabbits. They also use the rabbit burrows for shelter. But because they are highly adaptable, feral cats are able to switch to other prey, such as native small mammals, when rabbits are scarce.
Page last updated: 28 October 2011