Feral cat. Photo - DOC CC-BY

Feral Cats

Feral cats are generalist predators, with a diet that varies depending on what habitat they are in. Apart from rats, feral cats eat mostly birds, lizards and invertebrates, and scavenge readily. Bats are also vulnerable to feral cat predation. Feral cats pose a risk to Rakiura's iconic ground-nesting birds, such as kiwi, penguin and tītī.

Feral cats can have large home ranges, with home range sizes of feral cats on Rakiura some of the largest recorded in New Zealand. Feral cats on Rakiura are understood to prefer sheltered forested areas.

On Rakiura, feral cats have caused the local extinction brown teal. Feral cat predation of kākāpō on Rakiura resulted in their urgent removal to predator-free offshore islands between the 1970's and 1990's. 

Feral cats live in the wild, are not a stray or domestic pet cat and have none of their needs provided for by humans. Domestic pet cats are not in scope for removal as part of Predator Free Rakiura. Environment Southland requires that domestic pet cats are neutered and micro-chipped on Rakiura.

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  • Hedgehog. Photo - Nga Manu Images


  • Norway rat Rakiura. Photo Jake Osborne CC BY-NC-SA 2.0