California Department of Fish and Wildlife

Domestic Cats in California and Other States


Biology and Ecology of Feral, Free-Roaming, and Stray Cats (.pdf) - Ogan, C.V., and R.M. Jurek in Mesocarnivores of Northern California, Biology, Management, and Survey Techniques.

The Cat Rescue Movement vs. Wildlife Defenders - P. Roberto / Calif. Coastal Conservancy, Coast & Ocean, 1995.
"Feral cat colonies have become established in parks and other wildlife habitat areas with the help of advocates dedicated to saving them from "death row." But to wildlife defenders these cats are unnatural predators, destroying vast numbers of birds and other small creatures."

The Rights (and Wrongs) of Cats - G. Slack, Calif. Academy of Sciences, California Wild, 1998.
Concern that "feral cat colonies" in the San Francisco Bay area threaten local biodiversity at Golden Gate Park and East Bay Regional Parks.

Reducing Cat Predation on Wildlife (.pdf) - F. Gray, Calif. Dep. Fish and Game, Outdoor California, May-June 1999.
Our favorite feline may be a family friend, but it can also be a ferocious predator. Here are ways to help keep your cat from preying upon wildlife.

Responsible Animal Ownership the Key to Preventing More "Tabby vs. Tern" Confrontations - U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service press release, May 5, 1997.

Unnatural Predators, Uneasy Controls - Estuary NewsLetter Online, April 1997.
"As human development continues to encroach on the [San Francisco] Bay's last natural areas and wildlife are relegated to patches of habitat that attract unnaturally high concentrations of predators, it may be time for everyone to think twice about what is being saved and what is being lost and about the prospect of managing predators in perpetuity."

Domestic Cat Predation in California - American Bird Conservancy.

Lindsay Wildlife Museum's Wildlife Hospital, Walnut Creek, California.
"House cats have become the main predator in cities and suburbs. At Lindsay Wildlife Museum 30% of the animals treated each year have been cat-caught. Songbirds are particularly vulnerable, especially during spring and summer when the young are fledging and spend time on the ground."

Cat Predation on Birds and Other Wildlife--East Bay Regional Park District, California (.pdf) - American Bird Conservancy.
Summary of Hawkins, C.C. 1998. Impact of a Subsidized Exotic Predator on Native Biota: Effect of House Cats (Felis catus) on California Birds and Rodents. PhD. dissertation, Texas A & M University, College Station.

Cat Predation on Birds and Other Wildlife--Predator relationships in San Diego canyons, California (pdf) - American Bird Conservancy.
Summary of: Crooks, K.R. and M.E. Soule. 1999. Mesopredator release and avifaunal extinctions in a fragmented system. Nature 400:563-566.

When Coyote's Away, Cats Will Prey - B. Edgar, California Wild, Spring 2000
In wildlands, "When the top predator disappears, smaller carnivores cats tend to take over, with consequences that cascade throughout the ecosystem."

Rewilding and Diversity: Complementary Goals for Continental Conservation (.pdf) - M. Soulé and R. Noss
Page 3 of 5: "Studies by Crooks (1997 and pers. comm.) in isolated remnants of scrub habitat in southern California are showing that the presence of coyotes, the top carnivore in these fragments, is associated with the restriction of house cats to the edges of the fragments."

Predator and Mesopredator Survey in Wildlife Management Plan for Torrey Pines State Reserve California Dep. Parks and Recreation, 1998.

Briefing Paper on Introduced Fish, Wildlife and Plants in the San Francisco Bay/Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Estuary, Bay-Delta Oversight Council Draft - Berkeley Digital Library Project, ELIB: 821
[Feral cats: "View Page" 42 (report page 22)].

Biological Study Nonindigenous Aquatic Species in a United States Estuary: A Case Study of the Biological Invasions of the San Francisco Bay and Delta - Berkeley Digital Library Project. Search using UCB Digital Library ID number 701 [Feral cats: "View Page" 269].

Other United States Conservation Issues

Wide-ranging Cats, Wide-ranging Impacts - Environment-Hawai`i, Vol. 12 No. 4 (2001)
Examples of problems cats pose for bird species in Hawaii.

Non-native Animals on Public Lands, Drost, C.A., and G.M. Fellers in Our Living Resources: A Report to the Nation on the Distribution, Abundance, and Health of U.S. Plants, Animals, and Ecosystems (1995).
Survey results from "937 national parks, national forests, national wildlife refuges, Bureau of Land Management field areas, and state and private land-management areas," showed that of 73 species targeted for control or eradication, "feral cats were the subject of the greatest number of management projects."

Domestic cats pose a serious threat to the survival of many threatened and endangered species in California and elsewhere in the U.S. Predation and disturbance by cats have contributed to the decline of some species. The continued survival of some vulnerable species would be seriously jeopardized if domestic cats were introduced into their remaining habitats. For many threatened and endangered species, special management and protection efforts must be undertaken routinely to control cat predation. Wildlife protection agencies formally recognize domestic cats as a serious problem for many threatened and endangered animals of the United States, including the following examples:
Stock Island Tree Snail
Mona Ground Iguana
Hawaiian Dark-rumped Petrel
California Clapper Rail*
Least Tern | California Least Tern*
Western Snowy Plover*
Piping Plover
San Clemente Loggerhead Shrike*
Lower Keys Rabbit
St. Andrew Beach Mouse
Perdido Key Beach Mouse
Southeastern Beach Mouse
Anastasia Island Beach Mouse
San Bernardino Kangaroo Rat*
Pacific Pocket Mouse*
* California species

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