DFW Invasive Species

Feral Cat

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Feral Cat

Feral cats can be seen in both urban areas and many natural habitats on all three islands.
Scientific name
Felix catus
Domesticated cat
Feral cat
Farm cat
Feral cats are decedents of wildcats from Europe, Near East, Asian and Africa, who were domesticated 1000s of years ago (Driscoll et al, 2007). Once domesticated, these cats were taken all over the globe, by humans, and now significantly impact native wildlife here in the US Virgin Islands.
Cats first arrived to the USVI as domestic pets of humans. Failure to spay and neuter these domestic cats, and cats on island today, has led many feral (wild) cats on all three main islands.
Cats are excellent at hunting small prey due to their retractable claws, sharp teeth, quick reflexes and strong body. Female feral cats can have litters of 2-14 kittens and average 1.4 litters/year, resulting in their stable, or increasing populations in many locations (Nutter et al. 2004).
Ecological Impact
What You Can Do!

Donlan, C. J., Tershy, B. R., Keitt, B. S., Wood, B., Sanchez, J. A., Weinstein, A., … & Alguilar, J. L. (2000). Island conservation action in northwest Mexico. In Proceedings of the Fifth California Islands Symposium (pp. 330-338). 

Driscoll, C. A., Menotti-Raymond, M., Roca, A. L., Hupe, K., Johnson, W. E., Geffen, E., … & Macdonald, D. W. (2007). The Near Eastern origin of cat domestication. Science, 317(5837), 519-523. 

Loss, S.R., T. Will, and P.P. Marra. 2013. The impact of free-ranging domestic cats on wildlife of the United States. Nature Communications 4:1396. 

Lowe, S., Browne, M., Boudjelas, S., & De Poorter, M. (2000). 100 of the world’s worst invasive alien species: a selection from the global invasive species database (Vol. 12). Auckland: Invasive Species Specialist Group. 

Nutter, F. B.; Levine, J. F. & Stoskopf, M. K. (2004). “Reproductive capacity of free-roaming domestic cats and kitten survival rate”. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association. 225 (9): 1399–1402. 

Veitch, C.R. 2001. The eradication of feral cats (Felis catus)  from Little Barrier Island, New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Zoology 28: 1-12.