Felis catus have been human pets for thousands of years.
When abandoned, cats go wild very quickly and are then called feral.
They are considered urban pests as they reproduce uncontrolled.
They are a pest because they scavenge rubbish tins and hunt native birds.
They also carry fleas, ticks, ringworm and mange and these can infect household pets.
They contaminate food and raw materials with diseases and their droppings.
They can also infect farm animals and humans with toxoplasmosis and if infected can transmit tuberculosis.
Gestation period for the female is 58 days with two to four kittens being born.
Kittens will start to hunt at ten weeks old and are weaned at four months the family will separate at six months and kittens will be fully grown at ten months.
Oestrus cycles begin when female cats reach puberty, which can be as early as 4 months right through to 10 months of age.
Females are usually ready to reproduce at 12 months and can produce two litters a year.
Habits and Characteristics
Active mainly at dusk and dawn, they prey on small mammals like rodents and rabbits small birds, fish, lizards and insects.
They hunt by stalking and ambushing prey.
Cats scent-mark their territory by urine spraying and secretions from anal glands.
They will avoid human contact and always have an escape route and when cornered they will hiss, bite and claw.
Because we are familiar with cats as pets, most people will feed stray cats which makes the problem worse.
Recently abandoned feral cats will often become skinny and be prone to infections especially cat flu.
Control is a very emotive issue, and when planning control care must be taken to ensure all parties are informed of the type of control methods being used.
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