Trends in the prey size-based trophic niches of feral and House Cats Felis catus L.

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Abstract

House Cats Felis catus L., whether attached to human households or not, appear to be versatile opportunistic predators. Their principal prey in most areas are mammals (rodents and rabbits), with bird prey secondary. Trophic niche breadth, as measured by the standard deviation of the spectrum of logarithmically transformed prey sizes (‘SLH’), shows a latitudinal trend, being greater in low latitudes: it is also greater in periods of high prey availability. This appears to be influenced by inclusion of very small prey, especially insects, in areas and seasons when they are available. Both the niche breadth and the mean prey size (niche position) appear to be constant as population mean cat size increases. The most common prey size for cats is about 1% of their own body weights, which is much less than most previously reported values for carnivores.

Ancillary