Home range size, habitat utilisation and movement patterns of suburban and farm cats Felis catus


  • David G. Barratt

    1. Applied Ecologv Research Group, Univ of Canberra, P O Box I, Belconnen, ACT, 2601, Australia (dbarratt@anca.gov.au)
    Search for more papers by this author
    • D G Barratt, Forest Biodiversity Directorate, Australian Nature Conservation Agency, GPO Box 636, Canberra, ACT, 2601, Australia


The movements of 10 house cats (4 desexed females, 5 desexed males and 1 intact male) living on the edge of a suburb adjoining grassland and forest/woodland habitat, and a neighbouring colony of seven farm cats, were examined using radio-telemetry over nine months Nocturnal home range areas of the suburban cats varied between 0 02 and 27 93 ha (mean 7 89 ha), and were larger than diurnal home range areas (range 0 02 to 17 19 ha – mean 2 73 ha) Nocturnal home range areas of cats from the farm cat colony varied between 1 38 and 4 46 ha (mean 2 54 ha), and were also larger than diurnal home range areas (range 0 77 to 3 70 ha – mean 1 70 ha) Home ranges of cats in the farm cat colony overlapped extensively, as did those of cats living at the same suburban residence There was no overlap of home ranges of female cats from different residences, and little overlap between males and females from different residences Four of the suburban house cats moved between 390 m and 900 m into habitat adjoining the suburb Polygons describing the home ranges of these animals were strongly spatially biased away from the suburban environment, though the cats spent the majority of their time within the bounds of the suburb Movements further than 100–200 m beyond the suburb edge were always made at night There is evidence that home range sizes and spatial movement patterns of house cats are largely determined by a) the density and spatial distribution of cats utilising separate food resources, b) the personality and social dominance of individual cats, c) the location of favoured hunting and resting/sunning sites, and, d) barriers such as busy roads