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What Do Feral Cats Eat In The Wild?

Even in your area, there is likely to be a substantial population of feral cats wherever you reside. The fact that cats are natural hunters manifests itself daily in their lives.

So, how do feral cats live without a consistent food source? What do they typically consume for food and drink? How often do they hunt, and how much food do they consume daily?

We examine these topics and more in "What Do Feral Cats Eat in the Wild?" by BestForPets (bestforpets.org).

Although if wild cats do not contact with humans, they are still living beings that need the chance to live as long as possible.

A Quick Word on Feral vs. Stray Cats

The distinction between stray and feral cats is vast. Often, feral cats have had little to no human contact. They have often never been pets or lived in a home, thus they are typically afraid of humans.

Usually, feral cats have had owners at some time in their life. Similar to feral cats, strays attempt to live, but they are more inclined to seek assistance from humans. Yet, a stray cat can turn feral if it does not interact with humans for an extended period of time.

How Feral Cats Live

The majority of feral cats reside in colonies of related females. Together, they seek refuge, defend their territory, care for their young, and forage for food. Most neighborhoods are unaware of the presence of a colony of feral cats since these cats avoid humans and are active at night.

Favorite Food for Feral Cats

Wild cats will eat anything to live, but they prefer tiny rodents like mice and rats if they have a choice. Moreover, they will pursue hares, rabbits, squirrels, bats, shrews, and moles.

Even Insects and Reptiles

It may surprise you to find that wild cats consume a significant amount of insects. Grasshoppers and spiders are simple to find and capture, making them an uncomplicated food source. Also known to hunt snakes and tiny lizards are feral cats.

Thereafter, There Are Birds

Here is where a great lot of debate develops. What the majority of people believe about this topic is likely false or at least overstated. Cats are not responsible for wiping off entire populations of songbirds!

Several studies have demonstrated that cats hunt what they perceive, with animals appearing three times more frequently than birds. In reality, birds may be considered prey by feral cats by happenstance rather than as part of their usual diet.

Trash and Humans

Some feral colonies are nourished and fostered by communities and carers. These colonies will often spend less time searching and more time savoring the food that is readily available and given. Many communities generate enough rubbish to sustain many cat colonies!

Eating Habits

The average feral cat can kill and consume around nine mice each day, excluding failed hunts. They often have many small meals throughout the day that are rich in protein and fat but low in carbs.

The majority of feral cats will wait outside of burrows or rubbish to stalk and pounce on their victim. This method is significantly simpler and more effective than stalking and pursuing birds.

In general, although cats do spend time foraging, they prefer to consume the easiest food sources: rubbish and leftovers.

Water Sources

Wild cats will gather water wherever it collects, especially after it has rained. Cats are resourceful and may locate water in a variety of places, including puddles, birdbaths, and the dripping water from air conditioners. They can also extract water from their prey, which is advantageous when fresh water is scarce.

The Importance of the Feral Cat in the Ecosystem

When cats are removed from a region, the environment is negatively affected. Some individuals feel that feral cats wreak havoc on animals and birds and favor trapping, removing, or eradicating them.

Yet, it has been demonstrated that the birds that feral cats pursue tend to be sick and weaker, and so feral cats have little effect on the bird population.

This research investigated the consequences of removing feral cats from an island in order to safeguard endangered species. This resulted in the unrestrained growth of the rabbit population, which decimated the flora and badly damaged several animal species.

Following all of this, at least 130,000 rats came into this environment. Nevertheless, the entire operation sparked widespread anxiety among conservationists.

This is not the only instance in which the removal of cats has had a terrible effect on an environment, proving that cats are more vital than many people realize.

Conclusion

What Do Feral Cats Eat in the Wild?” by BestForPets (bestforpets.org) has shown that cats will consume whatever is most readily available and convenient. They are opportunistic predators who utilize their cunning and keen senses to find food, whether it is garbage, an insect, or a rat.

Also, you can consider feeding wild cats personally. Always choose the same time of day and give cover and protection from the weather at feeding locations.

But, keep in mind that you must make other arrangements if you are unable to feed the cats yourself. This is a lengthy and significant commitment.

Wild cats are resourceful, and they like rodents. They have shown themselves to be indispensable members of our communities and ecosystems, and so deserve our thanks and respect.

Author Image

Dr. Deborah Fletcher

Deborah R. Fletcher, DVM, is a skilled veterinarian with more than 15 years of experience dealing with companion and exotic animals. She has experience caring for a variety of animals, including household cats and dogs, reptiles, birds of prey, and even primates. Dr. Fletcher is a valuable part of the BestForPets team, where she contributes to their aim of providing pets and their owners with the finest possible treatment and services.

Veterinarian (DVM) Dr. Deborah Fletcher

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