New Zealand Journal of Ecology (2016) 40(1): 186- 190

Movement and diet of domestic cats on Stewart Island/Rakiura, New Zealand

Short Communication
Vanessa Wood 1
Philip J. Seddon 2
Brent Beaven 3
Yolanda van Heezik 2*
  1. Environmental Services Unit, Auckland Council, PO Box 92300, Auckland 1142, New Zealand
  2. Department of Zoology, University of Otago, PO Box 56, Dunedin 9054, New Zealand
  3. Department of Conservation, PO Box 3, Stewart Island 9846, New Zealand
*  Corresponding author

Domestic cats (Felis catus) in Halfmoon Bay, Stewart Island/Rakiura, were tracked to assess the potential for incursions into native forest around the township, and into Rakiura National Park c. 5 km away. During February and April 2005, 15 and 4 radio-collared cats were tracked, respectively. During a six-month period, cat-owners logged prey brought home by 11 cats. Cats were at home >90% of the time. Of the six cats that left home, movements were small: home range was between 0.05 and 16.6 ha (100% minimum convex polygon). Four cats brought prey home, comprising rats (Rattus spp.; 67% of prey items), and birds (four species, one native; 33%). Cats sampled at Halfmoon Bay were unlikely to enter the national park; however, many locations were within native forest patches, indicating that native birds within Halfmoon Bay were vulnerable to predation. The high proportion of rats caught could have benefits for native species.