GPS-based seasonal home ranges of neutered pet cats Felis catus along a habitat gradient
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Agence Française pour la Biodiversité, Muséum national d'histoire naturelle
Museum National d'Histoire Naturelle
Benoît Pisanu   

Agence Française pour la Biodiversité, Muséum national d'histoire naturelle
Online publication date: 2020-09-03
Understanding the habitat-related hunting behavior of house cats Felis catus is needed to evaluate their potential predatory effect on areas they actively visit within their home range. As part of a citizen science program, 30 neutered cats from 25 households were equipped by their owners during, on average, 2 consecutive days per month between January and November 2016 with a GPS programmed to acquire fixes at 1 to 5-mn intervals. Nine cats were located in rural environments, 9 in suburban landscapes, and 12 in urban habitats. For 16 of these cats, preys brought home were recorded daily. Using the recursive distribution movement-based kernel density estimator, rural cats had the largest mean home range area (3.5 ± 0.3 ha), followed by suburban (2.1 ± 0.2 ha) and city cats (1.4 ± 0.1 ha). Moreover, suburban cats enlarged their frequently visited areas in April-June, which corresponded to a peak in small bird preys brought home. Our results suggest that a more diversified landscape may drive domestic cats to increase their home range by benefiting from higher numbers of exploitable areas.