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Data from: Free-ranging farm cats: home range size and predation on a livestock unit in Northwest Georgia

Citation

Kitts-Morgan, Susanna E. et al. (2016), Data from: Free-ranging farm cats: home range size and predation on a livestock unit in Northwest Georgia, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.v3n85

Abstract

This study’s objective was to determine seasonal and diurnal vs. nocturnal home range size, as well as predation for free-ranging farm cats at a livestock unit in Northwest Georgia. Seven adult cats were tracked with attached GPS units for up to two weeks for one spring and two summer seasons from May 2010 through August 2011. Three and five cats were tracked for up to two weeks during the fall and winter seasons, respectively. Feline scat was collected during this entire period. Cats were fed a commercial cat food daily. There was no seasonal effect (P > 0.05) on overall (95% KDE and 90% KDE) or core home range size (50% KDE). Male cats tended (P = 0.08) to have larger diurnal and nocturnal core home ranges (1.09 ha) compared to female cats (0.64 ha). Reproductively intact cats (n = 2) had larger (P < 0.0001) diurnal and nocturnal home ranges as compared to altered cats. Feline scat processing separated scat into prey parts, and of the 210 feline scats collected during the study, 75.24% contained hair. Of these 158 scat samples, 86 contained non-cat hair and 72 contained only cat hair. Other prey components included fragments of bone in 21.43% of scat and teeth in 12.86% of scat. Teeth were used to identify mammalian prey hunted by these cats, of which the Hispid cotton rat (Sigmodon hispidus) was the primary rodent. Other targeted mammals were Peromyscus sp., Sylvilagus sp. and Microtus sp. Invertebrates and birds were less important as prey, but all mammalian prey identified in this study consisted of native animals. While the free-ranging farm cats in this study did not adjust their home range seasonally, sex and reproductive status did increase diurnal and nocturnal home range size. Ultimately, larger home ranges of free-ranging cats could negatively impact native wildlife.

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