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Suburban cats and wildlife
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Suburban cats and wildlife
Paton's questionnaire
A more reliable survey
Detailed study in Canberra
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A more reliable survey

In contrast, a REARK survey in 1994 (1), using the same questionniare method but with a better sampling technique, produced a quite different result. The survey included 4093 households in all capital cities except Darwin. People to be interviewed were selected from the White Pages based on population densities in different postcode areas. Owners were asked specific questions about the hunting behaviour of their cat over the previous 12 months.

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  • 25% of households had at least 1 cat (~30% in Adelaide)
  • the number of cats covered by the survey was 1550
  • 55% of cats caught some prey 44% cuaght none
  • the average number of prey caught by each cat each year was 4.76
  •  this is a massive difference to Paton's 30.

 This total was broken down as follows:

Prey Prey   % of cats
 

per cat

 

 involved

 

per year

   
Rats, mice, rabbits 2.42   51.0
Native mammals 0.02   0.4
Introduced birds 0.77   16.2
Native birds 0.23   4.8
Native reptiles 1.32   27.7
Total 4.76   100.0

Cats with bells on their collar actually caught more prey than cats without bells, probably because bells were more likely to be attached to proven hunters. The above figures indicate that two thirds of the prey caught by suburban cats were introduced species, which the conservations regard as undesirable anyway.