What preys on housecats in their natural environment?

This thread got me to thinking about this.

Housecats are very prolific breeders. My (very minimal) understanding of population biology tells me that the reason an animal would be that prolific is that most of the babies can’t be expected to make it to adulthood in the natural environment. Cats have other behaviors (burying waste, hiding when injured) that this site says are behaviors designed to avoid predators.

My question is, what animal or animals prey on housecats (or their wild ancestors) in their natural environment? If I Google “cat” and “predator”, I get lots of links about cats as predators, but nothing I could find on what preys on cats.

Pretty much any other predator bigger than a cat. Various dog species (wolves, coyote, etc) would be pretty much a given.

Housecats are descended from wild cats. According to this site:

I can’t be certain that this is true of small wild cats, but it’s not uncommon for feral housecats to be killed by their own species. Unlike pet cats, who tend to conduct mock battles with few injuries, feral cats’ fights are often to the death.

Vacuum cleaners!

Out here, coyotes regard house cats as mobile hors d’oeuvres.

If cartoons are any guide; baby kangaroos.

Raptors like hawks and owls account for some deaths in feral housecat populations, as do foxes and coyotes etc.

In addition, the survival rate for kittens is low. When a queen has a litter every heat, and is often not very well nourished herself, each litter of kittens is less likely to survive. In the South, it is not unusual for an entire litter of kittens to be bled literally to death by fleas.

Yeah, fleas, ticks and worms are another factor to consider, as well as disease. :frowning:


Not to be snarky, but wouldn’t a house be the natural environment of a house cat?

Pet cats that are not feral, but are allowed to run free outside by their owners are also a mainstay of birds of prey. I saw a Great Horned Owl in a neighbor’s tree once right in the middle of town. Raptors also come into town for the easy pickin’s.

You might have heard of them: Canis

Canis familiaris

Canis latrans
coyote, prairie

Canis lupus
gray wolf

Canis mesomelas

Aye, which is why Rhiow is indoor only. There are opossums and owls in this neighborhood.

Yes, many’s the time I’ve watch two of our cats “air-bite” each other as they simultaneously attempt to take possesion of my lap.

Opossums? Seriously. You’ve got to be kidding.

Nope, I’m not, there are wild opossums inKansas, and this town is VERY small.

Opposums can capture unguarded garbage, and may wrestle a discarded bagel to the ground, but not a cat. Not even a baby kitten.

Opposums have brains the size of your average M&M. And are just marginally smarter.

I’d worry about hawks. Jeeps. And dry cat food. (Which is basically corn – NOT a natural or favorable food for felines. No matter what the commercials say. Ground up mice and birds is the ideal food. Not grains.)

Adding, I’ve seen one (an opossum) myself. Just down the street, a lady nearly hit a deer on her way to work two winters ago. (Which is the street ambulances run on btw.) Wildlife has incorporated itself into the neighborhoods here. There are also raccons around, which I’ve also seen in town, but far enough away from where I live that I think my yard isn’t likely part of their turf.

Ainak the main worry would be rabies, and if the opossum is big enough, it could harm a cat, should they fight for whatever reason.