What preys on housecats in their natural environment?

Opossum eat snakes don’t they? Such a creature could clean up an unguarded nest of kittens I should think.

Salt Crocs are prolific breeders and have no natural predators…apart from other bigger salties eating very young ones. Kind of a paradox on the surface: If they weren’t cannibals they wouldn’t need to be prolific. One theory to answer that suggests it’s a mechanism for plague recovery. Should a large number of crocs die out suddenly there will be less predation on the babies until the carrying capacity is again met. Which would be soon.

Would wild cats be subject to any such pressures? Feline lukemia perhaps? That could decimate local populations?

My fraternity house in undergrad was frequently infested with possums, especially in the summer when fewer people were around and we weren’t as observant as taking out the trash. It was surreal; you’d get up in the morning and there would be a damn freaky possum running down the hall or hissing at you in the bathroom.

If you take “prey” as it’s primary meaning of “an animal hunted or seized for food, esp by a carnivorous animal”, then the answer is: none, under normal circumstances. ( I am limiting this to mammals only mind you)

Other carnivores would certainly kill or attack a small cat if the small cat got to close to the larger carnivores “kill”, or in some cases- if the small cat invaded the large carnivore’s territory.

And, any carnivore will attack and eat just about anything if it’s starving.

Thus, just becuase a wolf wouldn’t normally hunt a samll cat for FOOD, it could well kill one for other reasons, and if the wolf’s natural common prey was scarce- watch out!

Sometimes dogs will kill cats. They rarely eat them. Owls on a rare occasion will kill and (AFAIK) eat small cats. Coyotes- especially urban coyotes- will sometimes make a snack of a cat. We had a 'cat killer" coyote in San Jose- it killed about a dozen. However, it mangled the bodies and ate little if any.

Oppossums wouldn’t likely attack a cat, but a cat might attack one of them, and get very badly bitten.

Mostly, the limits on small predators are territorial and it’s prey. Of course, disease enters into it, as well as a host of other factors.

There was a thread here in GQ a while ago. I still stand by my theory: in general- mammalian carnivores don’t prey on other mammalian carnivores. Note “in general” “mammalian” and “prey” (meaning 1).

The biggest losses to salties occur with the eggs and young, which is why the mothers are so fiercely protective of the nest and makes an efort to carry the young to water where they are somewhat protected. Almost no salty eggs ever make it through to become second year crocs. Salty eggs are preyed upon by humans, rats, pigs, cats, foxes, snakes, monitors, dogs, monkeys and pretty much anything else in the area that is even slightly carnivorous and capable of digging. The juveniles are even more vulnerable and are part of the normal diet of all those things (I’ve never heard of a monkey eating young crocs but they probably would given a chance) and also have to deal with predation from large fish and a variety of birds form herons to harriers.

A young croc is just a few inches long. Why would it have no predators when they live in environments that have such massive numbers of predators of lizards? How would a heron or a fish even distinguish betwen a baby croc and the aquatic lizards upon which they normally prey?

Which I guess brings us towards a secondary point in cat control. Wild cats have a very large range and over much of that range reptiles, especially snakes, would constitute a significant predator under natural conditions. Although reltively few snakes in their range could tackle a wild cat a nest of kittens would be an ideal snack.

Wild cats are also standard prey for other cats: leopards, lynxs, lions, cheetahs and so on all eat cats if they can catch them

OMG, you have a cat named Rhiow?? (Named after the diane duane books??)

That’s what I thought.

My cat Luna disagrees with you. She loves cornbread.

I suspect that “whatever they can get their paws on” is a natural food for wild or feral felines.

There’s a crazy moose loose in the hoose.

A few years ago I saw a hawk on a fence post with a small animal in it’s claw. As I drove past I noticed it was a young kitten and it was still alive, it was struggling but the hawk had a good grip on the kitten’s neck. I stopped and ran at the hawk hoping it would drop the kitten but it didn’t, it flew off with it. The rest of the drive home was rather difficult, I had something in my eye. :frowning:

Yikes, that’s the kind of story that could scar a person for life.
Thanks a lot, pal! :mad:

This guy saw him.


I’m thinking of “mimi,” a stray we ‘adopted’ when she appeared one day and refused to leave. He has a habit of falling asleep in the middle of the driveway or the road, and absolutely. will. not. move. For anything.

Yeah, when a cat doesn’t come back from a house within striking distance of the hills, one of the first suspicions is coyotes. Above my parents’ house in Ventura, they are sometimes audible howling in packs.

I guess it depends on what you consider their natural environment. The Fisher will gobble up house-cats like candy, and hunts them as prey.

Fisher was going to be my reply as well. Where I grew up, cat’s didn’t last very long outdoors.

As far as the natural environment, the Fisher is a natural predator to the bobcat here in Michigan.

Yep. Viral disease also has both high morbidity and mortality in cats. Feline Leukemia, rhinotrachetis, calici virus, feline infectious peritonitis, etc are some of the virii involved.

Nobody mentioned in this thread that the cats fecundity is due to their being induced ovulators. A female cat (queen) cycles in and out of heat, but only ovulates as a response to penetration. The male cat (tom) has dozens of little barbs on his penis which induces ovulation (as well as the Howl you might hear when cats do their thing).

Tomcats will kill kittens. I don’t know why this is, but I would think they play a role in keeping the feral kitten population down.

I was once cleaning cat cages at the city pound, and let a tomcat prowl around while I was doing his cage. Unbeknowst to me, he could get his paw through a gap in the bars of another cage where a stray mom had a litter of kittens. Quick as a flash he yanked a kitten up to the bars and fatally bit it. Ugh.

IIRC they only kill kittens that are not theirs. How they can tell, I have no clue. Theory is that they make the world a better place for their own kitties by eliminaing the spawn of any other goddamned tomcat that dared an attempt at reproduction in his turf. Or something.

A lot of male mammals, including lions, will kill offspring under maternal care that they themselves have not fathered. This brings the female into reproductive condition sooner, giving the male the chance to sire her next litter more rapidly than otherwise would happen.

A raccoon killed a friend of mine’s cat. Not sure if it was eaten, though.

Canis familiaris is no longer a valid name. Dogs are Canis lupus, just like the gray wolf. C. familiaris is now a junior synonym of C. lupus.