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Felis catus

Basic information
Scientific name Felis catus

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Common names Feral cat, domestic Cat
Higher taxon Felidae, Carnivora, Mammalia
Natural range A domestic animal. This species was originally domesticated in Egypt ca. 6000 years ago, and the ancetral species is assumed to be Felis silvestris lybica, distributed in Middle East to north Africa.
Habitat Human habitat, forest, etc.
Invasion information
Range in Japan Almost entire Japan including small islands. Range in Japan
Origin No explicit record for introduction to Japan. Possibly from Korean Peninsula.
Date The first introduction to Japan was more than 1000 years ago. Feral cat population in northern part of Okinawajima Is. was observed since 1970s, and have increased since around 1995.
Route Deliberate: Introduced for biological control of rodents. Release and escape of pet animals.
Impact Actually: Predation of native small animals, especially for endangered or endemic species on small islands. Cats sometimes hunt small animals as a game, without eating. Therefore, small number of cats can serious impact on the prey animal populations.
Carrying of cat viral disease (FIV and FLeV) on the areas with native wildcats (Tsushima and Iriomotejima Is.).
Native organism(s) affected: Birds: Uria aalge, Larus crassirostris, Cerorhinca monocerata, Calonectris leucomelas, Apalopteron familiare Columba janthina, Gallirallus okinawae, Sapheopipo noguchii, etc.;
Mammals: Pentalagus furnessi, Pteropus dasymallus, Tokudaia muenninki, Diplothrix legata, etc.;
Reptiles: Japalura polygonata, Ateuchosaurus pellopleurus, etc.
Large impacts on endangered or endemic species on small islands.
There is a record of infection of FIV from this species to an endemic wildcat (Tsushima leopard cat Prionailurus bengalesis euptilurus).
Regulation in Japan The cats imported to Japan must be registered using microchip (the Act on Welfare and Management of Animals). In several regions (Teuri Is. of Hokkaido, Ogasawara, Tsushima, and several regions of Okinawa), the ordinances for domestic cat control establish that cat owners must register their cats using microchip.
Introduced range in other countries Worldwide.
Reference Notes
  • Abe et al. (1994) A Pictorial Guide to the Mammals of Japan. Tokai University Press, Tokyo. (in Jpn)
  • Ecol Soc Japan (ed) (2002) Handbook of Alien Species in Japan. Chijin-Shokan. (in Jpn)
  • Jogahara et al. (2003) Food habtats of cats (Felis catus) in forests and villages and their impacts on native animals in the Yambaru area, nothern part of Okinawa Island, Japan. Mammalian Science. 43(1):29-37 (in Jpn)
  • Kawamichi (ed) (1996) Encyclopedia of Animals in Japan 1, Mammals 1. Heibonsha. (in Jpn)
  • Ohdachi et al. (eds) (2009) The Wild Mammals of Japan. Shokado, Kyoto.
  • Yamada et al. (eds) (2011) Invasive Alien Mammals in japan: Biology of Control Strategy and Conservation. Univ. Tokyo Press (in Jpn)
100 of the World's Worst Invasive Alien Species, 100 of the Japan's Worst Invasive Alien Species