Indian Leopards Eat a Lot of Domestic Cats

Leopard forced to live amongst humans.
Leopard forced to live amongst humans.
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The primary prey by a clear margin of leopards living in India is dogs (39% of prey items) but domestic and stray cats make up 12% of it’s diet by quantity of living matter (biomass).

I know of no other instances of cats feeding on cats unless we refer to the unique conditions of a cat hoarder in America were surviving cats turned to cannibalism.

The leopard in India is a predator feeding on a predator. Is this an aberration brought about because the human has so distorted the habitat of the leopard such that it lives amongst people, frequently wandering into cities and villages?

The consistent presence of the human within the range of the leopard (they live in the same place) combined with perhaps a decline in the leopard’s normal prey because humans kill the leopard’s prey has lead to this distortion of nature.

An astonishing 87% of the leopard’s diet in India is made up of domestic animals (pets and livestock combined). Leopards are dependent on food sources related to people. It is almost a bizarre form of semi-domestication of the leopard.

It has been suggested that domestic cats and dogs are more likely to be prey to the leopard because they are domesticated and therefore less likely to have anti-predator behaviour. Also pets are less likely to be protected than farm livestock making them more vulnerable to predation.

The research was carried out by the Wildlife Conservation Society. They assessed the scats (fecal matter) from areas in western Maharashtra. Mumbai is in this area.

Leopards have discovered a taste for pets which is over and above their taste for livestock, a surprising development.

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7 thoughts on “Indian Leopards Eat a Lot of Domestic Cats”

    • Leopards are big enough to kill a person. They are bigger than mountain lions and stronger. They are one of the big cats. The fourth largest cat in the world. The answer is they are not allowed at cat shows unless someone has domesticated one and he is on a lead.

      Reply
  1. It seems to me that, if humans have encouraged wildcats to live amongst them, then they need to be providing their food so they don’t munch down on cats and dogs.
    It seems insane to me that leopards are wandering cities and villages at all.
    Let’s send Jimbo to India.

    Reply
    • I think every species has its own place in nature and leopards are not PETS. They must be out of reach of general people and cities or urban/rural areas both.

      They must be kept in a jungle within their natural limits and nourish them-self with natural food they deserve instead of eating cats and dogs which are innocent animals and can easily become pets. Its cruel 🙁

      Reply
      • Yes completely agree. Although the leopard a wonderful survivor and adaptable he shouldn’t be eating pets. It is forced adaptation. Forced on the leopard by human population expansion leaving no room for the leopard.

        Reply
  2. The leopard has still managed to survive in the “Sanjay Gandhi National park(Borivali National park)” in the midst of a concrete jungle because of its adaptability in food habits.Sadly this has also lead to man-eating instances and unless the prey base is restored in the forest park it could be that the days of the wild leopard in Mumbai city could be numbered.50% of the World’s wild-life species has vanished since the 1970’s and its a sheer miracle that Mumbai city has managed to preserve a few of its leopards in the natural forests in its suburbs.Is there any other city barring Nairobi that has a natural wild-life park within its bpundary ?

    Reply
    • Mumbai is unique with that park but the survival of the leopard within it is dependent, as you say, upon its adaptability. I presume it survives on dogs and cats! Not something I’d like to dwell on.

      Reply

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