Biodiversity and Conservation

, Volume 23, Issue 2, pp 327–342 | Cite as

Underlying impacts of invasive cats on islands: not only a question of predation

  • Félix M. MedinaEmail author
  • Elsa Bonnaud
  • Eric Vidal
  • Manuel Nogales
Original Paper


The domestic cat has been introduced on most islands worldwide, where it has established feral populations and is currently known to be one of the worst invasive mammalian predators. Predation is the strongest deleterious effect of cats on wildlife, inducing a direct negative impact on population size and dynamics, breeding success and changes in species assemblages. Direct predation is not the only damaging impact on native wildlife, since cats can be responsible for other poorly-documented underlying ecological impacts, like competition, hybridization, disease transmission, ecological process alteration, and behavioral change. Here, we pinpoint relevant examples of these ecological impacts, by searching for accurate data from published literature. We used electronic databases covering most of the world islands where the effects of cats were documented. Knowledge of these impacts can be of great importance to preserve insular ecosystem functions and persistence of endangered native species. We emphasize that direct predation processes should not be the only factor considered in the management of invasive cats on islands.


Competition Diseases Ecological process disruption Felis silvestris catus Hybridization 



This work was supported by several European Union projects: CGL-2004-0161 BOS co-financed by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Education, the French FRB (DREAMS project) and PEPS-CNRS programme.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Félix M. Medina
    • 1
    • 4
    Email author
  • Elsa Bonnaud
    • 2
  • Eric Vidal
    • 3
  • Manuel Nogales
    • 4
  1. 1.Servicio de Medio AmbienteCabildo Insular de La PalmaSanta Cruz de La PalmaSpain
  2. 2.Ecologie, Systématique and EvolutionUMR CNRS 8079 Univ. Paris SudOrsayFrance
  3. 3.IMBE, Institut Méditerranéen de Biodiversité et d’Ecologie Marine et ContinentaleAMU/CNRS/IRD/UAPV/Aix-Marseille UniversitéNoumea cedexNew-Caledonia
  4. 4.Island Ecology and Evolution Research Group (IPNA-CSIC)La LagunaSpain

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