Date lodged: 8 August 2017
To ask the Scottish Government what information it gathers on the number of domestic cats in Scotland, and what impact reported increases in this number will have on (a) pet cats and (b) the long-term future of the Scottish wildcat.
Answered by: Roseanna Cunningham 30 August 2017
Free-ranging domestic cat numbers are being monitored in wildcat priority areas through survey work conducted by Scottish Wildcat Action. This survey work is too recent to establish whether there have been changes in the domestic cat populations in those areas. The Scottish Government is unaware of any historic long-term data on domestic cats of sufficient quality to allow assessment of population trends in Scotland and it is difficult to predict what effect an increased domestic cat population would have on pet cats.
One of the main threats to Scottish wildcat is hybridisation with domestic cat, with survey work and genetic analysis confirming widespread hybridisation. An increase in the domestic cat population within the range of the wildcat could result in a corresponding increase in the risk of further hybridisation with wildcats.