Our house cats have the same hunting instinct as their wild relatives. What does this mean to the wildlife of our region? Crooks and Soule (1999), based on surveys of cat owners in San Diego, estimated free-ranging cats bring home 24 rodents, 15 birds, and 17 lizards a year. They estimated that a patch of natural habitat surrounded by 100 homes would lose 840 rodents, 525 birds, and 595 lizards each year from cat predation. The average life expectancy of an outdoor cat is just 2 to 5 years, while an indoor cat may survive for 17 or more years. Learn more about how to make your outdoor cat a happy indoor cat.
Mountain lions (cougars) live in San Diego County. If you hike in the backcountry, consider carrying an air horn or pepper spray with you. Here are some basic points for staying safe in mountain lion country:
* Don't hike, bike or jog alone.
* Avoid hiking or jogging when mountain lions are most active - dawn, dusk, and at night.
* If you encounter a mountain lion, do not run; instead, face the animal, make noise and try to look bigger by waving your arms; throw rocks or other objects.
* If attacked, fight back.