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In a cat care guide book it is strongly adviced never to let a Maine Coon run free, because these cats are very effective predators and run a very large territory. I have no plans to let my Maine Coon run free in the nature, but this advice made me curious. How large is a "very large" territory of a mere domestic cat?

For comparison, when we let our two shepherding breed dogs out alone, with no supervision, they roam an area of roughly 200 yards (around 180 meters) radius around the house. We don't have neighbours nearby.

  • Confession to make: I live with my family in a concrete block of flats, sixth floor up. We have two homes, the 2nd home in the solitude of countryside is for weekends and vacations. – Esa Paulasto Nov 22 '13 at 16:29
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I'm not sure how breed affects the range of a cat, but food source (if the cat is provided food by owners, or if the cat has to hunt food) is known to affect how far a cat may travel.

A study by in 2011 performed by the University of Illinois using radio collars determined:

The mean home range for pet cats in the study was less than two hectares (4.9 acres).

It's often thought (using studies that track cat movement though observations of people instead of radio collars) that gender and season affect the range of a cat, but they couldn't find a relationship in the radio collar study.

A surprising result of that study is that

Most of the cats in the study stayed within about 300 meters of human structures, said co-author Nohra Mateus-Pinilla, a wildlife veterinary epidemiologist at the Illinois Natural History Survey at Illinois.

“Even feral cats were always within range of a building,” she said. “That shows that even though they’re feral, they still have a level of dependency on us.”

So if you have no neighbours, this result may be more applicable to your situation than the previous "average housecat".

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  • That study really produced interesting result. About the breed factor, I understand the guide book really pressed on the large size of Maine coon's territory. I'm still curious about it. It is usual to let cats hunt mice around farming establishments, and even in suburb neighborhood. But still they advice not to let a Maine coon out free. – Esa Paulasto Nov 22 '13 at 16:19
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    This: “Even feral cats were always within range of a building,” she said. “That shows that even though they’re feral, they still have a level of dependency on us.” I understand the finding, but not the reasoning. Food is near buildings, mice especially, and little birds too. Dependency is towards food, not necessarily us humans. – Esa Paulasto Nov 22 '13 at 16:24
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    I don't have access to the full paper, but my guess is that they're dependant on people, if only to build the structures that attract food. – Zaralynda Nov 22 '13 at 16:27

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