A recent meta-analysis of 21 different studies of feral and domestic cats shows that previous estimates of how many birds and small mammals cats kill were lower than they really are, by 2 to 4 times. Your cute cuddly kitty is an adorable efficient killer: in the United States alone cats kill approximately 2.4 billion birds and 12.3 billion small mammals (mice, rats, voles, squirrels, chipmunks, shrews and rabbits). One could of course argue that cats do a very good job of killing mice and rats and since these are considered pests and not wildlife, that is a good thing. But most of the small mammals they kill are wildlife and not mice and rats, according to the study. Environmentalists have long seen free-roaming domestic cats as an invasive species, a big threat to conservation efforts. The solution would be, of course, to keep all cats indoors but many people argue it is not fair to keep cats always inside. Dogs are already not allowed to be free-roaming and the same rule should apply to cats. Cats can get killed by traffic and other outdoor hazards as well too. For dogs it is different because dogs get to go out for walks, get to go to the dog park, etc. I'm of course not trying to tell cat owners what to do, bit this in t=interesting data and it should be taken into consideration.
In a report that scaled up local surveys and pilot studies to national dimensions, scientists from the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute and the Fish and Wildlife Service estimated that domestic cats in the United States — both the pet Fluffies that spend part of the day outdoors and the unnamed strays and ferals that never leave it — kill a median of 2.4 billion birds and 12.3 billion mammals a year, most of them native mammals like shrews, chipmunks and voles rather than introduced pests like the Norway rat.
The estimated kill rates are two to four times higher than mortality figures previously bandied about, and position the domestic cat as one of the single greatest human-linked threats to wildlife in the nation. More birds and mammals die at the mouths of cats, the report said, than from automobile strikes, pesticides and poisons, collisions with skyscrapers and windmills and other so-called anthropogenic causes.
Peter Marra of the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute and an author of the report, said the mortality figures that emerge from the new model “are shockingly high.”
“When we ran the model, we didn’t know what to expect,” said Dr. Marra, who performed the analysis with a colleague, Scott R. Loss, and Tom Will of the Fish and Wildlife Service. “We were absolutely stunned by the results.” The study appeared Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications.
The findings are the first serious estimate of just how much wildlife America’s vast population of free-roaming domestic cats manages to kill each year.
Read the rest here.
I saw a story on youtube where a cat moved from one house after another, four in all, and each lady who lived there thought they owned this cat. So it just goes to show that its the Cats that own the people not the other way round.
In 'rural' areas with populations of ground nesting birds humans shouldn't be allowed to have 'pet' cats.
I recommend the nuanced approach in
While the moral panic over cats arises from valid concerns over threats to native species, it obscures the real driver: humanity’s exploitative treatment of the natural world. Crucially, errors of scientific reasoning also underwrite this false crisis.
... cats play different predatory roles in different natural and humanized landscapes.
Cats have been with us as house guests for thousands of years First to keep rats and mice out of the home, and in that, they've done a Good job. Many people get all in a panic that their little kitty might be hunting the local wildlife. Cats that leave the house each day and return later often bring their owners a little present. If people are going to get all bent out of shape about this, they should do what many owners do and hang a bell on its collar. But don't blame the cats.
A new study found that even domestic cats that hunt birds and other wildlife still get most of their nutrition from food provided by their humans.
"Cats' whiskers reveal felines favor free lunch" (ScienceDaily)
"...pet owners can help us reverse the shocking decline in songbirds via three simple, 'win-win' steps: fit collars with a Birdsbesafe cover [brightly colored "anti-camo" that makes cats much less able to sneak up on birds]; feed cats a premium meaty diet; play with cats for five to ten minutes a day to 'scratch that itch' to hunt."
My kitties are strictly indoor kitties.
And they will be much safer that way.
I lost too many over the years until I couldn't handle another one being killed while outside, so it's been this way now for 30 years.
Whilst it might be a problem for a Dog, cats quite like the comfort of their home.
Dogs do fine in a fenced area, as long as it's big enough.
My spayed 100% indoor cat threatens no wildlife!