Yet another study has indicated domestic cats are slaughtering wildlife in massive numbers.
While the study has a cutesy name – the National Geographic & University of Georgia Kitty Cams Project – it has revealed some very important information.
Footage from 55 cats wearing cameras showed 44% of the roaming animals monitored were hunting wildlife. Mammals and invertebrates constituted the majority of suburban prey.
Hunting cats captured an average of 2 animals during seven days of roaming. Small lizards and voles were the most common prey and only one of the creatures captured was a mouse.
It would seem the cat’s reputation for mousing is a little undeserved. Dogs such as fox terriers make better mousers and ratters in my opinion as they do not play with their prey; they kill very quickly and then move onto despatching the next rodent.
Other prey killed by the cats included chipmunks, birds, frogs, and small snakes. Only 23 percent brought their kills back to a residence.
Another disturbing aspect was only 28% of the creatures captured were actually devoured – 49% of the dead animals were left.
According to the American Bird Conservancy, if the results of the study were applied across the USA and included feral cats, these felines are likely killing more than *4 billion* animals per year, including at least 500 million birds.
In Australia, it’s estimated feral cats alone kill *10.95 billion* creatures a year.
It’s not unusual for cat owners to believe their cat doesn’t hunt based on the absence of kills, but as the study points out, only a minority bring their kills home.
In Australia, dogs are not allowed to roam, but cats can get away with it and it’s the same in quite a few other countries. It’s a little unfair to our wildlife.
Spaying is only one aspect of responsible cat ownership in terms of environmental issues – another critical element is keeping them from roaming and protecting other native creatures within their grasp on their home turf.