Is your cat a cold-blooded murderer? According to a new study, cats kill billions of birds, rodents and other mammals in the United States every year.
A new study published in the journal Nature Communications claims that cats kill between 1.4 billion and 3.7 billion birds every year. Cats kill an additional 6.9 billion to 20.7 billion voles, chipmunks and other small mammals.
That’s more than 10 billion animals (conservatively) a year. Killed. By cats.
Smaller studies have come to the a similar conclusion (and were lampooned into a great infographic by the Oatmeal) but Marra says that his study attempted to look at the entire US population of cats.
According to Mara, there are roughly 84 million pet cats in the United States. Each of those cats kill between four and 18 birds a year and eight and 21 mammals a year. Feral cats kill many more animals.
Live Science reports that there are between 30 and 80 million feral cats in the United States. One of those cats can kill up to 50 birds and 340 mammals a year.
Bruce Kornreich, a veterinarian at Cornell University’s Feline Health Center, told Discovery News that some countries, like New Zealand, have implemented an outdoor cat ban to preserve bird populations.
Kornreich, however, doesn’t believe a cat ban is the answer.
“It may be in some cases that cats may also be keeping other species that may negatively impact bird and other small mammal populations in check.”
Are you surprised that cats kill billions of animals every year?