I like cats. I like dogs too, but I appreciate cats. But those cool, purring, graceful creatures are formidable killers. One estimate is that cats kill as many as one out of ten birds. From ABC:
Cats are responsible for the deaths of 1.4 to 3.7 billion birds and 6.9 to 20.7 billion mammals every year, according to research conducted by the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The study, published on Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications, highlighted the impact that both un-owned cats and owned cats have on wildlife populations in the United States.
Feral, un-owned cats are responsible for the majority of deaths, and the study found previous wildlife mortality estimates to be far too low. It remained to be seen what large-scale impacts the killing sprees have on wildlife populations.
“It’s hard to know,” Dr. Peter Marra, research scientist at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute and co-author of the study, told ABC News. “We think there are 15 to 20 billion adult land birds in the U.S. If we are suggesting 2.3 billion are killed annually, that means 1 in 10 birds are taken by cats every year.”
This does NOT, however, mean that we should get rid of cats. There is a movement in New Zealand to make the country “cat free.”