Cats can be cuddly, but America’s second most favorite family pet is also an accomplished killer.
Researchers at The University of Georgia have concluded domesticated cats are wiping out neighborhood wildlife.
USA Today sums it up as mundanely as possible: “That mouse carcass Kitty presents you with is just the tip of a very bloody iceberg. When researchers attached kittycams to house cats, they found a secret world of slaughter.” [Video of the carnage]
While icebergs are largely homogeneous in structure, the wildlife gnawed upon by Fluffy is quite diverse.
Mammals’ eternal foe, the reptiles (and their slimy cousins, the amphibians), take the brunt of the feline assault — lizards, snakes and frogs made up 41% of the animals killed by the 60 Athens-area cats equipped with collar cameras.
Cute creatures, such as chipmunks and voles, made up 25% of the tiny corpses; insects and worms 20%; birds 12%.
I’d have thought birds, as tasty as they are, would have been killed more often, but, from a predator’s standpoint they have the annoying ability of flight.
Nevertheless, birding enthusiasts are upset at the nation’s 74 million cats.
“Cat predation is one of the reasons why one in three American birds species are in decline,” said George Fenwick, president of American Bird Conservancy.
Cat lovers are equally upset at the UGA report, which has been called “heavy on errors, misrepresentations, and glaring omissions, and light on defensible claims.”
Here’s some more details from the complete UGA study that will make you think twice about kissing Fluffy: