30 Jan 2013

January 30th

Cats are killing wildlife in the billions.

Cats are one of the top threats to US wildlife, a study suggests. The authors estimate feral cats are responsible for the deaths of between 1.4 and 3.7 billion birds and 6.9-20.7 billion mammals annually. 

Birds native to the US, such as the American Robin, were most at risk, and mice, shrews, voles, squirrels and rabbits were the mammals most likely to be killed. 

I love cats—furry, cute, adorable cats. House cats. My first Siamese, Simba used to stand on my foot, look up into my eyes and give a low yowl. I'd bend down to stroke him as we connected. Sometimes, he'd tenderly clamp onto my leg, all the while expressing love. I remember the fuzzy feeling to this day.

a cute black and white cat stretched acorss the floor
Although strays, feral cats and farm cats, are responsible for the bulk of the deaths, domestic cats play a part too. The study suggests that a properly fitted collar with a bell will give their prey more warning.

The domestic cat's killer instinct has been well documented on many islands around the world. Felines accompanying their human companions have gone on to decimate local wildlife, and they have been blamed for the global extinction of 33 species.

A parasite carried in cat's feces is even killing sea otters when the hard casing is washed out through the waterways. The danger has been noted already for expectant mothers, who become infected while changing cat litter.

To act more responsibly, we should keep out cats indoors. That way, we reduce the chance of them being infected by eating contaminated birds or rodents.

My darling Siamese, Simba, died a lonely death in the fields close to our home when I lived in Robe, South Australia. He went missing one day, back in the 1970's. Our family of five searched for days. On the forth day, one of the children came running home to tell us he'd found Simba hidden in long grass under a tree. We took the comatose cat to the vet, but he died of dehydration and the poison from a grass snake. Must have been hunting. Wildlife had the last word.


  1. Yes, I'm afraid my cat is a killer. It's too late to start keeping him indoors as he becomes very distressed and won't use a litter tray, but I would think carefully before getting another cat. An indoor breed would be better for the wildlife around here. Better get him a bell!

  2. My belief if you own any animal, they should be kept inside anyway. They deserve to be taken care of, not out into the streets to fend for themselves. Sir Poops and Hair Ball never go outside without me.

    Hugs and chocolate,

  3. I have not owned cats but my husband did when he was growing up. Several outdoor cats, and every one met an untimely end. My friend's outdoor cats have gone to the vet multiple times due to injuries sustained in fights. Yes, I like cats, but yes, we also have to recognize they are what they are - predators. I think if I ended up keeping a cat, I would keep the cat indoors.

  4. My neighbour and I have rescued so many feral cats in our area that we cant keep count. We (and our local vet) desex every one we catch. If they are young enough we find them homes but if they are older we let them go with the knowledge that although they will still hunt they can no longer breed. I refuse to euthanase them.
    Hopefully we will make a dent in the local feral cat population in the future. Its a massive problem all over Australia too and the fact that they breed so fast here adds to the problem.
    Our State government has just passed a bill allowing recreational shooters into our national parks for the first time. They are only allowed to shoot feral animals including cats. What a terrible, misguided decision to make. I think we should be attacking the problem from the other end. Shoot the owners of the cats that are not desexed or dumped.


Please tell me what YOU think.