Killer kitties: House cats toll put at 4 billion animals a yea

glaserberlAugust 7, 2012

The article was in our local paper this morning and also in USA Today.

Our four don't partake as they are strictly indoor. :)

Here is a link that might be useful: Killer kitties: House catsâ toll put at 4 billion animals a year

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"Based on a U.S. house-cat population of 74 million, "cat predation is one of the reasons why one in three American birds species are in decline"

"One of the reasons..."

OK sure. Now let's talk about environmental degradation and destruction.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2012 at 10:53AM
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Yes, while it doesn't help that cats kill birds, a lot of the blame has to go to over-development, overpopulation, pollution, and general human-caused problems. One of which is people are too stupid or too cheap or too uncaring to have their cats spayed/neutered. Re. development, we see it here in the TX Hill Country all the time, developers find loopholes which allow them to build on land with endangered bird populations. Case in point, the Golden Cheeked Warbler situation in San Antonio, which allowed developers to raze some of the last remaining habitat of this endangered bird.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2012 at 11:22AM
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lol- If you locked up all the cats in the world, what would the coyotes eat?

The coyotes would have to fill up on primarily the same diet the cats are catching. It's a no-win.

And what becomes of the butterfly population with all these extra birds???

Here is a link that might be useful: Butterfly enemies

    Bookmark   August 7, 2012 at 6:51PM
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spedigrees z4VT

I agree with Kashka, Petra, and Kittens.

Now we can look at the rodent control provided by domestic and feral cats.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2012 at 12:34AM
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I don't disagree, just thought it was an interesting article. And 4 billions seems a lot to me

    Bookmark   August 8, 2012 at 5:52AM
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Question: how mny cats did they observe for how long? and then projected the results on an estimated number of cats in the world, it's all statistics, in other words smoke and mirrors.
My cats are in-and outdoor cats, I live on acreage. They do keep the rodent-population down and so I don't have to worry about rattle-snakes

    Bookmark   August 8, 2012 at 9:35AM
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It was interesting. I'd like to see these anti-outdoor cat movements address the full cause and effect of their efforts. Yes, the 4 billion seems like another skewed figure, doesn't it? I wonder how many of these studies are sponsored by the industries geared to selling cat litter, fake trees, fake mice....

    Bookmark   August 8, 2012 at 1:38PM
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Having been a cat owner all of my life, under alls sorts of circumstances, in various areas and countries, I will of course depend on my observations. The primary reason I believe I keep/kept/would keep a cat housebound is for their own safety. If my cats were a nuisance to those around me, I'd also confine them, but since one never knows what a non-cat lover would do to a nuisance cat, it still comes down to the cat's safety as the paramount reason.

I do not believe the bird kill numbers, either. I have had a barn cat for twenty six years. That's a misnomer, because they were actually inside/outside kitties. In addition to a barn cat, I have also had at the same time totally inside kitties. I know there are times the barn cat has been outside my observation, so I don't know what they may be preying on, but I do know they have all pretty much stuck to the property, and often in my proximity since I worked outside in agriculture. Overwhelmingly their trophies have been rodents. Hundreds of them. Heck in that time, hundreds and hundreds. Most of their kills ended up at my doorstep in displays. And as the cats aged past their early years, their danger to the rodents were more intimidation than mayhem. We are serious bird watchers and keep numerous feeders, all within eyesight. Not only does birdseed attract birds but rodents. The cat(s) usually ended up with a mouse or chipmunk at those feeders and not a bird. I think I can count on both hands the number of bird kills in twenty six years of living here. The feathers are left behind, and are an easy spot. I know when they had bunny kills, the fur is also left behind. I know what they prey on and how often they have success. I don't appreciate the very rare bird kill, but it's infintesimal compared to the rodent kills and rodent containment is a necessity for my greenhouse operation and large poultry flock. I'd still prefer those who can to keep their cats indoors, but I'm also getting tired of uncontested statistics to automatically be assumed valid. The are gathered by vested interest, even if it's humanely, and not commercially slanted. I suspect more birds are killed by light pollution in cities. I read about an ACTUAL count of one apartment building in a major city. The corpses were counted. I forget how long the count had been going on, but it was over 35 thousand. ONE BUILDING!

    Bookmark   August 8, 2012 at 3:33PM
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Introduced species such as house sparrows are likely much more of a threat, as they take over prime nesting sites that native birds would use.

What about the other ways we tamper with nature? Do you put out feeders? I know one man who REFUSED because in his logic, it helped the weak animals get through the winter.
Do you mow your lawn? Use insecticide on the Japanese beetles? Trim back the shrubs around the house? Weed the garden and mulch around the plants? You're cutting down on food and shelter for the animals.

It also helps to remember that things like forests are not static: As the trees mature, the canopy blocks the sunlight, and the undergrowth dies off. This leaves less habitat for rabbits and ground birds that use brush for cover and nesting.

I don't let my cats out, but in a 150-year-old house, there is plenty of game inside. Unfortunately, one of the cats lacks claws (not my doing, he came that way) and the other lacks ambition. I've had others, though who were champion indoor hunters. One liked to leave her trophies in the tub.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2012 at 8:49PM
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lilosophia - she said they only tracked 60 cats.

The Brits did a survey study "Look what the cat brought in" with 750 participants over 5 months. They estimated that they had 7 million cats (no feral added in) and that only 200,000 mice are killed from the 7 million. (Mice were the main kill).

It's a long documentary but the study part picks up at about 28 minutes on the video. Warning for the lighthearted - when they start filming Missy, the #2 hunter, she will catch a bunny on camera :(

Here is a link that might be useful: The Secret Life of Cats

    Bookmark   August 8, 2012 at 11:37PM
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Oh please. The "bird people" would like you to think that outdoor cats bring home 10 birds a day.

My current kitty is 100% indoors but the cat I grew up with was indoor/outdoor (lived to be 19 years old). He brought home 10 times more mice than birds -- let's face it, they are easier to catch. I can probably remember 2 birds in 19 years and they were far from rare song birds.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2012 at 9:04AM
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I am a serious bird person, and I still have a barn cat. I do like the ornithologist on that documentary does. I keep my I/O mouser inside throught the night (when cats have the advantage), and also until the morning bird-feeding hours are over. It starts with morningsong at dawn and the activity at the feeders tapers off toward mid-day. My feeders are located where a cat cannot hide under them, but where vines and other foliage is located above ground to give the birds cover from aerial predators like hawks. Birds will not come to feed on or near the ground if a cat or other predator is visible. If I see any birds outside fledging, the barn cat is relegated to the house until they are fledged. It's called making a compromise.

I do believe in keeping cats inside for their own safety, both against predators and also against diseases and vehicular traffic and also so that if you live in anything other than a rural situation, so that they don't become nuisances to other homes if their presence isn't welcome. Any cat I have ever let outside is neutered, has rabies shots as well as protection against feleuk and other cat diseases and is wormed. I still am fully aware of the dangers that cat faces an inside cat does not, and am not championing letting cats out. However, I do think the bulk of cat-related kills are from ferals and that has to do with the major problem of not spaying-neutering. It would be a major solution to most cat nuisance problems. And I don't mind campaigns designed to encourage people to keep their cats INSIDE. It would relieve a lot of heartache for people who love their cats. It still doesn't not excuse taking poetic license with numbers to validate this view. People stop believing the numbers when that happens, and it ends up hurting the cause, not helping it.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2012 at 1:00PM
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