Are you a cat lover? This story might make you a little sad. A new study says cats kill billions of animal a year in the United States, LiveScience reports.
Research posted today in the Nature Communications journal found the following statistics:
- Cats kill between 1.4 billion and 3.7 billion birds, resulting in as much as 15 percent of the total bird population being killed.
- Cats kill between 6.9 billion and 20.7 billion small mammals (like meadow voles and chipmunks).
That seems like an astonishing number, right?
Pete Marra, co-author of the study and an animal ecologist at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, and his crew looked at previous studies on bird deaths and determined about 84 million-owned cats live in the U.S.
“A lot of these cats may go outside and go to 10 different houses, but they go back to their house and cuddle up on Mr. Smith’s lap at night,” Marra said.
Even though cats that have homes kill between four and 18 birds, and eight and 21 small animals a year, the real threat are wild and street cats. According to Marra, these felines kill between 23 and 46 birds, and 129 and 338 small mammals a year.
This study comes at a popular time for cat discussion. Just last week, we reported that New Zealand economist Gareth Morgan suggested the country get rid of cats. Now, he doesn’t mean killing off every feline, but rather spaying and neutering ones cat, in addition to not getting another when it dies.
If you want to help save birds and small mammals from cats, there really is one simple solution. This tip is brought to you by none other than “Glee” actor Mark Salling.
Today, he asked his Twitter followers to please show love to birds by keeping their cats inside, “Cats kill billions of birds and small mammals a year. Please keep your cats indoors as much as possible as baby bird season approaches <3.”
This might not fix the problem, but it will help. Also helpful would be putting a bell on the collar of the cat to give wildlife a warning when the cat is near.
Marra and his team are also researching human-related causes for bird and wildlife deaths in the country from windmills, windows and pesticides. Those findings should be interesting.
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