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New study finds cats kill billions of animals every yearNew study finds cats kill billions of animals every year

New Study Finds Cats Kill Billions of Animals a Year

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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.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

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  • davidgoldmandg

    Humans are responsible for many more animals dying. Our cars alone…

  • PokerRay

    Wow, the ridiculous never ends. First of all, anyone ever hear of pest control? Secondly, cats are predatory hunters by nature. Pesky word that, NATURE. Third, try keeping my cat inside sometime. Go ahead, I dare ya. Fourth (sigh), I love how “meadow voles and chipmunks” are mentioned by name. Try rats, mice and insects.
    You guys want to just eliminate the natural cycle altogether, don’t you? I suggest you stay away from Africa. The lions and leopards alone will bum you right out.


    Don’t fuck with Mother Nature. For everything there is a reason. The circle has been broken

  • Patricia Carol

    Letting cats roam outside unsupervised puts both them and other animals at risk. Cats left outside may be hit by cars, abused by cruel people, or attacked by other animals. I adopted a stray cat who had a nasty wound on one of his back legs when he was first found, most likely from a dog attack. To this day, his leg gives him trouble, and he sometimes stumbles when he tries to run or jump. Please, keep your cats indoors!

  • Audrey Hill

    This “study” is a collection of old data put out by mostly cat hating people. Studies done by the British Royal Ornithological society dispute these figures & findings. If humans stopped getting free kittens & then abandoning them we would not have huge colonies of feral/un-owned cats that many responsible Trap, neuter & Release groups are coping with.Some cats are ok with being indoors only, others would go stir crazy. Personally I would never live in the city again as there are too many evil people bent on doing harm to other’s pets. If I was forced to live in the City I would contain my cats in a safe, fenced are attched to my home. By the way I have seven cats, who are all allowed out side, We feed wild birds daily, & can count the # of birds killed per annum on the fingers of one hand. Yes, cats will also kill rats & mice, but as most people don’t consider the “pretty” or “desirable” that’s ok for cats to kill them. If the whole world were compelled to keep cats indoors, what would be the rise in mice/rat infestations?? Black Plague anyone???!!!


    • PokerRay

      Excellent reply Audrey.

      “cats that have homes kill between four and 18 birds, and eight and 21 small animals a year,”
      This statement smelled very fishy to me. I don’t buy it one bit. And mine is one of the cats you mention, who would go stir crazy (and drive me the same) if I didn’t let her out. Arbitrarily telling people to not let their cats out doesn’t sound like something any cat person would say.

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