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Old 01-29-2013, 09:09 PM
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Default Cats kill billions of creatures every year according to new study

Score one for the cats! Cats kill billions of creatures every year according to new study - CSMonitor.com


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Cats kill billions: According to new research, cats kill between 1.4 billion and 3.7 billion birds and between 6.9 billion and 20.7 billion small mammals, such as meadow voles and chipmunks.



Cats kill billions of birds every year and even more tiny rodents and other mammals in the United States, a new study finds.

According to the research, published today (Jan. 29) in the journal Nature Communications, cats kill between 1.4 billion and 3.7 billion birds and between 6.9 billion and 20.7 billion small mammals, such as meadow voles and chipmunks.

Though it's hard to know exactly how many birds live in the United States, the staggering number of bird deaths may account for as much as 15 percent of the total bird population, said study co-author Pete Marra, an animal ecologist with the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute.

Staggering toll

Marra and his colleagues are looking at human-related causes for bird and wildlife deaths in the country, from windmills and glass windows to pesticides.

But first, Marra and his team looked at the impact of the feline population, one of the biggest putative causes of bird demise in the country.

While past studies had used critter cams or owner reports to estimate the number of birds killed by cats, those studies were usually small and not applicable to the entire country, Marra told LiveScience.

For this broader analysis, the team first looked at all prior studies on bird deaths and estimated that around 84 million owned-cats live in the country, many of which are allowed outdoors. [In Photos: America's Favorite Pets]

"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.

Based on an analysis of past studies, the researchers estimated that each of those felines killed between four and 18 birds a year, and between eight and 21 small mammals per year.

But the major scourges for wildlife were not those free-ranging, owned-cats, but instead feral and un-owned cats that survive on the streets. Each of those kitties — and the team estimates between 30 million and 80 million of them live in the United States — kills between 23 and 46 birds a year, and between 129 and 338 small mammals, Marra said.

And, it seems, the small rodents taken by felines aren't Norway rats or apartment vermin, but native rodent species such as meadow voles and chipmunks, he added.

No easy answers

One obvious step to reduce the mass wildlife death is to keep kitties indoors, Marra said.

Perhaps seeing their furry friends bring in a meadow vole or a cardinal will spur cat owners to say, "Listen, Tabby, we're going to have a heart-to-heart talk about how much time you spend outside," he said.

Wild cats pose tougher questions, because capture and sterilization approaches have varying levels of success depending on the community, said Bruce Kornreich, a veterinarian at Cornell University's Feline Health Center, who was not involved in the study.

While keeping owned-cats indoors is the best way to benefit both kitties and wildlife, a complete cat ban, like the one recently proposed in New Zealand, is probably not the answer, he said.

For one, it's not clear how completely removing cats from outdoors would affect the ecosystem.

"It may be in some cases that cats may also be keeping other species that may negatively impact bird and other small mammal populations in check," Kornreich told LiveScience.



Read the last line. And think WHY the Egyptians domesticated the cats. And think about the bubonic plague.
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Old 01-29-2013, 09:24 PM
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Default Re: Cats kill billions of creatures every year according to new study

For as much as mine all hunt there does not seem to be any shortage of birds or moles and chipmunks around here. The coyotes kill a much broader range of wildlife.
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Old 01-29-2013, 09:39 PM
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Post Re: Cats kill billions of creatures every year according to new study

Had some "farm cats" growing up.
They were not domesticated. They never came inside.
Hung around the backdoor to the house sometimes to get fed leftovers that I never questioned if they were enough, cause they always looked fed enough...

But thinking about how much I feed my cats now.
Thinking about how there were so many ways that rodents could have caused problems on the farm, but I never saw any rodents (e.g. grain, etc)...

Makes me wonder exactly how much murder and mayhem they got up to...
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Old 01-29-2013, 09:52 PM
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Default Re: Cats kill billions of creatures every year according to new study

We have a couple of house cats that never go out doors and then we have about 6 feral cats that hang around that we also feed. Since we took over unlike the previous people here that ran off the feral cats we spend a lot less on varmint control with a small amount of rat poison in the larger spaces away from access of the senate but a place where mice will have to travel to get into the spaces. It seems they was "allergic" to cats as they said but not a large dog that forced me to refinish the office after I took over and get the smell out.

As for birds mine as I've stated before don't seem to pay them much attention but do mice and chipmunks both of which can be very destructive.
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Old 01-30-2013, 12:36 AM
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Default Re: Cats kill billions of creatures every year according to new study

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Makes me wonder exactly how much murder and mayhem they got up to...
Nature ain't pretty man.
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Old 01-30-2013, 12:43 AM
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Default Re: Cats kill billions of creatures every year according to new study

Humans have wiped out many of the original predators such as foxes so I would imagine that cats might take their place.
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Old 01-30-2013, 01:14 AM
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Default Re: Cats kill billions of creatures every year according to new study

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Humans have wiped out many of the original predators such as foxes so I would imagine that cats might take their place.
A lot of people today (city people) don't really understand what nature does and how much it has been tamed.

I kind of enjoyed the hell out of people in Colorado voting to end bear hunting then complain because bears were over running their properties. Without a gun you aren't the top of the food chain people. Even with one you have to be vigilant 24/7.

Nature is pretty until it decides you're the food that keeps the pretty functioning. I'm all for cats killing birds though, birds sh*t on my truck, never had that problem with a cat.
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Old 01-30-2013, 01:43 AM
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Default Re: Cats kill billions of creatures every year according to new study

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Score one for the cats! Cats kill billions of creatures every year according to new study - CSMonitor.com


Read the last line. And think WHY the Egyptians domesticated the cats. And think about the bubonic plague.
Cats are such amazing creatures, so full of contradictions. Recently I was petting one of mine, and thought how cute his chubby round kitty foot with the fat round toes was. And then I thought, that foot, with its retractable, needle-sharp claws is a killing device engineered to disembowel prey.

So strange. Conflicting images and concepts, but both are true. And there are so many things about cats that are like that.
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Old 01-30-2013, 01:47 AM
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Default Re: Cats kill billions of creatures every year according to new study

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Originally Posted by Oftencold View Post
Cats are such amazing creatures, so full of contradictions. Recently I was petting one of mine, and thought how cute his chubby round kitty foot with the fat round toes was. And then I thought, that foot, with its retractable, needle-sharp claws is a killing device engineered to disembowel prey.

So strange. Conflicting images and concepts, but both are true. And there are so many things about cats that are like that.
Full of contradictions much like people
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Old 01-30-2013, 09:09 AM
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Default Re: Cats kill billions of creatures every year according to new study

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Nature ain't pretty man.
I think it was Woody Allen who said "nature is one big restaurant".
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