Forget chasing balls of yarn or cavorting with catnip mice. What your cat really wants to do is go outside and kill things.
University of Georgia researchers found that the carnage wrought by prowling kitties is much greater than previously thought. About 30 percent of the house cats in a recent study succeeded in slaying an average of two animals a week.
"The previous estimates were probably too conservative because they didn't include the animals that cats ate or left behind," University of Georgia researcher Kerrie Anne Loyd told USA Today
Researchers found the cats brought home just under a quarter of what they killed. They ate 30 percent and left 49 percent to rot.
For the study, 60 cat owners in the Athens, Ga., area attached to their pets’ collars tiny video cameras provided by National Geographic Society’s CritterCam program.
Lizards, snakes, and frogs made up 41 percent of the animals killed, while small mammals such as chipmunks and moles were 25 percent of the death toll. Insects and worms were another 20 percent, and birds 12 percent, the researchers said.
Although birds were not the felines’ most frequent prey, when you figure there are about 74 million house cats in the United States, they are doing serious damage to bird populations, said George Fenwick, president of the American Bird Conservancy.
“Cat predation is one of the reasons why one in three American birds species are in decline,” he told USA Today.
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