A recent study finds that our sweet feline companions kill more birds and ground critters by area than wild cats! Conducted by North Carolina State University and the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, it was published this March in the Animal Conservation professional journal. The study compared the prey captures of 95 tracked domesticated cats to the captures of wild cats. They found that the house cats they monitored killed about 10 times more birds and small mammals per hectare (about 2.7 acres) than wild cats.
Prey killed per area by domestic vs wild cats. YouTube
The image below tells the story. Domestic cats hunt in much smaller territories than wild cats; therefore their presence is more destructive.
Hunting area of domesticated cat vs wild cat (YouTube )
This video gives you a fuller picture of how the study was conducted.
Cat owners constantly face the condemnation of their neighbors when they let their cats roam the neighborhood. Being a cat owner I do understand the urge to let cats out. It's hard to keep a cat indoors. Cats are very resistant to domestication. They are not obedient. They are very difficult to train. They get bored easily. And if you don't have the time to train and play with them and you don't give them a variety of stimulating scratchers, hideouts, and toys, they will tear your house apart.
But my sympathies are with wildlife. As I reported some weeks ago, the bird population declined by 3 billion in the last 50 years, and many of the species hit hardest were those we suburban dwellers found most commonly in our environment or, if lucky, at our feeders.
Of course, there are many factors that contribute to the decline of avian life, and cats are not the biggest cause overall. But if we all keep our pet cats indoors we will help conservation tremendously. Here, you'll find other actions you can take to help the cause!