A longstanding stereotype that cats can't live down is the not-so pleasant habit some of them have of delivering small dead animals to their owners' doorstep as a gift of sorts. All stereotypes have a seed of truth to them, as they had to have started somewhere.
As it turns out, this stereotype actually downplays the murderous desires of most cats.
Recently, the journal Nature Communications released study estimates indicating that domesticated cats are responsible for the deaths of approximately 20 billion tiny mammals each year (mice, field rats, squirrels and so forth). More than that, they are also responsible for upwards of 3.7 billion bird deaths each year. Such staggering numbers may lead you to believe that the offerings they leave on our porches are perhaps the best specimen from their hunt and there are probably many more in your yard or in the woods.
As if that number wasn't already unbelievable, consider that these are just in terms of birds and small mammals. The study didn't take into account lizards, frogs, and even smaller snakes.
Some people will obviously say that the death of millions upon millions of rats and other vermin is a good thing. However,others may point out that in some regions of the country, the birds the cats are killing belong to populations that are falling rather quickly, particularly in areas of New York.
Cat owners might be relieved to know that a portion of these figures comes from wild and feral cats as well. Still, all the same, if your cat wanders off for more than five minutes, you may want to check its mouth and paws for any indication that it has been on the hunt when it returns.