A new study on the impact of Cats!

Scientists from the University of Georgia over in the US have conducted a very interesting study of the impact caused by domestic cats to the local wildlife. 60 domestic cats were fitted with small video camera’s (which have been dubbed “Kittycams”) and then allowed to pursue their normal daily activities.

The results have surprised many of the scientists and the estimated number of kills is now believed to have been well below what the actual number is.

I’ve listed below some of the key data that has been collated from this study. Keep in mind that these figures are from the US but we can use this information to get an idea as to the potential of cats on our Australian environment.

  • 30% of the sampled cats were successful in killing prey
  • An average of one kill for every 17 hours or 2.1 kills per week was made
  • Only 23% of kills were brought back to the cats residence
  • The test cats were outside for only 5-6 hours a day
  • Birds constituted about 13% of the kills
  • A new estimated number of over four billion kills (per year) now seems more correct if feral cats are also included in the results
  • Of that four billion, at least 500 million of those kills will be birds

Certainly an interesting study and I think that a lot of people will be surprised by the overall effect that cats have on the wildlife population. Perhaps there is some merit to the saying “the only good cat is a dead cat”

More information can be found at the below site.

10 thoughts on “A new study on the impact of Cats!”

  1. Hi Jason,

    This is one I just can’t leave alone. When I first met my partner, she had 2 indoor cats. The first time I visited her house I discovered the “cat-run” she had for them that ran from a window out to an Avery. It protected both the wildlife and the cats, essentially giving them the best of both worlds. They were allowed outside under strict supervision and if they began to wander the ‘world not known to them’ they were sent back inside.

    It is this sort of ownership that cemented the bond between us, as she has a great understanding of the damage they were responsible for and the irresponsible behaviour by other ‘cat owners’. To be honest, the cats were happier inside where they knew than outside. I believe that if more people adopted the attitude of responsible ownership, we’d have a hell of allot less of a problem.

    It is interesting regarding the article that they now believe that the cats are responsible for “A new estimated number of over four billion kills (per year)”. I’d like to see someone argue me that over their soya latte! Thank you for sharing such a powerful study.



  2. I live on the edge of a small suburb bordering the bush for 20 years and have seen the damage first hand done by cats in my area.
    As the sub divided land was slowly built out and the cat numbers increased the number of small birds entering my yard have declined over the years.
    We no longer see ring tail possums or bandicoots in our area.

    It is about time councils made cat owners control there animals and stop them from roaming the area causing damage.

  3. I recently saw the tail end of a story on Ch7’s Sunday Night show on feral cats. What the academics claimed is that “Northern” Australia has 2 million feral cats each of which consumes 7 to 10 native animals a DAY! These academics tagged feral cats and let them run loose… to kill 7 to 10 feral cats a day (which is where they got the stats from)… and that is what is wrong with academics. That would have to be one of the most irresponsible research I have ever heard of.

    I don’t understand why governments don’t ban cat ownership and put a bounty on them. They should all be shot.

    We have seen the greens/academics forcing their twisted view of the world/bush/environment and how that same environment is suffering through it’s hands off leave it alone policies.

    I had thought a change of government here on Qld would have been a breath of fresh air and seen out public land opened back up to the public (after 20 odd years on our previous pseudo green labor dictatorship running through complete incompetence) but in most respects they seem worse. We had the chance to vote Katter in and open up public land and in turn reversed the idiotic green agenda which would have seen a huge reduction on feral flora and fauna on public land and in turn a reduction of the same on farming land.

    While it pains to say as I am NO labor voter the new state government seems to be worse of firearms laws too. Again we should have voted for Katter (like I did)….

  4. Study was done using well fed domestic cats. Possibly ferals would be killing more wildlife than domestics (per catita) because they don’t get their daily kitty-kat?
    The numbers in this study may well be irrelevant to the feral problem. Difficult as it would be,this study needs to be repeated with a bunch of feral cats to get the true story. Just shoot them when you want the cameras back.
    Yup…good cat = dead cat.
    Cats are environmental enemy No 2. (we are No 1)

  5. I live in a semi rural area and I am constantly amazed at how many cats (and foxes) roam my back yard at night – all captured on trail cameras!
    Feral cats growing up in the bush would have to be the most efficient killers as they have been hunting native animals and birds since they were kittens. A good cat might be a dead cat but you can be assured that you won’t get the last one!

  6. well as of today september 7 here in Qld we are able to legally shoot flying foxes..yeeeeeeeeee harrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr !!

  7. we all wanna blame cats for everything dead we find.Ever considered dogs,owls,hawkes,people,cars,idiots,snakes,poisons,etc etc etc, ? they all kill.
    People who conduct studies always get the answer they want.Or why else spend loads of money to do so.Its only to their benifit.Dont believe studies..

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