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.