This is a topic of a raging controversy. While cat owners prefer to be in denial, studies have repeatedly brought up the most troubling fact about cats, both free-ranging and domesticated ones. In the US alone, where there are an estimated 86 million house cats, they are blamed for killing 1.5 billion to 4 billion birds every year.
Pet owners vs. environmentalists
This is a staggering number and pits home cat owners against environmentalists who would not like to see such a murderous predator getting pampered and a privileged position in ordinary households.
While the debate is on at the national and international levels, you, as a cat owner, may often find yourself in a dilemma about your cat’s exploits. How do you react when your cat brings home a dead bird every now and then? But more importantly, do you feel your cat is lurking danger to your birds in the backyard?
The role played by outdoor cats
House cats loose outdoors or gone feral have caused the extinction of many bird species. As per a report, cats have finished off at least 63 species of birds, reptiles, and mammals in the wild. And, they are still on the job, pushing more species to extinction. In light of this, cats are on the list of the worst non-native invasive species.
The House Cat Vs. Birds Dilemma continues
What’s worse? You may have a role in propagating species that is supposed to the worst predator of birds. In the United States, the largest threat to birds comes from humans who keep cats as pets in their homes. As a cat owner, you may have only noticed how your well-fed cat does not mind killing birds. But even when they don’t kill, their predatory behavior tends to threaten and intimidate the birds. The mere presence of cats near birds’ habitat has shown to reduce the health of the chicks and impact nest success badly.
As cats are more popular as pets than even dogs, a majority of them are overwhelmingly domesticated. They don’t set their feet outside and hardly threaten other species except for house mice. But their outdoor cousins are a different story altogether.
A feral cats are the one who has never had any contact with humans and who does not enjoy living indoors. This kind of cat lives entirely on his own. They seem to be responsible for killing 70% of birds killed by cats.
The debate about the cat’s predatory nature against birds first came to light in 2013 when a study on the subject was published by the Smithsonian’s Bird Center. This study made the startling revelation that cats kill up to 3.7 billion birds annually in the US. They also kill 20.7 billion mammals every year. Though the study chiefly blamed the feral cats for most of the kill, it also noted that indoor domestic cats are no less predatory.
The danger of house cat to birds is a topic of animated discussion among environmentalists and pet owners. While there is little doubt that cats have been predating birds and other animal species of small sizes, nothing much has been done to change the trend.