Reports summarizing a recent study accusing cats of being the major killers of birds and small mammals are making the rounds on the Internet. The study done by two biologists from the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center and one biologist from the Fish and Wildlife Service vilifies cats, especially homeless and feral cats but in general any cat that enters the outside world, leaving the confinement of the indoors, as having become a killing machine of small wildlife.
While the reports throw out numbers of how many birds and small mammals the cats supposedly kill, nowhere in the reports appears the proof of a diminishing number of birds and small animals as a whole. The reports also fail to mention how the study was conducted, what areas and what size of areas were involved and how the researchers were able to prove that it was stray cats killing all the other animals. Stray cats, in particular feral cats, are extremely shy and often elusive to humans observing them. Besides, large birds prey on small birds, catching and killing their own species and doing it with such a speed that the human eye can easily miss it, and they also prey on small animals, including cats.
The researchers of the study published in “Nature Communications” should have been interested in making the entire study available for everybody to read instead of hiding their findings behind closed doors, only accessible by the payment of a fee, and thus leaving many open questions.
The study about cats killing off wildlife appears to be biased and unproven, inciting bird lovers to fight and discredit other animal lovers who put their efforts into caring for innocent homeless, neglected and abused cats. There have always been and there will always be free-roaming cats.
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