Reportedly, cats kill billions of animals every year. A recent study in the United States showed that domestic felines may be cute and furry, but they massacre billions of birds and small rodents, sometimes for food, other times just for fun.
Pete Marra, who works with the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute as an animal ecologist, was interested in why birds and other wildlife were dying at very high numbers.
Obviously, the general idea is to look at human causes like toxic dumping, pesticides, dumping and mass killing for the animal trade.
However, he and his team first looked at another traditional cause: cats, both domestic and feral.
Using research over many years and a broad expanse of the country, study authors found that cats kept as pets kill about 1.4 billion to 3.7 billion birds. Additionally, the domestic felines kill another 6.9 to 207 billion small mammals like chipmunks, squirrels, mice and voles.
Marra says about 84 million homes have cats as pets. However, they do get out and wander around.
"A lot of these cats may go outside and go to 10 different houses, but they go back to their house and cuddle up on Mr. Smith's lap at night," Marra said.
In fact, one cat alone can kill four to 18 birds and eight to 21 mammals annually.
Even more unsettling is the fact that, altogether, feral cats kill billions more a year. In fact, the number of bird and rodent deaths by wild felines can kill about 1,000 percent more mammals alone a year.
So now the mission is to find ways to cut down on the amount of animal casualties without disturbing the ecosystem.
Researchers say a cat-ban, as New Zealand recently proposed, is a radical solution that will not likely work; felines both domestic and wild keep pest levels down.
While cats kill billions of birds and rodents, perhaps the best thing to do is address the human problem first. That alone will allow nature to function as she was designed.