Animals & Wildlife Magazine

Cats Considered Top Predators in the US

By Frontiergap @FrontierGap

A recent study has suggested that cats are responsible for killing billions of animals each year making them one of the top predators of US wildlife.

Cats considered top predators in the US

Image courtesy of anaa yoo

In a research published in the Writing in Nature Communications scientists reveal that stray and feral cats are the main offenders in terms of hunting down wildlife. They are held responsible for the death of at least 1.4 to 3.7 billion birds and 6.9 to 20.7 billion mammals each year. Researchers also added that pet cats contribute to a large proportion of these deaths, and that owners should consider trying to find ways of reducing their impact. The authors have concluded that more animals are dying by being preyed upon by cats than in road accidents, collisions with buildings or poisoning.

Researchers from the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute and the US Fish and Wildlife Service have reviewed passed research conducted on the preying efficiency of cats. By analysing the data and comparing it to recent studies they have found that cats have been killing four times as many birds as had been previously estimated. Birds such as the American Robin, which is endemic to the US, are one of the major species considered to be under threat due to feline hunting. Also under constant threat are mice, shrews, voles, squirrels and rabbits.

Overall, the data suggests that stray, ‘un-owned’ cats are killing three times as much as pet cats.  Scientists  added that it is the pet’s owner responsibility to try and mitigate the impacts their cats are having on the American wildlife as this can be done in a number of easy  ways. A spokesman for the animal welfare charity RSPCA for example, suggested that a properly fitted collar and bell could reduce the cat’s hunting success by at least one third. 

By Eleonora Arcese


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