In the United States, alone, there are more than 77 million pet cats. A study in 1997 showed that only 35% were kept exclusively indoors, which means that about 65% of those cats are free to roam outside. It is estimated that some cats may kill over 1000 birds and small animals, mostly mammals, every year. Wild (feral) cats are estimated at between 60 to 100 million. They live almost exclusively on the small animals and birds they can catch. These not only include mice, but also, rabbits, squirrels, and chipmunks. Birds that nest on the ground, such as Grouse and California quail, are susceptible to cat predation.
Cats are not a natural part of our ecosystems. They were domesticated in Egypt over 4000 years ago. They were brought into the U.S in the 1800s to help control the population of rodents. Sounds good, but the small animals that they are killing are also prey for birds such as Great Horned Owls and Red-tailed Hawks. They are competing with the natural predators. Cats also do not discriminate between birds of plenty and endangered species.
Fact: The hunting instinct is not related to the urge to eat.
Fact: Cats that wear bells, still kill birds. They just learn to be quiet doing it.
Fact: Unlike other predators, cats do not have to kill to survive.
Fact: Places where cats do not reside, have twice as many birds, as the places that have cats.
Fact: Unvaccinated cats can transmits diseases, including rabies, to other cats, humans, and native wildlife. Cats are the most reported animal, to have rabies, to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Fact: Unaltered cats are prolific breeders. A female cat can have 3 litters a year with at least 4 - 6 kittens per litter.
What kind, and how many animals a cat kills, depends on the individual cat, the time of year, and the availability of prey.
Roughly, 60% to 70% of the wildlife killed, is small mammals.
20% to 30% are birds
Up to about 10% are amphibians, reptiles, and insects.
The only sure way to prevent domestic cat predation on wildlife is for the owners to keep their cats indoors. Pass the word on!
Information from: American Bird Conservancy, Domestic Cat Predation On Birds and Other Wildlife.