Like the parent of a bully saying that their little Johnny would not behave like that, if you’re a cat owner reading this, you are probably thinking that the above statistics don’t apply to your cat. The fact is that your furry friend is actually a friendly neighbourhood serial killer.
Statements like “My cat only brings me gifts and they are mice and rats. He never gets the natives” or “My cat is well fed and has no need to hunt” are just huge misconceptions. The fact is that your cat is not innocent and here are some stats to back that up.
What your killer kitty really gets up to
- Cats just don’t kill rodents. They are indiscriminate; here in New Zealand they kill native birds, introduced birds, rodents, skinks and invertebrates (like insects) (8.)
- Just because your cat does not bring home natives it does not mean they are not killing them.
- The average cat brings home 13 pieces of prey each year (9). But this is only one in five of their kills. Cats eat a third of what they kill, and leave half of them to rot (10.)
- If they are not bringing home native birds it’s because there are none around left to kill.
- Domestic cats living on the edge of wilderness areas seem to do the most damage and can wander huge distances; covering up to 69 hectares (11.)
- Before you say it, even well-fed cats kill. The fact is that cats kill on instinct, not because they need to eat, it is one of their most pleasurable activities. In one study, six cats were presented with a live small rat while eating their preferred food. All six cats stopped eating the food, killed the rat, and then resumed eating the food (12.)
8. van Heezik, Y. et al Do domestic cats impose an unsustainable harvest on urban bird populations? Biological Conservation 143 (2010) 121–130
9. van Heezik, Y. et al Do domestic cats impose an unsustainable harvest on urban bird populations? Biological Conservation 143 (2010) 121–130
11. Metsers, E.M. et al Cat-exclusion zones in rural and urban-fringe landscapes:how large would they have to be? Wildlife Research, 2010,37,47–56
12. Adamec, R. E. 1976. The interaction of hunger and preying in the domestic cat (Felis catus): An adaptive hierarchy? Behav. Biol. 18:263–272.