"Kitty Cam" Captures Cats Killing Birds

We've discussed the very negative effect that feral cats and free-roaming house cats can have on wildlife, especially birds. And it seems each time we discuss the impact or the attempts by states to control their feral cat populations, there's a passionate response in the comments section.

The opinions expressed vary widely, from Amanda, who wrote, "Only an ignorant person would think that killing cats is the answer to habitat loss," to Woodsman, who opined, "Congratulations [to Arkansas on its] intelligent decision to rid their lands of this highly destructive, invasive species."

Perhaps one could argue that I've covered this topic sufficiently, but I find it important, and it seems every new study involving the impact of cats on the environment is more alarming than the last. For instance, the University of Georgia (UGA) has found evidence that house cats allowed to roam outside kill an average of 2.1 animals per week, 13 percent of which are birds. Based on the new study, the American Bird Conservancy now believes cats kill even more than its original estimate of 500 million birds per year.

The manner in which UGA collected its data makes this study all the more intriguing. Researchers attached "Kitty Cams" to various house cats, allowed them to roam freely, and monitored their travels. Each time a cat killed something, it was recorded in a log book.

Some of the photographic and video footage is downright amazing. There's a cat growling at a dog. Another stalking a lizard. And, finally, the one that made me jump: A cat attacked by an opossum.

What do you think of this latest study?

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1 Response to "Kitty Cam" Captures Cats Killing Birds

Woodsman wrote:
August 10, 2012

I think the study should have been more extensive because now the cat-lovers are running around crying foul. I guess they won't be satisfied until all 150 million stray cats are outfitted with cameras. It's interesting that these were people's PET cats, not ferals. Ferals doing even more damage to native habitat. Slow net connection here, video can take hours to download, so I never watched any of the vids from this study. But I find you mentioning the opossum attack interesting. I would worry more about the safety of that opossum than the cat. One winter I tried feeding one of the shot-dead cats on my land to the last few starving opossum that I had taken under my care. (All the rest of my larger native wildlife starved to death from cats destroying all their food sources.) They were doing well, even having 3 offspring while I took care of them. The only foods they were using and had access to were the vitamin fortified foods I gave them. But when I tried to give them a much-needed protein boost with that cat-meat those opossum promptly died from some disease in the cat. Sad to say the least. And highly alarming -- in that opossum, due to their cooler body temperatures, cannot contract nor transmit many common diseases, not even rabies. They are one of the most disease-free animals in N. America. Yet ... something in that cat-meat was able to kill them all. Cats truly are complete and total wastes of flesh. They can't even be used to feed wild animals safely. Leaving any of these invasive-species cats out in nature, alive OR dead, is no better than intentionally poisoning your native wildlife to death. When ridding your lands of cats, please do so in a manner where you can safely and sanitarily retrieve that body and dispose of it so no other lives come in contact with it. Your wildlife and neighbors will thank you. (If using guns, I'd even advise against using a shotgun, too much disease-filled splatter. Make it clean as possible.)