Killer Cats

You may not realize that your domestic cat is part of a worldwide epidemic that is responsible for the death of a staggering number of beneficial animals each year. We think of cats as going after mice and rats. We encourage feral cats into our farmlands and orchards to help rid us of those particular pests. The truth is much more devastating.

We think of invasive species as those living in an environment where they are not indigenous. We think of pythons running amok in the Florida Everglades. We think of certain species of carp, cane toads, and even rabbits as invasive. However, few species of animal have done as much ecological damage as has been done by domesticated cats each year.

If you have a cat, please consider keeping them indoors.

In a paper published on Tuesday in Nature Communications, the team compiled a database of more than 2,000 species that have fallen victim to free-ranging domestic cats. Nearly 350 of these species are of conservation concern, and several are already extinct. “We don’t really know of any other mammal that eats this many different species,” says the study’s lead author Christopher Lepczyk, an ecologist at Auburn University. “It’s almost like an indiscriminate eater; they’re eating whatever’s available.”

Cats Kill a Staggering Number of Species across the World | Scientific American