Smithsonian Study Reveals the Murderous Habits of Cats

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Fappy:
They are catching on to us... uh... well... I....

Catnip! It's catnip's fault! It is polluting the minds of young kittens everywhere and making them commit these atrocities!

:( It's true...
image

Anyway, I am with the Alley Cat Allies on this here. Make it so the ownerless cats can't make any more kittens, and then just let them be.

Cats are awesome, but the problem with them that we don't usually get with other animals is that they will kill even when they are fed, and not hungry. That said, the last time we got rid of a lot of cats, 1/3 of Europe died of the black death. Just saying, cats do these things for good reasons, but yes we don't need them to

:D Cats are still awesome!

Ed130:

Zombie_Moogle:

Simple: Because mice, rats, and various other vermin that are prodigious multipliers, incredibly destructive in high numbers, and famous for carrying diseases that can cross species barriers. A rat can chew through brick, concrete, even solid steel; when they do, they find food, make themselves at home, and start making babies (up to 24 babies per female every month. do the math)

Cats like very much to hunt such creatures & are very good at it.

It has been documented that increased euthanizing of stray cats is swiftly followed by an explosion in rodent populations

No, someone whose government utilises a multiple vector control plan that targets all pests and who have cleared out several offshore islands as well as some mainland sanctuaries of all invasive species.

Also if you bothered to read the entire article Zombie Moogle, it states that most of the cats hunting efforts catch natives instead of pests like rats and mice.

JonB:

Additionally, it appears that the majority of predation was on native species like shrews, chipmunks, and voles - not introduced pests like brown rats (Rattus norvegicus).

If you gave that statement a bit more thought, you might've realized that native rodents can be and often are just as destructive.
Ever been a roommate to a family of squirrels? Well let me tell you, native rodent species can destroy property same as any other
The breeding of animals is one of the oldest human traditions for a reason

Raggedstar:
As someone who owns a cat that has repeatedly tortured mice and rats, I agree that cats are vicious little bastards. Once I found my cat sitting by a beheaded mouse, looking very accomplished with himself.

I prefer dogs, but they can be similarly vicious. My old dog once triumphantly came prancing up to me covered in blood as the mangled corpses of three possums lie scattered about the yard. I'd seen him play with animal corpses in the past. Perfectly lovable to humans and babies mind. I mean, there's a reason they make so many dog toys resemble the corpses of small critters.

That said, yeah, cats definitely win the battle of sadism overall.

Lieju:

redknightalex:
We could all just keep indoor cats instead. Overall I find the cats that stay inside are calmer than the ones that continually go outside. Then, if cats aren't going outside, you'd have a much lower level of songbird deaths. Easy solution.

Or only let the cat out on a leash.

I don't know why more people don't do this. I dunno about most cats, but our cat is fine with a lengthy leash. I can understand if you live in an apartment or area with limited space though.

I had a cat that depopulated a neighborhood. This is old news.

bigfatcarp93:

Zachary Amaranth:
This just in: Cats are murderous fiends.

Fixed for you.

OT: This further proves my lifelong assertion that cats do NOT make good pets. More like cult-leaders.

I will not stand for this! Attack, my kitten legions, attack!

...No! Stop rubbing agaisnt my legs!

Cats are vicious bastards, and always have been. My cat once beheaded a whole family of bunnies, no bodies just the heads. There natural killers, and if I were a small animal I would be scared shitless of cats.

Cats kill for play, cats kill for sport, and cats kill for pleasure. they are so human like it is creepy :P.

ted nugent love him or hate him has been on about this for years, happily shooting any cat he could on his land.

my thing is keep your cats indoors there is no reason to let them roam the neighborhood, its bad for the local wildlife, it is bad for their health with various worms, ticks, fights, cars, people that hate cats, out there that will shorten you cats lifespan.

"collisions with buildings."

Sorry, but that's 80% the bird's fault. It's not like there aren't cliffs and tall trees in nature that they can fly into as well.

But this is evolution baby, on the one hand species adapt to environmental pressures, on the other hand they will just go extinct and we'll only be left with Rattus rattus. Now that's a species that knows how to survive.

I'm no biologist, but I think the rat's secret is their aggression when attacked unlike so many other small animals that try to flee. Now fleeing may have a higher individual success rate, but the few times a cat has been chased away by a rat trying to gouge it's eyes out will make it afraid of ever trying to hunt another rat again. So cat's (and other predators) don't hunt rats.

I don't know why cats don't hunt rats. I certainly see enough of them along the river, but my Gran's cat, that little killer only hunts little water vowel like things. They certainly aren't rats.

makes sense they would go for native species first. introduced species especially rats have evolved in close contact with cats, rats especially are highly intelligent, enough to avoid alot of contact if they can

Oh. I've been rewarding my cats with treats when they catch things. After all, part of the reason they bring their catch back home is to show it off, and also because they think you'd want to eat it too. But all mine catch is the very occasional Sparrow, very small and adorable mice, and lizards. Once my cat brought home someone else's goldfish.

But the idea of keeping an animal renown for wandering around and being territorial inside a small home is ridiculous to me. Good thing we don't keep larger animals as pets, then.

Zombie_Moogle:

If you gave that statement a bit more thought, you might've realized that native rodents can be and often are just as destructive.
Ever been a roommate to a family of squirrels? Well let me tell you, native rodent species can destroy property same as any other
The breeding of animals is one of the oldest human traditions for a reason

I'll have to take your word for it, New Zealand doesn't have any native mammals (baring a bat species or two).

Dogs lose again

Ed130:

I'll have to take your word for it, New Zealand doesn't have any native mammals (baring a bat species or two).

You guys have Kiwis though, and they're kinda awesome :)

Zombie_Moogle:

Ed130:

I'll have to take your word for it, New Zealand doesn't have any native mammals (baring a bat species or two).

You guys have Kiwis though, and they're kinda awesome :)

Which is probably the reason why I find the re-release of strays to be so absurd.

The Oatmeal published similar findings a couple of months ago. Different figures from a different study, but the same conclusion: cats are evil little bastards who would murder you to death if you gave them the chance.

I can't tell if this is a joke article or not.

cats are taking over the world, one bird at a time.

But personally i believe that stray cat being left alone to starve is the inhumane thing to do. besides, they are cats, not humans, why "humane" is even a factor?

Another study of the pretty damn obvious. The most I've seen recently with regards to cat policy of late is a lot of shelters making would be owners sign an agreement that their cats will be indoor only cats. That would seem to be a step in the right direction. Anecdotaly I can say that it's had some impact as my parents cats (12 years old male and 14 year old female) are indoor/outdoor cats and have pretty much depopulated their property and the surrounding properties of small mammals while occasionally taking out a bird. My roommates cats are indoor only and much younger (3 year old brother and sister) than my parents cats while also being much shittier hunters having only taken out 1 of the 4 mice we've seen in the house (mouse traps have done more work than these cats).

Not claiming that the conclusion is necessarily false, and as evidenced by the comments in this thread most are already aware of the efficency with which felines hunt, but the study is just poor science all around.

They took previous studies, mostly small ones, with completely different conditions and controls and tried to normalize it for a larger population under more general condtions. They then made a lot of assumptions based on the number of animals, the frequency of their outdoor time, their activity time, etc. They then made some estimates and attached them to the previous assumptions and then finally ran the model.

If I was voting for journal admission, this wouldn't even make it past my first scan through for consideration. I would be hard pressed not to circular file this.

The study estimates that a median of 2.4 billion birds and 12.3 billion small mammals are killed each year by free-roaming pets and feral cats.

A margin that large sounds like guesswork to me. It's ten billion. TEN. BILLION. I'm not buying it, but I will say cat owners should have their pets spayed or neutered (as I have).

My cat's name was simply Thomas. Then he killed enough rodents on my farm to earn the surname Mousebane. Then he killed a goddamned cottontail (which are growing out of control because of the local idiots shooting cyotes) that was in the barn. Thump, crash, bang, screech, and he came out dragging the thing between his legs. His current title is Sir Thomas Baneclaw.

Zachary Amaranth:
This just in: Cats are adorable, murderous fiends.

And we love them because of that.

Cats really want to take over the world, they already conquered the hearts of humans.
Now only the physical part remains

(Addressing a cat in a disgustingly cutesy voice) Who's a vicious little killer? You are! Yes you are!

I live in a rural area, so I tend to get mice, and my house has them right now, we have to cats one who is big and clumsy (nicknamed Lumpy, but his real name is cowboy. He lays around the house in areas that are heavily used, and is quite like a giant lump)and has claws, the other is quite nimble but was de-clawed, (I call him Squeaky due to his squeaky voice) he was owned by my grandmother who de-clawed him. These two work in tandem with each other, it's quite interesting to watch them. Squeaky will catch them and keep the mouse there by toying with it until Lumpy shows up and usually finishes the job and kills it. These two have kept the mouse situation under control, and I'm glad that we have cats.

The study forgot to mention that all this behavior stems from playing too many violent vidya gamezzz.

They either must stop making these studies or else... my face would get stuck in a 'you don't say' expression for the rest of my life.

Siege_TF:

The study estimates that a median of 2.4 billion birds and 12.3 billion small mammals are killed each year by free-roaming pets and feral cats.

A margin that large sounds like guesswork to me. It's ten billion. TEN. BILLION. I'm not buying it

70 million free roaming cats(NJDOH)
50 million feral cats(humane society)
works out to 84 kills per cat per year
1-2 kills is not that far out there for a cat so there numbers are probably accurate

In other news, Cats might be carnivorous predators.

Seriously, though, don't malign cats for obliterating mice, birds, and other small herbivores. That's the reason we domesticated them in the first place. All of those things are bad for crops. Heck, rats and fleas were largely attributed to distributing The Black Death.

So next time somebody tells you how sad it is that cats can make such a major environmental impact on the local rodent population, show them this:

Good thing we've got cats around to kill off species of animals whose survival strategy is to breed uncontrollably up to the maximum of available food, otherwise some kind-hearted humans would have to learn to do it the hard way.

Er....cats(and dogs for that matter) are a bundle of tightly wound instincts play is nothing more than honing the ability to stalk and capture preyl. Even if some or incapable of it..... killing... not so much mostly the stalking and capturing bits ...

I once had a dog that killed every rabbit and small mammal in our backyard. It was about a half acre of land with nothing alive. I'd say that most domestic animals that hunt can be a problem. They have an unnaturally high population because people like them.

...that's why I have a cat. Keeps the rodent population down in the vicinity of my house. Also, I like to have swatting wars with him... keeps my hands and his paws fast and accurate.

I imagine feral cats could be a problem in cities, though. Thankfully I don't live in one.

pft like i didnt know this before

my cat is a whirlwind of death and blood to such an extent that when i give him baths the water turns red, the cat singlehandedly has killed everything in my neighborhood.

Moonlight Butterfly:

CrossLOPER:

redknightalex:
We could all just keep indoor cats instead.

I think I read in the BBC version of the article that all you have to do is fit your cat with a collar with jingly bells; it greatly diminishes their ability to hunt effectively. Also, you are always aware of where your cat is.

Also, the guy who said that dogs aren't territorial has never owned a German Shepherd before.

Moonlight Butterfly:
Nothing is going extinct so I don't see the problem. Unless everyone wants a sudden and massive increase in disease carrying vermin No? Okay then.

Also for every cat I have had that's been a super hunter I have had a cat who couldn't find it's butt with it's paws.

The problem is that they are hunting animals like birds as well, many species of which are on the decline. Also, many predatory birds rely on rodents, so they are diminishing their food supply. Again, these animals are endangered.

If there was a huge increase in cats you might have had a point but there isn't, numbers of both predator, prey and related species have been consistent in number.

Therefore it isn't a problem.

Cats have as much right to live as anything else.

Also they take their own collars off, which is a pain :p

The number of animals they kill is in the billions, and more people means more people owning cats. Your cat isn't going to starve to death if it isn't allowed to hunt wildlife. Food is the responsibility of the owner.

Personally, I have had to modify my ponds and gardens on my property because domestic cats have been killing my fish and hunting birds. They also find shelter in inappropriate areas on my house and harass my dog by sitting behind windows outside. They have also knocked down potted plants when they panic when I investigate noise at night. I've also seen cats approach children only to end up scratching them when the children either did something it didn't like for whatever reason or the cat just got bored.

My dog can also slip his collar off. I had to modify it to prevent him from doing so, while maintaining comfort.

CrossLOPER:
snip

Dude no one 'allows' them to hunt and I feed my cats plenty. My point was the the number of cats are not going up in massive amounts. So suddenly saying out of nowhere that it's a major problem is a bit odd.

Children need to learn to not pester strange animals, it's not the cats fault. Also you can pretty much rely on a dog person to be annoyed about cat behaviour :p

Excerpt from the RSPCA site

Despite the large numbers of birds killed, there is no scientific evidence that predation by cats in gardens is having any impact on bird populations UK-wide. This may be surprising, but many millions of birds die naturally every year, mainly through starvation, disease, or other forms of predation. There is evidence that cats tend to take weak or sickly birds.

It is likely that most of the birds killed by cats would have died anyway from other causes before the next breeding season

We also know that of the millions of baby birds hatched each year, most will die before they reach breeding age. This is also quite natural, and each pair needs only to rear two young that survive to breeding age to replace themselves and maintain the population.

It is likely that most of the birds killed by cats would have died anyway from other causes before the next breeding season, so cats are unlikely to have a major impact on populations. If their predation was additional to these other causes of mortality, this might have a serious impact on bird populations.

Those bird species that have undergone the most serious population declines in the UK (such as skylarks, tree sparrows and corn buntings) rarely encounter cats, so cats cannot be causing their declines. Research shows that these declines are usually caused by habitat change or loss, particularly on farmland.

Moonlight Butterfly:

CrossLOPER:
snip

Dude no one 'allows' them to hunt and I feed my cats plenty. My point was the the number of cats are not going up in massive amounts. So suddenly saying out of nowhere that it's a major problem is a bit odd.

Children need to learn to not pester strange animals, it's not the cats fault. Also you can pretty much rely on a dog person to be annoyed about cat behaviour :p

Excerpt from the RSPCA site

Despite the large numbers of birds killed, there is no scientific evidence that predation by cats in gardens is having any impact on bird populations UK-wide. This may be surprising, but many millions of birds die naturally every year, mainly through starvation, disease, or other forms of predation. There is evidence that cats tend to take weak or sickly birds.

It is likely that most of the birds killed by cats would have died anyway from other causes before the next breeding season

We also know that of the millions of baby birds hatched each year, most will die before they reach breeding age. This is also quite natural, and each pair needs only to rear two young that survive to breeding age to replace themselves and maintain the population.

It is likely that most of the birds killed by cats would have died anyway from other causes before the next breeding season, so cats are unlikely to have a major impact on populations. If their predation was additional to these other causes of mortality, this might have a serious impact on bird populations.

Those bird species that have undergone the most serious population declines in the UK (such as skylarks, tree sparrows and corn buntings) rarely encounter cats, so cats cannot be causing their declines. Research shows that these declines are usually caused by habitat change or loss, particularly on farmland.

Yes. You can always rely on children to avoid touching cute furry things that seem really friendly. They're dumb that way. Still, I don't support and surgical alterations to the cat.

Also, how silly of me to be offended when someone's pet runs around my property causing damage.

In any case, I don't mind cats being able to run about that much. Feral cats are the main issue anyway.

http://www.nature.com/ncomms/journal/v4/n1/full/ncomms2380.html

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