The Evil of the Outdoor Cat
Outdoor cats are bad for birds, lizards and small mammals. Roaming outdoors is not great for the cats, either.
ONCE upon a time I had a cat named Lucky, and the name fit. She turned up on our doorstep as a stray and stayed with us for 10 years, until her rather gruesome demise. (More about that later.) I liked her because she was a free spirit, and a survivor, going out for two, three, even five days, in all seasons. She’d show up when it suited her, waiting in the dark before dawn till I came downstairs and turned on my desk lamp. Then she’d make her presence known by rising up on her hind legs and gently scratching with her forepaws on my window.
Like a lot of other cat owners, I used to think that when Lucky went outside and, now and then, killed an animal, she was “just doing what’s natural” for a cat. I was aware that cats have caused or contributed to the extinction of 33 species. But all of those species were living on islands and many had likely never seen a predator before early navigators introduced cats. The mainland nature around me was savvier than that, I figured, and had the scale to handle incidental killings by a few house cats.
But that is no longer true, if it ever was. …
Using deliberately conservative assumptions, federal researchers recently estimated that free-ranging cats killed about 2.4 billion birds annually in the Lower 48 states, a substantial bite out of the total bird population. Outdoor cats also kill about 12.3 billion small mammals a year — not just the proverbial rats and mice but also chipmunks, rabbits and squirrels — and about 650 million reptiles and amphibians. In some cases, they are pushing endangered species toward extinction.
Read the whole article here: The Evil of the Outdoor Cat