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Cats Causing Extinction?

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Cats causing extinction ? You might never think of your cuddly cat as a killer but free roaming domestic cats are causing the extinction of other species at an alarming rate. To date 33 species worldwide have become extinct due to cat predation.

The Stephens Island Wren, one of only three flightless songbirds ever known was discovered by lighthouse keeper David Lyall only to be hunted to extinction by his pet cat and a number of others shortly after.

        Domestic cats kill other species at an
alarming rate. Many times out of sheer boredom.

The majority of mortalities are cause by unowned cats (including farm/barn cats, strays that are fed by humans. Additionally cats in subsidized colonies and cats that are completely feral). Domestic pet cats that have access to outside also pose a large threat. It’s estimated that free-ranging domestic cats kill 1.3–4.0 billion birds and 6.3–22.3 billion mammals annually.

Many owners don’t believe their cuddly kitty is a killer. A recent study from the University of Georgia attached cameras to 60 pets. They found almost half were active hunters. It also revealed them eating roadkill, lapping at sewer water and dodging cars. Yikes!

“Through the use of Kitty Cams, our research team measured cat predation on wildlife and quantified common factors threatening the health of owned free roaming cats.”

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Belling your cat can drastically reduce
the chances of kills, and they can still
enjoy the thrill of the hunt!

How can you help? The easiest way to minimize the impact your cat may be having on local wildlife is to put a bell on their collar. This simple act can give at risk prey a heads up that your cat is close. Keeping your cat inside at night can reduce kills by 50% not to mention spaying and neutering helps eliminate the possibility of your cat adding to the feral population.  These efforts will also keep your cat safe from infectious diseases carried by many wildlife.

To take it a step further, trap, spay/neuter, bell and release neighborhood feral cats. Every little bit helps to minimize cats causing extinction and to preserve other important species inhabiting our world.

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