Domestic cats are often well fed. However, most pet owners are still amused as why their cats kill rodents, birds and still do not eat them. The reason is, unlike other predators, the cat’s desire to hunt is not to eat its prey.
They hunt it because they have an inborn hunting instinct in them. This instinct is so strong that they continue to hunt the preys around them. Nevertheless, this habit of hunting had severe impact on some species.
In some places, the impact of hunting is such that it has lead to extinction of several species. Thus, hunting has considerably reduced the counts of small birds, reptiles, amphibians, mammals, thereby threatening the census of wild life.
Apart from this, domestic cats are troubling the native predators too, for example predators such as hawks, weasels, fox, do not find enough food for their survival. As a result, the existence of these species is in danger too.
Alarming Decrease In Most Species:
Cats are carnivorous animals. Studies depict that feeding habits of most domestic cats include mainly household foods such as fish and meat products. In addition, these cats hunt 70% of small mammals and 20% of birds to gratify their hunger. Studies also depict that domestic cats kill nearly 1000 animals each year. Cats in small towns kill an average of 14 birds each year.
Rural domestic cats kill more animals than urban cats. Researchers say that rural cats in Wisconsin kill around 8 to 17 million birds every year. The more accurate data state that cats kill around 39 million birds annually. In addition, nationwide, rural cats kill around billions of small mammals and millions of birds.
Moreover, urban felines and suburban felines are also adding to this count. Some cats kill house mice, rodents and other pests but most killed are songbirds, which are already under the threat of extinction due to other factors such as destruction of natural habitat and pollution.
Cats have contributed to the extinction of population of species such as least terans birds, Piping Plovers, Loggerhead Shrikes and starlings in the U.S. The situation is no different in other continent such as Australia, where species of birds such as blackbirds, mynah, parrot, galahs, and crimson rosellas are on the verge of extinction.
In Florida, cats have hunted many birds such as Shrikes, pigeons and other native birds, due to which they are one the verge of extinction. In addition, the existence of Marsh rabbits, American gold finch and hens, and other small mammals are also in danger.
Feral cats have hunted many endangered species such as Malas, which were recovered successfully by the wildlife authorities.
Steps To Prevent The Impact Of Hunting:
Try to keep the cats indoors. Confinement reduces unwanted reproduction and predation of life. Tie bell belts in their necks because whenever cats stalk prey, it will alarm the prey and prevent unwarranted hunting.
Declawing is also another important step, which pet owners may consider. It will reduce the intensity of hunting among domesticated cats. Thus, although, hunting is a very natural ability of cats, it has significantly increased the mortality of the birds.