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Your Cat’s Killer Instincts

House Cats
Science News by NewsLook

You’re closer to a natural-born killer than you think. Common house cats are actually fierce feline hunters responsible for killing over a billion small mammals and birds each year. Could this cuddly species with a taste for the wild life spark an ecological disaster? Wild Chronicles follows conservationists working to control the feral cat population by calling on CrittercamŽ to find out how a game of cat and mouse really plays out. Photo Credit: Jennifer Barnard via Flickr.

Read more: Behavior & Communication, Cats, Nature, Nature & Wildlife, Pets, Videos, Videos, Videos, Wildlife, , , ,

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Chris from NewsLook

Chris is the Managing Editor at NewsLook, an interactive news service providing premium video content from more than 50 international sources.

109 comments

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3:17AM PST on Mar 2, 2013

Thank you

5:39PM PST on Mar 1, 2013

Thanks

5:26PM PST on Mar 1, 2013

The species known as ‘felids’ (which includes domestic cats, lions, tigers, cougars etc) evolved from a common ancestor 10–15 million years ago.

Domestic cats as a sub species share a common ancestor that probably lived around 6–7 million years ago in Asia. Archeologists estimate that humans which closely resemble us today, have been on the earth for about 200,000 years. In this time I wonder how many we have killed in comparison with other predators (including those we have driven to extinction) compared to the total taken by cats in the time they have been on earth?

4:44PM PST on Mar 1, 2013

I am always wary of articles that focus on the killing instincts of non-human species. The danger is it can lead to the further demonisation of creatures that are already persecuted by members of our ‘dominant’ species.

Most non-humans kill for a very good reason. With cats, they have to hunt prey (unless they live with people) as they are obligate carnivores. Their bodies cannot manufacture essential nutrients (such as taurine) other than obtain it from flesh. Even those who are fed by humans still retain the instinct to hunt. Most humans on the other hand hunt by choice (there are exceptions, such as those with no choice other than to eat meat or fish (Arctic Circle / desert areas etc.).

The number of prey taken by both feral and domestic cats pales into insignificance against the horrifying statistics of the animals slaughtered by the human population of this planet. More Than 150 Billion Animals are slaughtered every year by humans.

4:02PM PST on Mar 1, 2013

I WANT my cats to be mousers

7:03AM PDT on Apr 12, 2012

thanks for sharing

1:07PM PDT on Apr 6, 2012

This is just plain junk.House cats are small and they only kill because their hungry and we humans taught them to.If you don't want to have your cat hunting,just teach them not to!Keep them indoors!

11:18AM PDT on Mar 27, 2012

Peter Wolf writes a very good blog called Vox Felina in which he disassembles the poor science behind these claims that cats are so detrimental to wildlife ("billions" of birds per year, etc.). Please read it. voxfelina.com - Humans are SIGNIFICANTLY more harmful to every other species on the planet than cats and yet we don't seem to want to talk about controlling our population. We -- and all the other species -- are going to suffer for that.

8:57PM PDT on Mar 25, 2012

This is just the continuing vilification of the feline species, usually perpetrated by cat-haters. It's a legacy of the old days of the witch craze where the superstitious believed that cats did the work of their invisible evil monster they call 'Satan'. Ludicrous!

8:48PM PDT on Mar 25, 2012

Compare this to the number of sentient beings that humans kill on a daily basis. Don't forget the millions that are forced into slaughterhouses and those killed on roads or for 'hunting', or worse, for trophies. Oh and the millions killed for KFC etc.

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