August 7, 2012
Domestic Cats Are Real Killers And We’ve Got Proof
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
I can see it in her eyes. Every morning after I wake up and sleepily stumble into my kitchen to pour myself a glass of water or grab some clean clothes from the dryer. After all, who folds clothes anymore?
As I make my way through the house, she lies in wait, crouched in pouncing posture, head poking through the living room blinds just so, keeping an eye out for the squirrels which enjoy a daily breakfast at the dried corn feeder my wife and I placed on our front porch. Sure, there´s a sliding glass door separating her from living in all of her primeval and powerful glory, but it doesn´t do anything to lessen the intense stare in her eyes. On the surface, she´s just a basic, tame house cat, but in her heart, she´s a well-trained killing machine.
And she even plays fetch with my spent beer bottle caps.
Anyone who has ever owned a cat knows just how mysterious and perplexing these creatures can be. Anyone who has ever owned a cat which roams the outdoors knows these creatures can be cold blooded killers, laying their kill on your doorstep as either an offering of gratitude or a warning of your impending fate. One can never tell.
While their predatory nature might be well understood by their owners (or is it masters?), some University of Georgia researchers decided to attach cameras to some 60 or more pet cats as they roamed outdoors to see what happens when these creatures are allowed to tap into their primordial instincts.
“The results were certainly surprising, if not startling,” said Kerrie Anne Loyd, University of Georgia student and lead author of the KittyCam study, speaking to the Detroit Free Press.
“In Athens-Clarke County, (Ga.) we found that about 30% of the sampled cats were successful in capturing and killing prey, and that those cats averaged about one kill for every 17 hours outdoors or 2.1 kills per week. It was also surprising to learn that cats only brought 23% of their kills back to a residence. We found that house cats will kill a wide variety of animals, including: lizards, voles, chipmunks, birds, frogs, and small snakes.”
This means that, of all the deaths our cats are responsible for, we only know about less than a quarter of them. Truly frightening.
These UG students performed their research in association with the National Geographic Society´s “crittercam” program, which aims to display how other creatures see the world.
Cat owners volunteered their cats– some happily so no doubt– to wear these small, waterproof cameras to record their activity for 5 to 6 hours each day. All told, the UG researchers were able to capture up to 37 hours of on-the-prowl footage for each cat.
After watching the clips, the researchers concluded that birds made up 13% of these cats´ prey. This means that cats are likely responsible for the deaths of more than 1 billion birds and other animals each year.
And to think, we let them live in our house and buy specialty foods for them.
“If we extrapolate the results of this study across the country and include feral cats, we find that cats are likely killing more than 4 billion animals per year, including at least 500 million birds,” said Dr. George Fenwick, president for the Bird Conservancy, according to the Detroit Free Press.
In fact, cats kill so many birds per year, they´re causing the decline of some bird species.
Now that we´re on to them, it´s possible the cats could join forces and begin to turn their claws on their owners.
Again, this should come as no surprise to any cat owner, as they´ve long suspected it would only be a matter of time before their pets have their final say.
When asked for a comment, my cat looked at me as if annoyed, turned her back, hiked up one leg, and began to clean herself, assumedly getting ready for my demise.
I can see it in her eyes.
“He knows too much,” she thinks as she stares out the window.