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Cat hunting study: Special tags measure how often cats kill

By Gary Bogue
Wednesday, February 18th, 2009 at 7:28 am in Birds, Cats, Cats killing wildlife, Wildlife.

cat kills bird

My friend Pat Keeble in Martinez regularly reads many British newspapers. She also passes along some pretty interesting subjects as they come up. Like this one below. /Gary

Electronic tracking will test scientists’ theory that Britain’s 9 million feline pets slay 150 million animals a year.

Special tags to measure how often cats kill

By Robin McKie, science editor
The Observer, Sunday 15 February 2009

“Wildlife researchers have hired the services of some unusual helpers: 200 neighborhood cats equipped with electronic tags. The animals have been recruited in an attempt to discover how much wildlife destruction is wrought by feline pets.

“Some experts believe Britain’s 9 million cats could be killing more than 150 million birds, mice, rabbits, moles and other creatures every year. For species such as the house sparrow — whose numbers are dwindling sharply — cat predation could be a serious threat. Others, however, say cats mainly kill sick, weak or old creatures and are not a major problem.

“The Reading University project, led by Rebecca Dulieu, a biologist, has been set up to provide answers, using electronic tracking and computing analysis to monitor cat movements in unprecedented detail. ‘We know what cats do in our homes — they sleep,’ said Dulieu. ‘But we have virtually no idea of what they get up to outdoors, particularly at night. Now we can find out.’”

You can finish the rest of this interesting story here:

So what do you think? Is this study going to find out that cats are wiping out the wild bird population as well as many other wild mammal, reptile and amphibian species?

What do you think? /Gary

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4 Responses to “Cat hunting study: Special tags measure how often cats kill”

  1. Cheryl Says:

    You should ask Cooper if he ever gets caught in the act!

  2. Rosie Sorenson Says:

    One way to reduce the number of so-called feral cats is the TNR approach (trap-neuter-return.) I’ve used this approach with a colony of homeless cats I’ve cared for for thirteen years. I’ve just published a photo essay book about my experiences with them, They Had Me at Meow: For more info, please visit my website:

  3. Laurel Says:

    I don’t believe feral cats have a place in the ecosystem. Maybe the trap, neuter, release program will work, but how many years is it going to take? I don’t want feral cats in my country area killing the wildlife I am nurturing. Cats if kept as pets, need to be kept indoors, or let out into big cage type pens. Otherwise, they are killing birds and animals they do not need, it’s a killing spree at the cost of wildlife, there’s no purpose in it. I am not a cat lover. I am a bird lover and a dog lover.

  4. Susan Says:

    I have wonderful neighbors, but they let their 3 cats roam freely. Each time I tell them that one of their cats has killed another bird or lizard in my yard, their response is, “Oh, that’s too bad. But that’s what cats do.” These cats are not hungry and rarely eat their kills. I am so frustrated after watching the pointless destruction of another beautiful Anna’s hummer. I’ve taken down all my bird feeders because of these cats. Must I now trim back all of my flowering bushes so that my yard is inhospitable to my bird friends? How have other people dealt with this problem of neighborhood cats as predators in bird-friendly (nature friendly) yards.

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