Cats Continue Their Ongoing War Against Birds


Yet another study has been done investigating the shocking allegation that cats kill lots of birds:

“I think it will be impossible to deny the ongoing slaughter of wildlife by outdoor cats given the videotape documentation and the scientific credibility that this study brings,” said Michael Hutchins, Executive Director/CEO of The Wildlife Society.

Yes indeed, the slaughter of wildlife. But there’s not much new here. The investigators attached cameras to a bunch of cats and then counted how many critters they killed. The lead author calls the results “surprising,” and the press release from the American Bird Conservancy says the study shows that house cats kill “far more than the previous estimate of a billion birds and other animals each year.”

That might be true on the “other animals” front, but not on the bird front. A year ago the American Bird Conservancy estimated that cats killed 500 million birds per year. The new study says that cats kill….500 million birds per year. Last year I looked into this and concluded that this probably represents about 3% of all birds in the United States. There’s more to it than just that (cats might have a bigger impact on specific species in specific places, for example), and you can decide for yourself whether 3% is a lot or a little. Either way, though, this study doesn’t seem to change things much.

ALSO: Judicial notice is hereby taken that birds make up only 13% of total feline kills. But nobody seems to care much about the other 87%. Why is that? Apparently lizards, voles, chipmunks, birds, frogs, and small snakes don’t have a very strong lobbying presence.

MORE HARD-HITTING JOURNALISM

In 2014, before Donald Trump announced his run for president, we knew we had to do something different to address the fundamental challenge facing journalism: how hard-hitting reporting that can hold the powerful accountable can survive as the bottom falls out of the news business.

Being a nonprofit, we started planning The Moment for Mother Jones, a special campaign to raise $25 million for key investments to make Mother Jones the strongest watchdog it can be. Five years later, readers have stepped up and contributed an astonishing $23 million in gifts and future pledges. This is an incredible statement from the Mother Jones community in the face of huge threats—both economic and political—against the free press.

Read more about The Moment and see what we've been able to accomplish thanks to readers' incredible generosity so far, and please join them today. Your gift will be matched dollar for dollar, up to $500,000 total, during this critical moment for journalism.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.