Cats Continue Their Ongoing War Against Birds

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.


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.

IT'S NOT THAT WE'RE SCREWED WITHOUT TRUMP:

"It's that we're screwed with or without him if we can't show the public that what we do matters for the long term," writes Mother Jones CEO Monika Bauerlein as she kicks off our drive to raise $350,000 in donations from readers by July 17.

This is a big one for us. It's our first time asking for an outpouring of support since screams of FAKE NEWS and so much of what Trump stood for made everything we do so visceral. Like most newsrooms, we face incredibly hard budget realities, and it's unnerving needing to raise big money when traffic is down.

So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

payment methods

IT'S NOT THAT WE'RE SCREWED WITHOUT TRUMP:

"It's that we're screwed with or without him if we can't show the public that what we do matters for the long term," writes Mother Jones CEO Monika Bauerlein as she kicks off our drive to raise $350,000 in donations from readers by July 17.

This is a big one for us. So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly 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