Cats could be killing more wildlife than previously thought, according to a study which suggests the dead birds and rodents our pets leave on our doormats are just the tip of the iceberg.
While most domestic cats appear docile and seem to spend most of their time asleep, researchers found that about one in three regularly hunts prey, killing an average of two animals per week.
Many owners are accustomed to finding the occasional dead animal on their doorstep, but researchers found that these account for less than a quarter of cats’ overall tally.
Thirty per cent of the wildlife killed by domestic cats is eaten immediately, while forty nine per cent is simply left to rot where it died, the study showed.
The findings suggest that cats’ impact on wildlife is greater than previously imagined because prior studies have not accounted for the majority of kills that our pets do not bring home, researchers said.
Kerrie Anne Lloyd, of Georgia University, attached cameras to the collars of 60 domestic cats in Athens, Georgia, and monitored their daily movements for a week to ten days.