While we cat owners like to think of our cats as warm, cuddly lap-sitters, the fact remains that cats are natural born killers. Inside that cute exterior is a very skilled hunter. In fact, cats are famous for their mousing abilities. However, mice aren’t their only victims. Any small creature is fair game to a cat, and that includes birds.
Cats are not a natural part of the North American ecosystem. They arrived with humans, and have been wreaking havoc on the bird population ever since. This might not have been too much of a problem when the cat population was small, but those days are long gone. Today, there are an estimated at 75 million cats in the United States alone. Studies of cat poop (ewwww!) have shown that the average cat kills and eats at least one bird a week. That includes cats whose owners have never seen their cat with a bird and are convinced that their pet doesn’t hunt. The instinct to hunt is strong. The fact that the cat is well-fed will not prevent it from hunting. Wearing a bell will not prevent these crafty hunters from successfully catching prey.
If you do the math, you will see that the toll cats inflict on the bird population is astronomical. Six hundred cats will kill 600 birds a week. Over a 10 week breeding period, those 600 cats will kill 6000 birds. Those figures are for house cats. Consider that half the cat population consists of free-roaming, homeless cats hunting for their livelihood. Cats kill millions and millions of songbirds every year. You can read more about cats and birds at the American Bird Conservancy site. Cat lovers and bird conservators agree. Cats belong indoors. The Great Outdoors is no place for a cat! For more on indoor cats, see Every Cat an Indoor Cat: Part One.