November 30, 2020

Mind that cat – and its impact on wildlife

By haziqbinarif

Cats were famously described as the “sociopaths of the pet world” in Jonathan Franzen’s novel, Freedom. The US author – a devoted birdwatcher – has drawn the fury of cat-lovers over the years for saying the animal represents an “ecological catastrophe” because of the threat they pose to birds and other wildlife.

It’s no secret that these fluffy creatures are notorious for hunting: one report estimates that domestic cats kill at least 1.3 billion birds and 6.3 billion small mammals each year in the US. A study in Australia found that every pet cat kills about 75 animals per year.

Meanwhile, evidence is stacking up to show that birds are under huge threat, with many species in decline or disappearing – though cats are not the only reason for this, of course: the climate emergency is wreaking havoc with the migratory patterns of birds, for example, while other issues such as pollution and agriculture have had a huge impact on habitat loss.

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