Most people find cats to be cute and fluffy, but when we’re not looking, they’re behaving like downright terrorists around town. Many studies have determined that every year, cats are responsible for the deaths of billions of native animals.
A new study has shown just how much of an ecological catastrophe domestic cats represent and how they affect the destruction of the environment. That’s a true disaster when it comes to the ecology of the native fauna – so some scientists felt that more research was needed.
Our Fluffy Friends Are Out to Destroy
Studies so far show reliable data, but without knowing where the cats actually go, it was hard to tell what they were hunting or the impact of their actions. So, to tackle the problem, scientists conducted an experiment that involved placing trackers on some pet cats and following their actions.
Nine hundred and twenty-five felines in six different countries were tracked this way, yielding some very surprising results. Counter to scientists’ expectations, it turned out that the cats would barely even leave their home ranges. This also means that they were actually more deadly than anticipated.
Even the study’s first author, Roland Kays, was surprised to find out how much of an impact these creatures could have on the environment surrounding them.
Tracking the Habits of Domestic Cats
The researchers also founded the Cat Tracker project – recruiting volunteers willing to tag outdoor pet cats with special GPS loggers. Those would record that cats’ location and provide the needed data. Also, the owners filled out questionnaires regarding their cats’ hunting habits. Different felines from New Zealand, Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States were primarily included in the research.
The gathered data was used by the researchers to calculate the home range of each cat. Its recorded locations were then combined with data on other predators and local habitats. The results showed a clear picture of their activities and the negative impact they have on the environment.