Some people prefer to keep their cats indoors, while others are happy to let their pets explore the surrounding area. Which is the better option is s subject that is often debated among cat owners. On the one hand, cats are naturally outdoor animals, so allowing them to explore the outdoors is only enabling them to live as naturally as possible. On the other hand, some cat owners feel that their cat is safer if it is kept indoors. For example, it does not run the risk of a road traffic accident. Often, the decision of a cat owner is based on the area in which they live. Those who live in houses in the countryside are often happy for their cat to explore the local fields. Cat owners who live in urban areas may sometimes have concerns about the busy roads, thus leading them to keep their cats indoors.
If you are a cat owner that allows their cat outdoors, you will probably have wondered what they get up to in their adventures in the local. This was once something that remained a mystery to most cat owners. However, the invention of GPS technology means that is now possible to track the activity of cats, and this has been surprisingly revealing. It turns out that letting your cat outdoors has more consequences than we thought. Recent studies have surprised even those who have been involved in the research. While it is likely that your cat will have a wonderful time exploring the local area, it is likely that the local wildlife is less than thrilled as your cat goes for its daily prowl. According to Inverse, there are studies that show that cats kill approximately ten times more wildlife than comparable predators.
In the past, there has been a lot of research into the impact of cats on wildlife. The results of various studies show that cats kill somewhere between one and four billion birds every year. Cats also kill an estimated 22 billion mammals per year. Researchers have since become interested in further exploring how cats cause this level of carnage and where cats are killing the wildlife. To find out this information, the researchers used GPS tracking on cats in six countries. Some of these countries include the United States, the UK, New Zealand, and Australia. Included in the study were 925 pet cats that were fitted with a GPS backpack. This allowed the researchers to collect data not only on how many animals they hunted down but also how far they roamed.
The most surprising finding from the study was that domestic cats kill somewhere between two and ten times more wildlife than native predators; a finding that shocked the researchers. The findings were published in the Animal Conservation journal. This study also revealed that the high kill rate is all about where domestic cats hunt for their prey. It was discovered that the hunting ground of domestic cats was very concentrated. This is because their diet is supplemented by cat food, so they eat fewer animals than wild animals. Therefore, they stick to the areas close to their home and kill to fulfill their natural hunting instinct rather than for food. Roland Kays is a professor at North Carolina State University and the leading author of the study. According to Kays, domestic cats have a large impact on prey populations, but this is localized to the areas in which they live. He proved this using a video that accompanied the study.
Kays also noted that there were significant differences in the hunting styles and kill rates of individual cats. While some took a playful approach to hunting, and only killed around four prey a month, the more ambitious hunting cats were sometimes killing as many as 11 preys per night. The professor also compared the kill rates of domestic cats to those of wild jungle cats. Cats living in the jungle can kill as many as 400 mice each month. While this may seem like a significant number compared to domestic cats, the area that jungle cats cover should be taken into account. While a domestic cat typically covers an area of around 3.6 hectares, a jungle cat hunts over 605 hectares. When the area is considered, domestic cats actually do significantly more damage than jungle cats.
Another point to consider is that jungle cats tend to live far apart, while domestic cats live in close proximity to many other domestic cats, in most cases. This means that they have a collective power that jungle cats do not have. When this figure is considered, the statistics show that domestic cats have a collective killing power that is between four and ten times more deadly than their wild relatives. This would seem to add to the argument that some cat owners make that it is better to keep cats indoors. Doing so would certainly help the wildlife population in areas that are highly populated by domestic cats.
However, there is also the argument that this is natural behavior for felines. With this in mind, is it right for humans to decide that it is better to keep them indoors to prevent them from killing other wildlife? There are many cat owners that prefer to let their cat behave like a cat. Another group that is weighing in on this argument is those working for conservation organizations and projects. They would argue that it is the responsibility of cat owners to keep their pets indoors for the sake of protecting the local wildlife. This is clearly a controversial issue with people offering different arguments. It is unlikely that the different groups will ever agree. However, it remains an interesting subject to study, and further research into the behavior of cats, while they are outdoors, is ongoing. It is possible that further revelations about cat behavior may come to light as a result of these ongoing studies.