SURELY NOT MY CAT

Pet cats are wreaking havoc. New analysis from the CSIRO compiles the results of 66 different studies on pet cats to gauge the impact of Australia’s pet cat population on the country’s wildlife.

The results are staggering. On average, each roaming pet cat kills 186 reptiles, birds and mammals per year, most of them native to Australia. Collectively, that’s 4,440 to 8,100 animals per square kilometre per year for the area inhabited by pet cats.

Feral cats kill more than 3 billion animals a year. Pet cats kill 30- 50 times more animals per km2 around cities than feral cats do in the bush.

Cats have played a leading role in most of Australia’s 34 mammal extinctions since 1788, and are a big reason populations of at least 123 other threatened native species are dropping.

Many owners believe their animals don’t hunt because they never come across evidence of killed animals. But studies that used cat video tracking collars or scat analysis (checking what’s in the cat’s poo) have established many pet cats kill animals without bringing them home.

In Mandurah, WA, the disturbance and hunting of just one pet cat and one stray cat caused the total breeding failure of a colony of more than 100 pairs of fairy terns.

Most of us want to see native wildlife around towns and cities.

But such a vision is being compromised by this extraordinary level of predation, especially as the human population grows and our cities expand.

Many native animals don’t have high reproductive rates so they cannot survive this level of predation. The stakes are especially high for threatened wildlife in urban areas.

Pet cats living near areas with nature also hunt more, reducing the value of places that should be safe havens for wildlife.

Lock up your pet, it’s a killing machine.

This is an extract from an online article in The Conversation. If you would like to read more follow this link: https://theconversation.com/one-cat-one-year-110-nativeanimals-lock-up-your-pet-itsa-killing-machine-138412