According to the U.S. Humane Society, one in three American households owns a pet cat. Whatever your opinion on them, by that statistic it’s clear that these pets are a prominent fixture in American homes. They’re entertaining, decent companions, and require less maintenance than dogs, but being natural hunters cats pose a risk to eco friendly living. House cats are responsible for killing millions of songbirds every year, a number large enough to put some species at risk of becoming endangered. This doesn’t mean people should stop buying or breeding cats, just that they remain vigilant to be aware of their pet’s dangerous habits.
Playful lions and cougars are often compared to housecats on nature documentaries, but the association works both ways. Though significantly smaller, housecats can be as proportionately ferocious. Even many of their biggest fans acknowledge the blood thirst that “tame” cats possess. The owners themselves are never in peril; it’s small animals that encounter these predatory instincts. That’s good for people with a mice problem, but owners who pursue eco friendly living have to watch their cats carefully during certain times of the year.
Songbirds, like all foul, migrate between northern and southern climates. It’s a long, hazardous journey, because housecats tend to prey on these flocks as they pass through every spring and fall. For a cat to kill one or two birds a year might seem insignificant, but when every one of the 86.4 cats in America kills birds, the problem becomes clear. This doesn’t mean cats need to be shipped off to a bird-less island or even kept inside all day. Owners who care about eco friendly living just need to know migratory patterns and keep their cats inside during those weeks. Scooping the litterbox a little more regularly is a small price to pay for conserving whole species of birds.