Highlights of the Study (in a nutshell!)
- There were 41 cats in the study and data collection started in May 1998 and ended
in June 1999.
- The owners of the cats lived in various areas of the city including apartment complexes, duplexes, trailer parks, and single-family dwellings. The habitat of the properties was very diverse and included small suburban lots, downtown areas, property near parks,property bordering farms and grassland, and large lots with lush vegetation and trees. All owners and their cat(s)resided within the city limits of Wichita.
- 83% of the study cats produced actual physical evidence
of a bird kill.
- Declawing has no effect on hunting. The top predator cat was
declawed. Seven of the cats in the study were declawed and
six of these produced evidence of a kill.
- Cats confined indoors at night still killed birds, but the data
suggest that night-time hunters may kill more birds.
- Predation and hunger are unrelated. All study cats were well-fed
and yet continued to hunt.
- Most of the study cats did not present prey to their owners.
- The cat owners in the study had little or inaccurate information about
their cat's activities (cats are very difficult to watch), as revealed by cat tracking using radio collars.
- Analysis of scat (fecal material) or "poop" (for you non-biologists)
revealed feathers when the owner was unaware a kill had been made.
- The protected bird species at highest risk in Wichita is the House Wren.
- The highest risk months for birds in Wichita are May and June (43%).
- Most of the birds taken in the study were adults (69%).
- The data suggest that neutering or spaying a cat does not curb hunting.
- Ground feeding and/or ground nesting birds appear to be at higher risk than
- The data suggest that the average urban cat in Wichita kills 4.2
birds per year. This is an extremely conservative estimate.
- 23 species of birds were killed by the study cats.
- 44% of cat owners in Wichita (according to a random phone survey)
said they were in favor of some sort of regulation. 69% of dog owners were
in favor of cat regulation. There are currently no regulations of any type (other
than a yearly rabies vaccine) in the city of Wichita, Kansas.
- The 1999-2000 American Pet Products Manufacturers Association's
Pet Owner Survey estimates there are 64 million pet cats in the
U.S. The number of feral/stray cats is not known.
The bottom line is...
| If each pet cat in the U.S. kills 4.2 birds per year, and assuming,
conservatively, that half of these cats never leave the house, at least
134 million birds die each year due to domestic pet house cats. |
Go back to the study page.