The Threat of Cats to Birds (5 Statistics): To save birds, should we kill off cats?


1. Every year, cats kill over 2.4 billion birds.

Every year, outdoor cats in the US kill over 2.4 billion birds. As a result, domestic cat predation is North America's top hazard to birds caused by humans. This collection includes both domestic and stray cats.

2. One of the worst non-native invasive species in the world is domestic cats.

How many animals are killed by cats each year? Free-range domestic cats are one of the top 100 worst non-native invasive animals in the world because they are widespread and have caused several wildlife extinctions on islands. According to estimates, cats kill between 6.3 and 22.3 billion animals and 1.3 to 4 billion birds per year in the US. The majority of this death is caused by stray, feral cats.

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3. 33 extinctions worldwide are attributed to outdoor cats.

Cats disturb the ecology and are non-native to many places. Even when well-fed, outdoor cats prey on birds and other creatures, and it is thought that they are responsible for 33 global extinctions. 120 islands with a disproportionate amount of terrestrial biodiversity and at least 175 vertebrates, 123 of which are birds, have documented the effects of feral cats. The majority of endemic species are at risk from feral cats, who are also to blame for at least 14% of all worldwide extinctions.

4. 800 different bird species exist in the US, and around a third of them are endangered, threatened, or declining.

A third of the 800 different bird species found in the US are endangered, threatened, or declining. Cats are not the only culprit; habitat loss, illness, and pollution are also factors. However, cats do provide a hazard to threatened species.

5. Threatened species that include the piping plover, the Hawaiian petrel, and the Hawaiian goose include cats.

Cats are responsible for the 63 species that have already gone extinct, and they still represent a threat to critically endangered species like the piping plover. Cats have threatened endangered island species like the Hawaiian petrel and the Hawaiian goose since being introduced to the Hawaiian Islands in the 1700s.

Domestic Cats as Housepets (3 Statistics)

6. 86 million cats are owned by Americans.

Roughly 86 million cats are owned by Americans, or about one cat for every three families. According to statistics, cats are more frequently kept as pets than dogs. Additionally, the average number of cats in families with cats was two.

7. About 65% to 75% of pet cats are only allowed inside.

About two-thirds to three-fourths of people polled who live in households with cats claimed that their pets only spend time indoors. Even though these cats have the potential to hunt and kill animals, if they stay indoors, they pose no harm.

8. Outdoor cats make up between 25% and 35% of pet cats.

A quarter to a third of pet cats are wholly or partially outdoor cats that prey on birds and other animals. Although cats are natural predators and frequently used on farms to eliminate pests, they don't distinguish between undesirable animals and valuable species.

Stray and Feral Cats (4 Statistics)

9. Two animals are typically killed by a home cat per week.

How many birds does a typical cat kill each year? The typical indoor cat who has access to the outside kills two creatures every week, which might be birds or other animals. According to these figures, bringing these cats inside might save between 40 and 54 million birds.

10. Three times as many animals are killed by wild and stray cats as opposed to indoor pets.

Feral and stray cats kill three times as many animals as their indoor counterparts, endangering nature more seriously. Stray and feral cats are usually outside and have plenty of opportunities to hunt and kill animals, regardless of whether they were abandoned previous pets or were born wild. While stray cats frequently receive attention from neighbors, feral cats seldom interact with people, which helps their population spread.

11. Between 30 and 80 million cats are said to be stray or wild.

Because they are secretive by nature, feral cats are hard to count precisely. The number of stray and feral cats in the US is estimated by conservationists to be between 30 and 40 million, although some experts place the figure closer to 80 million. This is due to ineffective population control efforts, intact animals, and cats' propensity for rapid and frequent reproduction.

12. Over 1.4 million cats are put to death in US animal shelters every year.

In the US, around 920,000 animals are put to death each year, 530,000 of which are cats. These figures dropped from 2.6 million in 2011, which can be attributed to increased adoptions and more successfully reunited pets with their owners.

Frequently Asked Questions About How Many Birds Cats Kill Every Year

Should Cats be Murdered to Save the Birds?

Cat lovers and animal rights activists grew enraged and furious after learning how many birds are killed by cats each year. Despite how much we may love our pets, cats are invasive species and predators, therefore the debate of whether they should be exterminated in order to protect bird populations arose.

More than only endangering birds, feral cats pose a hazard to human safety and are overpopulated. However, there are humane ways to manage feral cat populations, including trap-neuter-release programs that sterilize feral cats before releasing them back into the wild. Animal rights groups like PETA ethically oppose this method, but the alternative is to euthanize cats in shelters, expose them to environmental dangers, and put them at risk for ecological concerns.

What other dangers may cats pose?

In addition to killing wildlife, cats can carry illness. Outside cats can spread toxoplasmosis, feline leukemia, plague, and rabies. The 2002 extinction of the Hawaiian crow may have been facilitated by this illness, which can spread to humans and other mammals.

Toxoplasma, a single-celled parasite that may cause discomfort, fever, headaches, and even changes in dopamine levels that set off illnesses like schizophrenia, is found in cat feces. Humans can get toxoplasma through eating undercooked meat, drinking contaminated water, or coming into touch with cat feces. Toxoplasma is also present in humans, however it usually only affects those with weakened immune systems.

Are feral cats helpful in the fight against pests?

Feral cats and other wild predators aren't always terrible. Methicillin-resistant staph aureus (MRSA), antibiotic-resistant E. coli, and C. diff. are just a few of the illnesses that wild rats can spread. Rats and cats can work together to eradicate pests since both animals are active at night. Cats have been employed to catch rats on farms and ships throughout history. To manage numbers and reduce the threats to the public health, a number of cutting-edge cage-free shelter projects are introducing feral cat populations to regions with rodent issues.


The data proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that cats, a non-native animal, represent a major danger to local ecosystems, wildlife, and bird populations. Due to cats' inherent propensity for hunting and predation, people who introduced them to new environments as well as careless cat owners who neglected to neuter or spay their pets bear some of the blame. Controlling feral cat numbers and deciding to only keep cats as indoor pets are the first steps in reducing the threat of birds to cats.

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