Tabby is a terrorist! USA Today reports on the surprising findings of a recent study:

Cats that live in the wild or indoor pets allowed to roam outdoors kill from 1.4 billion to as many as 3.7 billion birds in the continental U.S. each year, says a new study that escalates a decades-old debate over the feline threat to native animals. The estimates are much higher than the hundreds of millions of annual bird deaths previously attributed to cats. The study also says that from 6.9 billion to as many as 20.7 billion mammals — mainly mice, shrews, rabbits and voles — are killed by cats annually in the contiguous 48 states. The report is scheduled to be published Tuesday in Nature Communications. “I was stunned,” said ornithologist Peter Marra of the Smithsonian’s Conservation Biology Institute. He and Smithsonian colleague Scott Loss, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist Tom Will conducted the study.

South Dakota Deer 09 214What can be done? If you are a cat parent in an urban environment, keep the feline in the house or restrain its movements. My cat is terrified of rabbits ever since the day I caught it catching one. Barn cats are supposed to be predators, yet as the mice populations decrease and cats explode in numbers, felines become feral and soon turn to rabbits, quail, and other easy prey. Conservation groups go to great lengths to control feral predator introductions and house cats should be no exception. For more insight into this report, read Field and Stream‘s take on the recent study.