Hunting Instincts in Cats – The Effect of Cats on Wildlife

Although cats retain their hunting instincts, there is no natural need for them to hunt. True predators in the wild only kill what they will eat, whereas a cat kills for play, not always eating what it catches. A well fed house cat doesn’t need to hunt to survive, yet house cats kill untold numbers of wild animals while being almost wholly unaffected by the natural controls on their numbers. One study in a small village in England found that house cats were responsible for between one third to one half of all house sparrow deaths in that village. This fact becomes even more alarming when you realize that birds were one of the less frequently caught specimens (small mammals led the list). Wild animals have enough problems surviving against the ever-encroaching human population without having to satisfy the hunting instincts of neighborhood felines. Responsible cat owners can fit the cat’s collar with a bell that jingles, provide their cat with toys to reduce boredom, and keep the cat in at night.

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