Joseph Stromburg at Vox covers findings that suggest cats are less emotionally attached to their owners
Are cats really selfish and emotionally distant from their owners? Even worse, could cats potentially be damaging to the environment:
Of course, dogs are likely a net negative for the environment too. There isn’t as much data available, but researchers note that dogs spread diseases (such as rabies) and also prey on various species, including many types of birds, as well.
But in terms of raw numbers, it seems unlikely they can match the impact of cats. A study published last year found that cats kill far higher numbers of songbirds and mammals than previously thought: somewhere between 1.4 and 3.7 billion birds, and 6.9 and 20.7 billion mammals annually. That study’s methods came under some criticism, and it seems likely the estimate is somewhat high, but it’s clear that the number of birds killed by cats is at least in the tens of millions — many of which are birds from endangered species.
The article continues to go into detail about the impact of cats on the local wildlife:
This isn’t just a trivial problem — it’s a truly significant one. The best data we have on birds killed by other sorts of threats, from the Fish and Wildlife Service, isn’t great (it’s a little old, and the estimates are rough), but a comparison indicates that cats kill as many birds as threats like collisions with cell phone towers, power lines, cars, and wind turbines.
Cat owners can do a few simple things to easily cut down on this threat. Research indicates that leaving cats inside at night, or tying a bell around their neck (so prey hear them coming) means they kill significantly fewer birds and mammals. But right now, few cat owners do this, whether because they want their pets to get the pleasure of killing, or out of sheer laziness.
Read more and let us know what you think in the comments.