Contrary to myth, alley cats are hopeless at catching rats (feral feline community)


EXCERPT: Cats (Felis catus) are often released in New York in the belief that they will make a dent on the city’s centuries-old rat problem. However, a study of the two species in the mean streets of Gotham reviewed 306 videos of cat-rat interactions over a 79-day period and found that just two – yes, two – rodents lost their lives. In contrast, earlier research from the US suggests that feral cats are likely the single greatest source of anthropogenic mortality for US birds and mammals. In Australia, a 2017 review on cat predation on birds estimated that they consume up to a million native birds per day.

The latest study, from a team led by Michael Parsons of Fordham University in the US, acknowledges that cats are clearly efficient killers, but concludes that the low rat kill rate over nearly three months suggests they are avoiding them and opting for less challenging prey. [...] Parsons’ team [...] suggests that the practice of releasing cats to control rats has a deleterious effect on smaller creatures of the urban ecosystem. [...] “Until now, no one has provided good data on the number of city rats killed by cats,” says co-author Michael Deutsch, from the Arrow Exterminating Company. “But the data have been very clear as to the effect of cats on native wildlife.”


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