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Cats in US kill billions of birds, mammals: Study

Published on Jan 30, 2013 6:13 AM
A woman holds her British shorthair cat as she waits in front of a judge during the Athens 21st International Cat Show January 27, 2013. -- PHOTO:  REUTERS

PARIS (AFP) - Domestic cats in the United States kill up to 3.7 billion birds and as many as 20.7 billion mice, voles and other small mammals each year, biologists estimated on Tuesday.

Puss is probably the biggest human-induced killer of these species, outstripping better-known culprits such as habitat loss, agricultural chemicals or hunting, they said in a study published in the journal Nature Communications.

A team led by Scott Loss at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Washington looked at published research into the predation habits of cats.

Cats that have outdoors access kill between 30 and 47 birds apiece in temperate parts of Europe and North America each year, and between 177 and 299 mammals, according to past investigations.

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