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Impact of free-ranging domestic cats on wildlife of the United States


An NSF-IGERT researcher at the University of Minnesota with other collaborators found that feral cats are probably the single greatest source of human-caused mortality for US birds and mammals. Other human-caused threats, such as collisions with man-made structures, vehicles, and poisoning cause kill many fewer birds and mammals. Free-ranging domestic cats in the United States kill 1.4–3.7 billion birds and 6.9–20.7 billion mammals annually. Un-owned cats, as opposed to owned pets, cause the majority of this mortality. Many birds and mammal species have become increasingly rare and cats may be one of the reasons for this contemporary silent spring. Scientifically sound conservation and policy intervention is needed to reduce this impact.

Address Goals

New research that was motivated by the methodologies learned by the first author in our IGERT.