Everyone is taking particular interest in the environment and our ecology at the moment. We need to make sure that cats are too, as it's estimated they kill one million birds every week in the UK.
Mark Fellowes, a professor of ecology at the University of Reading, and his team calculated that domestic cats in the UK were killing about 185m prey items a year. “About a million birds a week,” he says. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature says that domestic cats rank third globally among alien species threatening vertebrates.
It is hard to know whether they are currently contributing to species decline in the UK; they may have done their worst long ago. Either way, they are certainly killing a lot of animals and not even eating them. (If you think your cat is an exception, be aware that studies have found that cats bring home only about 20% to 30% of their prey.)
Keeping cats indoors as much as possible is recommended, especially at peak hunting times (dawn and dusk) and if you live near a nature reserve. Also, putting warning bells on collars, says Fellowes, “certainly reduces predation rates”.