I freely admit that I am a ‘cat person’. I absolutely adore felines. I love their innate passion, intellect, and self-sufficiency. As someone who’s had a number of outdoor cats, I’ve always wondered where he/she was traveling to on their jaunts around the neighborhood. I’d always wanted a camera to follow their catly exploits. Well, now someone has finally made my wish come true with a piece of futuristic video tech.
The Kitty Cam is a lightweight waterproof camera with built-in LEDs for night-time recording. It’s mounted on a collar that’s outfitted with a radio tracking device and mini-SD memory cards. How cool is that? The project, created by National Geographic and the University of Georgia, is giving insight into the private lives of cats. The results are surprising and a little horrific!
We can ponder the natural threats to free-roaming outdoor cats, but now we have evidence based on an average of 37 hours of recording (each) from about 60 predatory pets. The resultant footage was shot over 7 to 10 days within a variety of habitats and during all four seasons.
“We found that about 30 percent of the sampled cats were successful in capturing and killing prey, and that those cats averaged about one kill for every 17 hours outdoors.
It was also surprising to learn that cats only brought 23 percent of their kills back to a residence. We found that house cats will kill a wide variety of animals, including: lizards, voles, chipmunks, birds, frogs, and small snakes.”
I was shocked to hear that birds made up 13 percent of all kills. That means that our common house cats can be pretty vicious. Especially considering that they have access to free food and shelter in our homes! According to George Fenwick, president of American Bird Conservancy:
“If we extrapolate the results of this study across the country and include feral cats, we find that cats are likely killing more than four billion animals per year, including at least 500 million birds. Cat predation is one of the reasons why one in three American bird species are in decline.”
A few more facts gleaned from the study — broken down by what the cats did with their time:
• Crossing roads (45%)
• Encountering strange cats (25%)
• Eating and drinking substances away from home (25%)
• Exploring storm drain systems (20%)
• Entering crawlspaces where they could become trapped (20%)
All I can say is wow. It’s no wonder our cat, Maru, comes home with scrapes and cuts, and the occasional swollen face or paw. Maybe I should just keep her inside! It’s fun to see technology used to give insight into a world that we have yet to witness or fully understand.
Feel free to comment! We welcome open and honest discourse regarding any article. But, you better bring your A-game with some real perspective, if you want to spark a dialogue. Rude, mean-spirited comments will be deleted! Thanks for visiting and becoming a part of our community!