Cats, both pets and strays, may fool us into thinking that they depend on our food and trash for survival, but according to Alan Beck, professor of veterinary medicine and director of the Center for the Human-Animal Bond at Purdue University, they’re expert predators with adaptable hunting behaviors.
By killing mice and rats in barns and grain storage areas, cats are vital for keeping those pests in check. In India, Beck said, cats are believed to play a significant role in lessening the amount of grain loss caused by consumption or contamination by rodents. In other words, it may be true that humans feed cats, but without cats, humans would have less food in the first place.
So, how dramatically would the rodent population increase if cats suddenly vanished? A 1997 study in Great Britain found that the average house cat brought home more than 11 dead animals (including mice, birds, frogs and more) in the course of six months. That meant the 9 million cats of Britain were collectively killing close to 200 million wild specimens per year — not including all those they did not offer up to their owners. A study in New Zealand in 1979 found that, when cats were nearly eradicated from a small island, the local rat population quickly quadrupled.
And let’s not forget the emotional toll that a mass cat death would take on us humans: “In this country, cats are much loved by many.
Source: Yahoo News
Image: Paradoxoff Planet