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It’s official: Cats are killers

Think cats only hunt mice? Think again. A new study shows that free-roaming cats hunt and kill more than 80 native species, including blue jays, cottontail rabbits, southern flying squirrels, and even ducks. Researchers looked at 21,000 records from a hospital for wild animals and found that 14% of them had been injured by cat attacks. Of the injured animals, 80% of birds and 70% of mammals didn’t survive their injuries, the researchers write in the Journal of Wildlife Management. This study agitates the feud between conservationists, who fear free-roaming cats are devastating wildlife, and animal welfare groups that argue neutering feral cats is a better solution than removing them from the environment altogether. The researchers write that cats aren’t to blame, and they hope that both conservationists and animal welfare groups will collaborate to deal with the carnage free-roaming cats are leaving in their wake.

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