Cats have strong hunting instincts. Feral cats rely on these instincts to catch enough food to keep them alive, and even well-fed, pet cats that are allowed outdoors can’t resist the temptation to pounce on little wild birds or mammals.
Species – Rabbits and squirrels, hummingbirds, robins, wrens, a Virginia Rail and even a Sharp-tailed Snake are among the many species of animals that have needed care at Wolf Hollow because they had been attacked by cats. Many were young animals that were less experienced and moved more slowly so were easy targets for hunting cats.
Numbers – If we look at our statistics for the past 10 years, Cat Attack accounts for 10-15% of the animals we receive and is in the top three causes of injury and orphaning every year. In the past decade we have treated over 800 animals that have been attacked by cats.
Injuries – Some animals have relatively minor injuries such as small punctures or scratches, which can be successfully treated with antibiotics and supportive care. But many arrive with broken wings or legs, large wounds or internal injuries and do not survive.
Bacteria – Cats have a range of bacteria on their teeth and claws, (including Pasteurella) so even a tiny puncture can lead to a small wild creature dying from infection. Any wild animal that is caught by a cat needs professional care asap., even if there are no obvious wounds.
Regional Impact – The 800 cat-caught animals Wolf Hollow has treated in the past decade represent just a tiny fraction of the wild creatures in our region that were actually caught by domestic cats, as many would have been delivered dead to the doorstep or never seen by people.
Bigger Picture – The number of wild creatures injured by cats just in our small area (two counties) gives you an idea of the huge impact domestic cats have on wildlife in the US and worldwide.
Follow these links to learn more about the effects of domestic cats on wildlife and what you can do to reduce the impact your cat has on local wild creatures.