Cats may look cute and cuddly but to birds and small mammals like mice, they’re ruthless killers who will kill again and again. When exterminating pests, cats can be useful. However, many cats wind up killing birds and other mammals, which has led to between 1.4 and 3.7 billion birds and between 6.9 and 20.7 billion mammals (mostly mice, shrews, rabbits, squirrels, and voles) killed each year, according to a study published last year in Nature Communications.

A single cat can kill between 100 and 200 mammals annually, meaning an estimated population of between 30 and 80 million un-owned cats would result in the death of 3 and 8 billion mammals. To spare the lives of other animals, it’s best to keep your cat inside and find toys to satisfy your cat’s hunting instinct. Only use cats to keep down pests like rats and mice. When used properly, cats can benefit everyone.

To read more about how cats kill so many animals every year, click here.

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