Science Says: 30% of House Cats Moonlight as Ruthless Serial Killers

Cats in Georgia were discovered killing lizards, drinking mysterious substances and adopting second homes.

University of Georgia researchers recorded the behavior of 60 cats in Athens-Clarke County using small cameras attached to the pets' collars. (Photo: Kerrie Anne Loyd/University of Georgia)

Aug 8, 2012
Kelly Zhou has written on a variety of topics for TakePart, predominantly politics, education, and wildlife.

Turns out there's a good chance your fluffy pet cat is a repeat killer, according to a new study from researchers at the University of Georgia.

When researchers attached “kitty cams” to 60 felines in Athens-Clarke County, Georgia, they found that about 30 percent managed to capture and kill prey—an average of two animals a week.

MORE: Homeless Cats Go To Prison, Get Help From Convicts

The research showed that cats kill much more wildlife than previously thought, which may be because earlier studies didn’t consider animals that the cats ate or abandoned, said University of Georgia researcher and graduate student Kerrie Anne Loyd in the Los Angeles Times. Cats favored reptiles such as lizards and small snakes, followed by voles and chipmunks. (Watch a video of cat footage here.)

The researchers collaborated with the National Geographic CritterCam team for the cameras, recording cats’ behavior for 7-10 days, with each animal averaging 37 hours of footage.

Apparently, these felines enjoyed putting themselves in what the researchers termed “risk behavior.” Almost half of subject cats were witnessed crossing roads. Another 25 percent ate and drank substances away from home, risking ingesting chemicals.

Perhaps the best, most bizarre discovery from the kitty cams is that one in five cats explored the storm drain system or entered crawlspaces “where they could become trapped.” And four of the cats were recorded entering another household for food and affection, which may come as a surprise to their owners.

Interested in learning more? Check out the Kitty Cam Project here.

What do you think your cat is up to when you’re not around? Let us know in the comments.

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