8 species pushed to extinction by cats

Boris Johnson's cat Larry chasing a pigeon in London.

Larry, a 10 Downing Street cat, is chasing a pigeon.
Photo: Leon Neal (Getty Images)

It’s been thousands of years since the first cats were domesticated, but we still don’t seem to have much control over them. Many people let their cats come and go as they like, and they may forget – or don’t care – their domestic cats Billions of birds and mammals are killed every year. More than half of all pet cats in the United States spend time abroad, and animals around the world have contributed to the extinction of at least 33 species, According to the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

Feral cats may be the worst, but pets that are allowed to roam outside are also harmful to wildlife. The situation in Australia is so dire that officials have suggested killing about two million feral cats to stop their attack on the endangered species. In the United States, there are several programs that aim to reduce feral cat populations by catching, neutering and releasing them—but the Fish and Wildlife Service cautions that such programs do not actually protect domestic animals from cats.

Unfortunately, it’s already too late for dozens of genres, including Stephens Island wren (a songbird that does not fly), the Hilal Niletel Walabiand the wonderful desert bandicoot. Here, we highlight just a few of the many species that are currently threatened by outdoorsy cats.

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