Killer Cats: The Secret Life Of Housecats Caught On Tape

By Amir Khan on August 8, 2012 12:30 PM EDT

Cat
Do you ever wonder what your cat does when you let it outside? Researchers from the University of Georgia did, so they attached a lightweight camera to 60 cats from November 2010 to October 2011 in order to find out. (Photo: Creative Commons)

Do you ever wonder what your cat does when you let it outside? Researchers from the University of Georgia did, so they attached a lightweight camera to 60 cats from November 2010 to October 2011 in order to find out.

What the researchers found is that most cats are, quite simply, cold blooded killers. Nearly 30 percent of cats killed two animals per week -- much more than previously estimated.

"The previous estimates were probably too conservative because they didn't include the animals that cats ate or left behind," Kerrie Anne Loyd, a researcher with the University of Georgia, told USA Today.

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Researchers found that cats only bring home a quarter of what they kill. They eat 30 percent and left 49 percent where they killed it.

The cats killed a variety of species, ranging from snakes and frogs to chipmunks and voles. Many cats killed birds as well, which is to blame for bird population declines, George Fenwick, president of American Bird Conservancy, told USA Today.

"Cat predation is one of the reasons why one in three American birds species are in decline," he said.

Researchers also found that while you may be attached to your cat, the feeling may not be mutual.

One of the most surprising things we witnessed was cats adopting a second set of owners," the researchers wrote on their website "Four of our project kitties were recorded entering another household for food and/or affection!"

Researchers attached small critter cams developed by National Geographic to the cats collars. While critter cams are frequently used by researchers, these were different -- not only were they smaller, but they shut off when the cat was not moving, meaning the researchers got more action shots.

"National Geographic has been making Critter Cams, cameras for wildlife, for years," Loyd told ABC News. "But they stepped it up a bit and made something that could record large amounts of video. It opens so many doors knowing that this kind of technology works."

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