Kittycam reveals domestic cats' secret double-life as America's killing machines


Cats eye view: A small camera attached to the collars of 60 cats in Athens, Georgia revealed the secret life of house cats, a rooftop's shingles seen here, while roaming outside

Think you know what your cat does when you're not around?
Cameras attached to the collars of 60 outdoor house cats have revealed what researchers are calling a previously unknown double-life as America's secret killing machines.
Researchers at the University of Georgia say the footage taken from cats allowed to prowl around Athens, Georgia revealed that 30 per cent killed an average of two animals a week.
The findings are described as astonishing by the researchers, as well as environmental activists, who say they're far beyond the figures previously believed.

Close encounters: The 3 ounce cameras attached to breakaway collars showed the cats' adventures that for this cat included meeting a opossum

Fellow tester: The tiny cameras were waterproof and capable of night vision, seen here during a cat's meetup with a fellow kittycam wearer

'The previous estimates were probably too conservative because they didn't include the animals that cats ate or left behind,' UGA researcher Kerrie Anne Loyd told USA Today.
Instead the 3 ounce cameras - designed by National Geographic to be waterproof with LED night vision and radio trackers should they fall off - found that 30 per cent of cats ate their catch while the majority at 49 per cent left the carcasses to rot.

Accessorizing: A cat wearing one of the dubbed kitty cams is photographed while outside prowling

Just 21 per cent brought their kill home to their owners.
'Most of them left their prey. They would capture their prey, maybe play with it for a minute and then leave it close to the site of capture,' Ms Loyd told WXIA.

Friends: One cat returned an extremely-close encounter with this dog, with no cat-dog injuries reported from the researchers at the University of Georgia

The kinds of creatures killed were largely made up of lizards, snakes and frogs at 41 per cent while mammals such as chipmunks and voles made up 25 per cent.
Insects and worms made up 20 per cent of their kills while 12 per cent were birds.
Despite birds making up only 12 per cent, with an estimated house cat population of 74 million across the U.S., conservationists link the kills to the decline in many American birds.
'Cat predation is one of the reasons why one in three American bird species are in decline,' George Fenwick, the president of American Bird Conservancy told USA Today.
With their surprising number of kills, the report also revealed a dare-devil side to the frisky felines.
'I knew that Booker T's favourite place was down in the storm sewer,' Amy Watts who owns three cats in Athens told WXIA, 'and now I know what the storm sewer looks like.'

Fellow feline: The research was conducted in order to better understand cats' relationship with its environment

Killings: Mammals like chipmunks and voles, one seen here hanging out a cat's mouth, consisted of 25 per cent of their total kills

Birds: While just 12 per cent of the animals killed by cats were reported as being birds, one pictured by a kittycam here, scientists say the deaths are why three American bird species are in decline

Reptiles: Lizards, snakes and frogs made up 41 per cent of the reported creatures killed by the cats, with a dark lizard spotted through the leaves here

Ms Watts, who volunteered her cats to the researchers' use, said she watched her cat’s camera footage take her virtually down there with him - creeping along the storm sewer's tight and dark tunnels, little to her comfort.
While 20 per cent of cats were found embarking on Booker T’s same love of storm drains, the most common deemed 'risky' behaviour by the cats, at 45 per cent, was crossing roadways.
Other less ideal behaviours to pet owners included 25 per cent of the cats eating and drinking things they found, and 20 per cent entering crawl spaces they could become trapped in.

Hen house: Footage also revealed sneaky behaviour like chasing chickens in a neighbour's hen house, while more dangerous activities like crawling in sewers and crossing roads

Adventurous: With the found dare-devil side to the felines, one seen wondering the woods here, male cats were found more likely to take risks and older cats more likely to be careful than younger ones

Secrets: Cat owner Amy Watts, seen outfitting one of her three cats here, said she was surprised to learn that her cat Archy often visited another family's home

source: dailymail