The cute, cuddly kitteh in your lap could be a ruthless killer. By attaching cameras to the collars of neighborhood cats, researchers with National Geographic and the University of Georgia have found that if your cat's an outside cat, there's a roughly one in three chance it's a rampaging slaughter-machine.
The L.A. Times' Thomas H. Maugh summarizes the researchers' findings:
The team found that about 30% of the cats killed prey, an average of two animals per week. The cats brought home nearly a quarter of the animals they killed, ate 30% and left 49% to rot where they died. About 41% of the prey were lizards, snakes and frogs; mammals such as chipmunks and voles accounted for 25%; and birds only 12%. The low percentage of birds may be because they can fly, but with an estimated 74 million cats in the country, the total carnage is high.
Emphasis mine, because holy crap, right?
Kitty carnage aside, the CritterCam project offers some really interesting insight into the absurdly entertaining lives of our feline friends. Visit the project's website for all kinds of cool photo and video footage of cats getting up to all kinds of trouble, predatory or otherwise. Here's a representative sampling of the kinds of videos you're wont to find: