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Scientists have quantified exactly how murderous your cat is


Juana, please don't take this the wrong way, but this next story might be bad news for cat owners like yourself.


Go on.

SHAPIRO: Well, we all know cats have murderous tendencies. You know, they like to drag little birds and mice to the doorstep.

SUMMERS: Mine has never done that. He is strictly indoor.

SHAPIRO: OK, we won't blame Toro. But scientists reviewed more than a century of scientific evidence, and they report today that free-ranging cats consume 2,084 different species, including birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians and insects. There's even evidence they have eaten things as big as cows, although they're probably just scavenging those.

SUMMERS: They do not sound like picky eaters.

SHAPIRO: Definitely not. And a sixth of the species identified here are of conservation concern, like a rare Hawaiian seabird, baby green sea turtles, little brown bats, although cats also dine on cockroaches and rats, so that feels like a win.

SUMMERS: I mean, protein is protein, Ari. So is the recommendation just to keep your cat inside?

SHAPIRO: Well, as a journalist, I don't make recommendations. And as a dog owner, I would never tell cat owners what to do. But, yes, the lead authors on this paper keep their own cats inside. And they point out that indoor cats tend to be healthier and live longer, too.

(SOUNDBITE OF SZA SONG, "I HATE U") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Ari Shapiro has been one of the hosts of All Things Considered, NPR's award-winning afternoon newsmagazine, since 2015. During his first two years on the program, listenership to All Things Considered grew at an unprecedented rate, with more people tuning in during a typical quarter-hour than any other program on the radio.
Juana Summers is a political correspondent for NPR covering race, justice and politics. She has covered politics since 2010 for publications including Politico, CNN and The Associated Press. She got her start in public radio at KBIA in Columbia, Mo., and also previously covered Congress for NPR.
Christopher Intagliata is an editor at All Things Considered, where he writes news and edits interviews with politicians, musicians, restaurant owners, scientists and many of the other voices heard on the air.

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