Regardless of the world's collective fondness of cats and the videos in which they star, they are ruthless killing machines. Don't believe me? The numbers don't lie.

Jenni McDonald from University of Exeter's Penryn Campus in Cornwall and her team of researchers estimate that the number of animals killed at the hands of cats are in the millions, which is why there are proposals suggesting owners should keep their cats indoors. Many do not agree that their pets are harming the environment — as if Mittens would ever be capable of such a thing!

The researchers even gathered data on cats from two UK villages, Mawnan Smith in Cornwall and Thornhill, studying 86 cats from 58 households. The team compared predictions of how many animals would be caught by the cats with what they actually brought home. Surveys were also given to owners to assess their thoughts on their pet's predatory behavior.

McDonald found that no matter the number of “gifts” owners would find at their doorsteps, “owners do not accept that cats are a threat to wildlife; they refused to agree that their pets were harmful to the local wildlife. The majority of cat owners seemed to be ignorant of how many animals their cat was hunting down and killing.”

Even informing the owners that keeping their cat indoors would be a good precautionary measure to help the local wildlife, they were unwilling to comply.

McDonald concluded:

"If we are to successfully reduce the number of wildlife deaths caused by domestic cats, the study suggests that we should use cat welfare as a method of encouraging cat owners to get involved."

Read more at EurekAlert!

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