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NY Post
New York Post
16 Dec 2023


NextImg:Is your cat trying to kill you? They’ve already been caught eating more than 2,000 species — and counting

They’re natural born killers.

Just about everything is on the table for a cat’s diet, a new study found — domesticated felines are happy to nosh on much more than the occasional bird or mouse they leave at your doorstep. Reptiles, amphibians, insects and other mammals have all been known to tickle their whiskers.

Researchers from Auburn University spent two decades documenting the various cuisine that cats will eat, finding taht more than 2,000 different species could be — and should be — considered standard fare.

“It sure seems there’s not a lot that a cat would pass up,” study author Chris Lepczyk told Anthropocene Magazine.

The study, published in the journal Nature this week, found that a cat’s diet is so diverse, that they dine on animals from every continent, accounting for approximately 9% of known birds, 6% of mammals and 4% of reptiles. The most common prey of choice ends up being fairly predictable, however — the house mouse, European rabbit, black rat, house sparrow and brown rat.

“It sure seems there’s not a lot that a cat would pass up,” study author Chris Lepczyk told Anthropocene Magazine. didiksaputra – stock.adobe.com

The research team also found 119 species of insects that are devoured by the ferocious felines — although Lepczyk believes that number is much higher, given the remains are difficult to identify in the gut or fecal matter of a cat.

“If there are invertebrates there and they can capture them, they will eat them,” he said.

And they don’t just stick to tiny pests — felines were found to scavenge for already-perished, large vertebrate species such as American bullfrogs, emu, green sea turtles and even cows, meaning humans could, in theory, make the list.

“That’s not a topic I want to touch,” Lepczyk told a reporter.

Human holding cat while lounging on couch

Cats were found to eat large vertebrates, including emus and cows. Evrymmnt – stock.adobe.com

And while cat lovers may rejoice at the demise of rodents and insects by way of a hungry, hungry kitty, cats’ diverse palettes have been known to impact conservation.

In fact, 327 species eaten by cats are on the International Union for Conservation and Culture Red List as “near threatened,” “threatened” or “extinct,” meaning that Lepczyk’s extensive index could help conservationists in the future.