The cat is a serial killer

Audio 02:36

At the origins of its cohabitation with humans, the cat was appreciated for hunting rodents.

Florent Guignard / RFI

By: Florent Guignard

8 min

A French environmentalist deputy wants to eradicate stray cats, a real threat to biodiversity.

Cats, wild or domestic, have a sad track record among birds: 75 million deaths per year in France.


Forget about the adorable fur ball whose videos you "like" on social networks;

the cat is a serial killer.

The environmental deputy François-Michel Lambert thus tabled last week in France an amendment to the proposed law on animal welfare, to eradicate stray cats, dangerous for biodiversity.

The haret cat, a domestic cat returned to the wild, is in the process of liquidating a large part of the species present,

worries the co-founder of the Union of Democrats and Environmentalists


These cats, which do not belong to anyone, need to hunt, to kill, in order to feed.

They need three preys a day, and in a natural space already under the pressure of urbanization, they can liquidate everything


When a little shrew, a little lizard, or a little bird is gone, it will really be gone.

We will not be able to go back.


François-Michel Lambert's amendment was ultimately ruled inadmissible.

It did not fall within the scope of the Animal Welfare Act, which aims to protect human animals, for example by prohibiting the use of animals in circuses or the breeding of mammals for their fur.

But the deputy for Bouches-du-Rhône does not intend to give up and is preparing a bill to allow, in areas of tension, the organization of beatings to feral cats.

Their sterilization being too random, time pressing, it would be necessary, according to him, to kill them.

75 million birds killed each year in France

But the stray cat, this


super predator


, is not the only cause.

Owner cats, to a lesser extent, are also a threat to biodiversity.

According to an estimate from the League for the Protection of Birds, French felines are responsible for 75 million deaths per year.

Your cat, who does not spend all days and nights watching TV slumped in an armchair, would kill an average of 5 to 10 birds each year.

Despite centuries of domestication, the cat has retained its hunting instincts.

And this is also why humans adopted it, in the Neolithic era, when women and men gave up picking to cultivate the land, around 10,000 years ago, depending on the region of the world. .


Neolithic farmers produced cereals, which they accumulated to feed themselves the rest of the year,"

recalls Eva-Maria Geigl, research director at the CNRS in Paris.

Who says accumulation of seeds, says rodents, rats and other mice which are attracted.

And for the cat, it's the promise of a feast.

The less shy cats will approach the human habitat to feast on these rodents.


The beginning of a" win-win "coexistence between cats and humans.

Until their veneration in ancient Egypt.

Feline overpopulation

Hunting is what we expected from the cat.

That's what we wanted him to do.

We didn't want a cat on a sofa, and that until recently,

continues Eva-Maria Geigl.

Breed selection dates back only two or three centuries, and for aesthetic purposes.

So we have never necessarily acted on his character as a hunter.

Especially since even today, in the countryside, we also appreciate the cat for hunting mice from houses.

In France, the number of domestic cats has doubled in 20 years.

There are more cats than dogs.

And the feline population is estimated at 15 million individuals.

Strong growth which threatens biodiversity.


The problem is not the cat,"

says Eva-Maria Geigl.

The problem is the human being who let the cat populations grow so big.

A carnivore must not be present in such a quantity.

We no longer control it.

So there are far too many cats.


The domestic cat hunting for his pleasure, and researcher ironic about this little animal that prefers to catch robins rather than rats.

We could use cats to attack rats, which proliferate by the millions in Paris.

But they don't do it anymore, because they are afraid of rats



Kitty prefers to watch TV on his sofa.

♦ Question of the week


Are there cats at the Elysée



Only one French president owned a cat: Charles de Gaulle.

But his Carthusian monastery, who was called Grigri, remained in Colombey-les-Deux-Eglises and never set foot at the Elysee Palace.

The Head of State must have a dog, and if possible a Labrador.

From Valéry Giscard d'Estaing to Emmanuel Macron, passing by François Mitterrand and his Baltic dog, who became famous on the day of his funeral, on the forecourt of the church in Jarnac, the Labrador has become a French presidential tradition.

Image question.

The cat would be devious, and the dog loyal and loyal, embodying a form of quiet strength.

In the UK, however, Prime Minister Winston Churchill preferred cats, because as Victor Hugo wrote,


God invented the cat so that man could stroke a tiger




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