Cats are one of the top threats to US wildlife, killing billions of animals each year, a study suggests.
The authors estimate they are responsible for the deaths of between 1.4 and 3.7 billion birds and 6.9-20.7 billion mammals annually.
Writing in Nature Communications, the scientists said stray and feral cats were the worst offenders.
However, they added that pet cats also played a role and that owners should do more to reduce their impact.
The authors concluded that more animals are dying at the claws of cats in the United States than in road accidents, collisions with buildings or poisonings.
The domestic cat’s killer instinct has been well documented on many islands around the world.
Felines accompanying their human companions have gone on to prey on the local wildlife, and they have been blamed for the global extinction of 33 species.