Keeping pet cats indoors at all times is the only way to stop them wiping out Australia's wildlife, a researcher has warned.
Pet cats kill an average of 75 wildlife creatures per year, Professor Sarah Legge from the Australian National University told Daily Mail Australia on Monday.
'That is the well-fed and cared-for pets at home,' she said.
This cat has a killed a Rosella. Pet cats kill an average of 75 wildlife creatures per year and range up to four hectares from their homes. Photo: Brisbane City Council
Professor Legge said about a third of cats were kept indoors at all times, meaning the remaining two-thirds of pets managed to kill enough birds, lizards and mammals to bring the average up to the devastatingly high number.
For her research, she fitted domestic cats with GPS trackers and found they roamed up to four hectares from home.
Her key findings were published in a new book, Cats in Australia: Companion and Killer, which reveals that each day feral and domestic cats kill more than 3 million mammals, 2 million reptiles and 1 million birds in Australia.
Cat lovers are installing 'catios', or patios for cats, so they can safely give their indoors pets some outdoors time. Professor Sarah Legge said catios are not necessary as felines are highly adaptable and are happy indoors as long as they have proper behavioural stimulation
While poison baits and guns are used to control ferals, domestic cats are a more difficult problem to solve.
Cat owners are increasingly realising the only solution is to keep their beloved pets indoors at all times.
'Cats kill things and bring them home so their owners are aware of it,' Professor Legge said.
'As long as they have behavioural stimulation they're perfectly happy inside,' she said.
'They're indoors cats.'
Some owners are making cat runs that are completely enclosed to give their moggies some safe outdoors time, while 'catios' are becoming a popular addition to patios across the nation.
Advantages of keeping cats indoors permanently include that they have a lower risk of disease, and avoid injury from cat fights or being hit by cars.
Cat owners have turned to cat bibs